5.8.9 Frank and I, unlike the civil servants, were still puzzled that such a proposal as the Europass could even be seriously under consideration by the FCO. We can both see clearly that it is wonderful ammunition for the anti-Europeans. I asked Humphrey if the Foreign Office doesn't realise how damaging this would be to the European ideal? 'I'm sure they do, Minister, he said. That's why they support it.' This was even more puzzling, since I'd always been under the impression that the FO is pro-Europe. 'Is it or isn't it?' I asked Humphrey. 'Yes and no,' he replied of course, 'if you'll pardon the expression. The Foreign Office is pro-Europe because it is really anti-Europe. In fact the Civil Service was united in its desire to make sure the Common Market didn't work. That's why we went into it.' This sounded like a riddle to me. I asked him to explain further. And basically his argument was as follows: Britain has had the same foreign policy objective for at least the last five hundred years - to create a disunited Europe. In that cause we have fought with the Dutch against the Spanish, with the Germans against the French, with the French and Italians against the Germans, and with the French against the Italians and Germans. [The Dutch rebellion against Phillip II of Spain, the Napoleonic Wars, the First World War, and the Second World War - Ed.] In other words, divide and rule. And the Foreign Office can see no reason to change when it has worked so well until now. I was aware of this, naturally, but I regarded it as ancient history. Humphrey thinks that it is, in fact, current policy. It was necessary for us to break up the EEC, he explained, so we had to get inside. We had previously tried to break it up from the outside, but that didn't work. [A reference to our futile and short-lived involvement in EFTA, the European Free Trade Association, founded in 1960 and which the UK left in 1972 - Ed.] Now that we're in, we are able to make a complete pig's breakfast out of it. We've now set the Germans against the French, the French against the Italians, the Italians against the Dutch... and the Foreign office is terribly happy. It's just like old time. I was staggered by all of this. I thought that the all of us who are publicly pro-European believed in the European ideal. I said this to Sir Humphrey, and he simply chuckled. So I asked him: if we don't believe in the European Ideal, why are we pushing to increase the membership? 'Same reason,' came the reply. 'It's just like the United Nations. The more members it has, the more arguments you can stir up, and the more futile and impotent it becomes.' This all strikes me as the most appalling cynicism, and I said so. Sir Humphrey agreed completely. 'Yes Minister. We call it diplomacy. It's what made Britain great, you know.' [pp.119-120 _The complete Yes Minister // The Diaries of a Cabinet Minister by the Right Hon. James Hacker MP._ v "The Writing on the Wall" *] Blame transfer protocol complete. S.E.P. field now fully enaged. Nicholas Clark * http://www.jonathanlynn.com/Books/Complete_Yes_Minister/complete_yes_minister.htm
5.8.9 RC1 A jumbo jet touched down, with BURANDAN AIRWAYS written on the side. I was hugely impressed. British Airways are having to pawn their Concordes, and here is this little tiny African state with its own airline, jumbo jets and all. I asked Bernard how many planes Burandan Airways had. 'None,' he said. I told him not to be silly and use his eyes. 'No Minister, it belongs to Freddie Laker,' he said. 'They chartered it last week and repainted it specially.' Apparently most of the Have-Nots (I mean, LDCs) do this - at the opening of the UN General Assembly the runways of Kennedy Airport are jam-packed with phoney flag-carriers. 'In fact,' said Bernard with a sly grin, 'there was one 747 that belonged to nine different African airlines in a month. They called it the mumbo-jumbo.' While we watched nothing much happening on the TV except the mumbo-jumbo taxiing around Prestwick and the Queen looking a bit chilly, Bernard gave me the next day's schedule and explained that I was booked on the night sleeper from King's Cross to Edinburgh because I had to vote in a three-line whip at the House tonight and would have to miss the last plane. Then the commentator, in that special hushed BBC voice used for any occasion with which Royalty is connected, announced reverentially that we were about to catch our first glimpse of President Selim. And out of the plane stepped Charlie. My old friend Charlie Umtali. We were at LSE together. Not Selim Mohammed at all, but Charlie. Bernard asked me if I were sure. Silly question. How could you forget a name like Charlie Umtali? I sent Bernard for Sir Humphrey, who was delighted to hear that we now know something about our official visitor. Bernard's official brief said nothing. Amazing! Amazing how little the FCO has been able to find out. Perhaps they were hoping it would all be on the car radio. All the brief says is that Colonel Selim Mohammed had converted to Islam some years ago, they didn't know his original name, and therefore knew little of his background. I was able to tell Humphrey and Bernard /all/ about his background. Charlie was a red-hot political economist, I informed them. Got the top first. Wiped the floor with everyone. Bernard seemed relieved. 'Well that's all right then.' 'Why?' I enquired. 'I think Bernard means,' said Sir Humphrey helpfully, 'that he'll know how to behave if he was at an English University. Even if it was the LSE.' I never know whether or not Humphrey is insulting me intentionally. Humphrey was concerned about Charlie's political colour. 'When you said that he was red-hot, were you speaking politically?' In a way I was. 'The thing about Charlie is that you never quite know where you are with him. He's the sort of chap who follows you into a revolving door and comes out in front.' 'No deeply held convictions?' asked Sir Humphrey. 'No. The only thing Charlie was committed too was Charlie.' 'Ah, I see. A politician, Minister.' [p44 _The complete Yes Minister // The Diaries of a Cabinet Minister by the Right Hon. James Hacker MP._ ii "The Official Visit" *] Nicholas Clark * Very very funny, timeless, and scarily topical, even 28 years later. See http://www.jonathanlynn.com/Books/Complete_Yes_Minister/complete_yes_minister.htm
Amend note for missing Changes around 872 ~ 922 ___ _ _ _ _ ___ / _ \ _ __ | \| |___ _ __ | \| |___ _ __ / _/† @872 @897 @910 | (_) | ' \| .` / _ \ ' \| .` / _ \ ' \ / /‡_@886 @906 @887 @904 \___/|_|_|_|_|\_\___/_|_|_|_|\_\___/_|_|_|____/‰ @896 @922 @905 The Mighty TIMINATOR has GOBBLED UP these changes!