Humphrey-isms
Ramblings of Sir Humphrey Appleby

Consideration a Counter Offer
[Yes, Prime Minister – “Up In Smoke”]
(On the subject of the Prime Minister’s pending anti-smoking legislation)

Well, not withstanding the fact that your proposal could conceivably encompass certain concomitant benefits of a marginal and peripheral relevance there is  a counter to consider of an infinitely superior magnitude involving your personal complicity and corroboration malfeasance with a consequence that the taint and stigma of your former associations and aversions could irredeemably and irretrievably and invalidate your position and culminate in public revelations and recriminations of a profoundly embarrassing and ultimately indefensibly character.  There’s nicotine on your hands.

May I Suggest a Comprise
[Yes, Prime Minister - “The Grand Design”]

  Well, it's clear that the committee has agreed that your new policy is a really excellent plan but, in view of some of the doubts being expressed, may I propose that I recall that, after careful consideration, the considered view of the committee was that while they considered that the proposal met with broad approval in principle, that some of the principles were sufficiently fundamental in principle and some of the considerations so complex and finely balanced in practice that, in principle, it was proposed that the sensible and prudent practice would be to submit the proposal for more detailed consideration, laying stress on the essential continuity of the new proposal with existing principles, and the principle of the principle arguments which the proposal proposes and propounds for their approval. In principle.

A Need to Know
[Yes, Minister – “A Tangled Web]

Actually delivered from Bernard Wooley -
Apparently, the fact that you needed to know was not known at the time that the now known need to know was known, therefore those that needed to advise and inform the Home Secretary perhaps felt the information he needed as to whether to inform the highest authority of the known information was not yet known and therefore there was no authority for the authority to be informed because the need to know was not, at that time, known or needed.

How to get a Minister to Accept or Reject a Proposal
[Yes, Prime Minister – “The Right to Know”]

Sir Humphrey: There are four words you have to work into a proposal if you want a Minister to accept it.
Sir Frank: Quick, simple, popular, cheap. And equally there are four words to be included in a proposal if you want it thrown out.
Sir Humphrey: Complicated, lengthy, expensive, controversial. And if you want to be really sure that the Minister doesn't accept it you must say the decision is courageous.
Bernard: And that's worse than controversial?
Sir Humphrey: (laughs) Controversial only means this will lose you votes, courageous means this will lose you the election.

On Issuing Statements
[Yes, Prime Minister – “Official Visit]

Jim Hacker: Humphrey, do you think it is a good idea to issue a statement?
Sir Humphrey: In practical terms we have the usual six options. One do nothing, two issue a statement deploring the scene, three launch an official protest, four cut off aid, five break off diplomatic relations and six declare war.
Jim: Which should we do?
Sir Humphrey: Well if we do nothing we implicitly agree with the speech, two if we issue a statement we just look foolish, three if we lodge a protest it will be ignored, four we can't cut off aid because we don't give them any, five if we break off diplomatic relations we can't negotiate the oil rig contracts and six if we declare war it might just look as if we're over-reacting.

 

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