Written by Standard Issue


Yes Yes, Minister

The BBC sitcom is 36 years old and yet it remains, as recent events have shown, bang on the money. Here’s some proof that, in politics and the media, some things never change.

Photo courtesy of BBC

Photo courtesy of BBC

You’ve probably seen the Yes, Minister take on Britain and the EU circulating in the last week. Uncanny, isn’t it? Well no, because for huge chunks, Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn’s comedy could pass for a contemporary satire. No really.

Westminster leaks like a sieve

A report that Cabinet Minister for Administrative Affairs, Jim Hacker, is trying to keep under wraps appears on the front page of The Times. He asks his Principal Private Secretary, Bernard Woolley, to explain.

Hacker: How come The Times knows about the report before I do?

Woolley: There’s been a leak.

Hacker: I know that! It was “Confidential”. I only got a draft last night.

Woolley: At least it wasn’t “Restricted”.

Hacker: Why?

Woolley: “Restricted” means it was in the papers yesterday. “Confidential” means it won’t be in the papers ’til today.

Who reads the papers?

We should probably all listen to experts a bit more

Hacker gets himself in a tangle over a plan to manufacture a chemical in the UK that may or may not be dangerous.

Sir Wally McFarlane: I tell you, as a chemist myself, that meta-dioxin is utterly safe.

Hacker: Why do you experts always think you’re right?

McFarlane: And why do you think the more inexpert you are, the more likely you are to be right?

Hacker: Ministers are NOT experts. They are chosen expressly because they know nothing.

No-one ever admits to telling a lie

No-one ever resigns for the reasons they say they are resigning

Hacker arrives home with the news that the Prime Minister has decided to retire.

Hacker: That’s what this afternoon’s emergency cabinet meeting was about, to tell us.

Annie Hacker: Why so suddenly?

Hacker: He said it was to give his successor a good run-up to the next election, so that’s obviously not the reason.

Polls can’t tell you shit

NHS staff are expected to perform miracles, despite cuts

Jim Hacker reads Sir Humphrey a series of memos sent by various NHS hospitals, telling staff how they can help the service cope during times of austerity.

Hacker (reading): St Stephen’s mortuary will be closed over Christmas. During the holiday medical staff are requested to co-operate in keeping pressure off this department.

Sir Humphrey: A very civil and reasonable request.

Hacker: Do you think that during the rest of the year, the doctors are working hard to keep the mortuary busy?

Everybody agrees with positive discrimination. In principle.

No one gives a flying fuck about the BBC

Sir Humphrey tries to prevent Hacker selling an art gallery to save a football team by moving arts and television into his purview. He runs the idea past some other civil servants.

Sir Ian Whitchurch: Arts and television? Together? What have they got to do with each other? They’re complete opposites.

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Written by Standard Issue