Yes Minister – Part II

May 16, 2010 at 6:11 pm (By Randy)

The Sunday Telegraph obtained a copy of an unintentionally hilarious confidential British civil service internal memo about the incoming Conservative government.  If the BBC is considering an updated version of the ’80’s satirical political comedy Yes Minister, the memo’s author ought to have a fair shot as script writer.

Some gems from the article:

The documents … give a checklist of what are called “hot button”, Tory-friendly words, to be dropped into conversation whenever possible. These include “families,” “radical,” “neighbourhoods” and “progressive.”

The briefing – to be kept strictly from ministers – shows that DCLG officials are worried about their new bosses. “Do they like us? Want to work with us?” it asks, adding: “There may be challenge over our part in what they see as failed policies/ delivery.”

To overcome this, civil servants are told to “talk of efficiencies / value for money without prompting” and advised to deploy blatant flattery, with suggested phrases including: “Congratulations! I had so much confidence in you, I might get complacent!”

The documents order mandarins to “smile!… Lean forward!… Be interesting!” They are told to engage in “supportive listening,” and “take cues from the Secretary of State.” Officials are advised that “eye contact [is] the real currency.”

The document suggests civil servants tell their new bosses “how Policy X puts the department and the Secretary of State at the centre of Whitehall….”

The document reveals that civil servants have been conducting “role-play” sessions to work out how to build rapport.

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1 Comment

  1. Melinda said,

    LOL! Just what Britain needs…a warm and fuzzy Parliament.

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