Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Yes, Minister.

I used to watch the British comedy Yes, Minister which eventually became Yes, Prime Minister. It poked fun at the politicians as well as the civil service. (Having been involved in politics and worked in the civil service I found a lot of what was said to be spot on about the trouble with both.) Although it was about British politics some of what was said was universal. There are some great quotes from the show. Some of the applicable to life today. Here is a good one.

The facts of life according to the Civil Service.

1) Ministers come and Ministers go. The average Minister lasts eleven months in any Department.

2) It is our duty to assist the Minister to fight for the Department's money despite his own panic reactions.

3) However, the Minister must be allowed to panic. They need activity - it is their substitute for achievement.

4) The argument that we must do everything a Minister demands because he has been 'democratically chosen' does not stand up to close inspection. MP's are not chosen by 'the people' - they are chosen by their local constituency party, i.e. 35 men in grubby raincoats or 35 women in silly hats. The further 'selection' process is equally a nonsense: there are only 630 MPs and a party with just over 300 forms a government - and of tehse 300, 100 are too old and silly to be Ministers, and 100 are too young and too callow. Therefore there are about 100 MPs to fill 100 government posts. Effectively no choice at all.

5) It follows that as Ministers have had no proper selection or training, it is our patriotic duty to arrange for them to make the right decision as often as possible.

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