Paul Weller - Mark Thomas TV - William Armstrong - John Reith - Ernest Gowers - C H Sisson - Eugene Ionesco - Ken Livingstone - Carroll Quigley - James Garfield - Yochai Benkler - Lord Bancroft - Michael Cockerell TV - Yes Minister TV - Vladimir Lenin - Friedrich Engels – Predestination 2014 -
I don’t like the royal family. I don’t like the establishment. I don’t like the civil service. Paul Weller
Give evidence at a Select Committee in the House of Commons … Public Bodies: Quangos: they’re looking at patronage … they’re looking at the appointments’ system. Mark Thomas Comedy Product s6e6, Channel 4 2002
There’s about a 1,000 of them. There’s 30,000 people who sit on them … They’ve got budgets of billions … It’s like the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List … They’ve got more power than MPs … ibid.
They have the ‘Government Wine Committee’ … ibid.
The business of the civil service is the orderly management of decline. William Armstrong, 1915-1980, British civil servant
By the time the civil servant has finished drafting a document to give effect to a principle, there may be little of the people left. John Reith, Into the Wind, 1949
It is not easy nowadays to remember anything so contrary to all appearances as that officials are the servants of the public; and the official must try not to foster the illusion that it is the other way round. Ernest Gowers, 1880-1966, British civil servant
Here lies a civil servant. He was civil
To everyone, and servant to the devil. C H Sisson, The London Zoo, 1961
A civil servant doesn’t make jokes. Eugene Ionesco, 1958
I actually think the civil service, who are the malignancy at the heart of public life, have consciously prevented, talked ministers out of, made it difficult regulatory-wise, to allow more pressure on alternative energy sources to grow. Ken Livingstone
The civil service are risk averse. Ken Livingstone
When the business interests ... pushed through the first instalment of civil service reform in 1883, they expected that they would be able to control both political parties equally. Carroll Quigley
The civil service can never be placed on a satisfactory basis until it is regulated by law. James A Garfield
As long as government is allowed to collect all Internet data, the perceived exigency will drive honest civil servants to reach more broadly and deeply into our networked lives. Yochai Benkler
Conviction politicians certainly, conviction civil servants no. Lord Bancroft, 1922-1996, British civil servant
This is the secret world of Whitehall: decisions taken here behind closed doors affect all our daily lives. Michael Cockerell, The Secret World of Whitehall 1/3: The Real Sir Humphrey, BBC 2011
The Cabinet Secretary – the real-life Sir Humphrey from Yes, Prime Minister – pulls the invisible strings across Whitehall. ibid.
Lloyd George set up the first cabinet office. ibid.
No 70 Whitehall has a Victorian facade but it stands on the site of King Henry VIII’s old Whitehall Palace. ibid.
There’s another part of the Cabinet Office that remains off limits for security reasons. ibid.
Hunt and the government lost the case and the Crossman diaries were published. ibid.
Sir Robert Armstrong was a product of Eton, Oxford and the Treasury. ibid.
The Cabinet Office is the epicentre of British Intelligence. ibid.
Butler found Major to be the best negotiator he’d worked for. But it was a turbulent time. And Butler also had to deal with the very powerful figure of Michael Heseltine, who Major appointed to be his deputy prime minister. Hezza was to be based in the Cabinet Office with a brief that ranged across the whole of government. ibid.
Robin Butler fell out with Blair over the new prime minister’s plans to give No 10 much greater power and control over cabinet ministers. ibid.
‘Sources close to the prime minister’ told the media that Tony Blair had lost confidence in his cabinet secretary. ibid.
The people who live in the dark – the special advisers. Michael Cockerell, The Secret World of Whitehall 3/3: The Network
It’s the civil servants who have always been and remain the beating heart of the private office network. ibid.
Humphrey, we have got to slim down the civil service. Yes, Minister s1e3: The Economy Drive, Jim to Sir Humphrey, BBC 1980
Suppose everyone went around saving money irresponsibly all over the place? ibid. Sir Humphrey to Bernard
Government doesn’t stop just because the whole country’s been destroyed. ibid. Sir Humphrey to Jim, Weasel & Bernard
This has to be stopped at once. Well if he talks to the underlings he may learn things we don’t know. Our whole position could be undermined. Yes, Minister s1e6: The Right to Know, Sir Humphrey to Bernard
Don’t you realise what would happen if we allowed the minister to run the department? ibid.
Outside debate, public scrutiny – is that what you want? ibid.
On occasion there are some things it is better for a minister not to know. ibid.
You are not here to run this department. ibid.
You see if they have all the facts instead of just the options they might start thinking for themselves. ibid. civil servant to Bernard, with Sir Humphrey
Perhaps there are some things it is better for a minister not to know. ibid. Sir Humphrey to Jim, with Bernard
Make them put more women into top civil service jobs. Yes, Minister s3e1: Equal Opportunities
Most of the work here only needs about two O-Levels anyway. ibid. Under Secretary Sarah to Jim
Jim: I have made a policy decision. I’m going to do something about the number of women in the civil service.
Sir Humphrey: Surely there aren’t that many? ibid.
I’m going to announce a quota. ibid. Jim to Sir Humphrey, with Bernard
The proposal to take disciplinary action against the South Derbyshire local authority ... They won’t return their blue forms. Yes, Minister s3e3: The Skeleton in the Cupboard, Sir Humphrey with Jim et al around table
Minutes must be taken. Records must be kept. ibid. Sir Humphrey to Jim
If we weren’t here, if we didn’t do it, what then? ibid. Jim to Sir Humphrey
Administration is eternal. ibid. Sir Humphrey to Jim
Jim: Humphrey is not God, OK?
Bernard: Well shall you tell him or shall I? ibid.
The actual work of the state is done behind the scenes, and is carried out by the departments, the chancellories and their staffs. Vladimir Lenin
We must reduce the role of the state officials to that of simply carrying out our instructions; they must be responsible, revocable, moderately paid. Vladimir Lenin
The first act by virtue of which the State really constitutes itself the representative of the whole of society – the taking possession of the means of production in the name of society – this is, at the same time, its last independent act as a State. State interference in social relations becomes, in one domain after another, superfluous, and then dies out of itself; the government of persons is replaced by the administration of things, and by the conduct of processes of production. The State is not ‘abolished’. It dies out. Friedrich Engels, Socialism, Utopian and Scientific