Friday, 8 April 2011

Sir Humphrey and the Consultation

[This was inspired by the current Review of statutory duties placed on local government procedure. Anyone who's watched "Yes, Minister" should recognise the style.]


INT. CABINET OFFICE

JIM HACKER is pacing, SIR HUMPHREY placidly watching.


JIM HACKER
This is preposterous! I don't have time to
be reviewing every bit of legislation that's
ever been passed, on the off-chance it
might be inconvenient for someone!

SIR HUMPHREY
You don't have to...

JIM HACKER
I mean - how can we possibly manage an
exercise that big without inventing three
extra days in the week and abolishing sleep?

SIR HUMPHREY
You might care to...

JIM HACKER
I just can't see how...

SIR HUMPHREY
Minister!

JIM HACKER
...Mmm?

SIR HUMPHREY
It's really quite simple, Minister. Announce
a public consultation.

JIM HACKER
But that'll mean even more work!

SIR HUMPHREY
Not necessarily, Minister. It's all about
managing expectations.

JIM HACKER
Mine or yours?

SIR HUMPHREY
The public's, of course. You announce the
consultation with fanfares and speeches.
Then you summarise all the primary
legislation in a couple of spreadsheets.
I think - oh, a thousand rows or so each
ought to do it. Then you publish the
spreadsheets and announce a closing date for
comments of a week later. Or two, if you're
feeling courageous. You're not feeling
courageous, are you, Minister?

JIM HACKER
Well, I have my...
(catches himself)
No, no, of course not, Sir Humphrey!

SIR HUMPHREY
Delighted to hear it. So, by the time anyone
whose opinion is actually worth anything has
even started on the job, the consultation is
over, and you can plough ahead doing whatever
you were planning to do anyway.

JIM HACKER
Sir Humphrey, that is brilliant! You are an
absolute genius!

SIR HUMPHREY
Yes Minister.

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