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Truth and Fiction Collide!


A Change of Minister at Stormont, as Sammy steps aside to allow Simon to take the reins…

Sammy: “Good morning gentlemen. May I introduce your new minister, Simon.” “Simon, this is your new civil service team, and good-bye all”

Sir Humphrey: “Good morning, new Minister”

“You can call me Simon, – now let’s get right down to work. I need a new policy, and I’m thinking of something that will really please the public, and ingratiate me with the business community and that I can announce right away. So I’m going to CUT PUBLIC SPENDING.”

Sir Humphrey: “Of course minister, we anticipated this, and we’ve drawn up plans for it already.”

Minister: (For he now is such) “Excellent! Sammy told me you were a great team!”

Sir H: Indeed minister, and we have prepared a press release for you in advance, announcing the creation of a new division within your already efficient department, specially dedicated to making further efficiencies, indeed, to promote innovation within government. Use that word INNOVATION minister, businessmen love it.”

Minister: “Excellent idea. How do we set this new division up. How will we ‘make it happen’ Sir Humphrey?” How many people do we need in this department?

Sir H. “Well done minister, you’re learning the management jargon quickly.” I suggest a small team,

Minister: “Two, maybe three people?”

Sir H. “No, two maybe three thousand, minister. ”

Minister: “But why so many? A couple of people could look at this problem.”

Sir H. “Yes Minister, but they need to be supervised, and then we have the health and safety team, the pensions commitment, the diversity training department, the equality impact assessment section, and the secretariat, and, and…”

Minister: Sir Humphrey, what you have proposed will expand the public sector, not reduce it!

Sir H: ‘Yes Minister!’

Minister: Are you going to support my view that the Civil Service is over manned and feather-bedded, or not? Yes or no? Straight answer.

Sir Humphrey: Well Minister, if you ask me for a straight answer, then I shall say that, as far as we can see, looking at it by and large, taking one thing with another in terms of the average of departments, then in the final analysis it is probably true to say, that at the end of the day, in general terms, you would probably find that, not to put too fine a point on it, there probably wasn’t very much in it one way or the other. As far as one can see, at this stage.

(apologies to the script writers, but the last answer is from an actual episode)

From → Editorial

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