British Government

Using a gift voucher for Amazon, I have just brought the complete set of Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister on DVD!

Over the last few days, I’ve managed to watch the first 5 episodes in series 1. Its so far covered a number of issues which are surprisingly topical today – despite the series being 30 years old.

For example, in Open Government, Jim Hacker states that oposition is “about asking awkward questions”, before being told that “government is about not answering them”. Many people today believe that government do not answer the questions when asked them.

In The Official Visit, I quite liked the explanation given by Sir Humphrey on the difference between “under consideration” and “under active consideration” when discussing whether writing a standard letter of reply is necessary. He explains that “under consideration means we have lost the file”, whilst “under active consideration means we’re trying to find it”. There have of course been various reports of government loosing things in recent years.

In The Economy Drive featured the leader of a union coming for a meeting with Hacker, who believes him to be someone else. This results in Hacker saying something that he doesn’t want the union leaders to know, before the entire conversation is published in a newspaper.

My favourite episode so far is Big Brother. The episode starts with Hacker sat in a TV interview, and waffling a bit when asked a question. The question needs to be asked a number of times before eventually one is given (sort of). Sounds a bit like Jeremy Paxman! What I liked about this one is that Hacker got his way, after learning from his predecessor what Sir Humphrey’s tactics are.

This morning I watched The Writing On the Wall. It ends with Hacker threatening to ask questions on the introduction of a European-wide identity card, unless plans to close his department are abolished. Again, using this sort of tactic is something that MPs get accused of sometimes.

Two more episodes in series 1 to go – and then on to series 2!

Fred Hart

Stock Controller and Radio Presenter/Producer

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