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June 24, 2011

Friday Fun 7: Final Lessons from Whitehall

by quaesitor

We come at last to the final instalment of Whitehall Wisdom. It’s more a random string of pearls than a topical arrangement this time, but still worth its weight in gold.

The Nature of Government

Government isn’t about good and evil; it’s only about order and chaos.

Most government departments achieve the opposite of their purpose: the Commonwealth Office lost us the Commonwealth, the Department of Industry reduced industry, the Department of Transport presided over the disintegration of our public transport system and the Treasury loses our money.

Government security enquiries are only for killing press stories.

Their sole purpose is to enable the Prime Minister to stand up in the House and say we have held a full enquiry and there is no evidence to substantiate these charges.

It’s no good saying something is common sense. Government policy has nothing to do with common sense.

Practically everything that happens in government is suspicious.

The well-known truth

Official drivers are one of the most useful sources of information in Whitehall. Passengers forget that everything they say in the back seat can be overheard in the front.

It’s well-known that social problems increase to occupy the total number of social workers available to deal with them.

Diplomacy is about surviving till the next century. Politics is about surviving till Friday afternoon.

Elevation from the House of Commons to the House of Lords is like being moved from the animals to the vegetables.

The hypothetical example is an excellent way of deflecting attention from real problems.

Taken from The Yes Minister Miscellany

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