Opposition is about asking questions, and government is about not answering them.
You can be open, or you can have a government.
Minister: Surely the citizens have a right to know.
Humphrey: no, they have the right to be ignorant, knowledge only means complicity and guilt. Ignorance has certain dignity.
Official reply: Under consideration means we lost the file, under active consideration means we are trying to find it.
Minister: But her majesty.
Humphrey: Her majesty will cope. She always does. （女王无实权）
In practical terms, we have the usual six options. One, do nothing. Two, issue a statement deploring seen. Three, lodge an official protest. Four, cut off aid. Five, break off diplomatic relations. And six, declaring war. If we do nothing, we implicitly agree with the speech. Two, if we issue a statement, we just look foolish. Three, if we lodge a protest, it will be ignored. Four, we can’t cut off aid because we don’t give them any. Five, if we break off diplomatic relations, we can’t negotiate the oil rig contract. Six, if we declare war, it might just look as if we were overreacting.
Miss it out is recasting that sentence and transferring the emphasis from the specific instance to the abstract concept without of course, in any way, impairing the conceptual integrity of the theme. （想到George Orwell的Politics and English language.）
Politicians like to panic. They need activity. It’s their substitute for achievement. We must just ensure that it doesn’t change anything.
Minister: That’s foully, it’s cheating, it’s dishonest. it’s just cheating with figures, pulling the wool over people’s eyes.
Humphrey: A government press release, in fact.
Journalist: Minister, are you laying the foundation of a police state?
Minister: You know, I’m glad you asked me that question because it’s a question a lot of people are asking. And why? Because a lot of people want to know the answer to it. And let’s be quite clear without beating about the bush. The plain fact about the matter is that it’s a very important question indeed and people have a right to know. （敏感词谈教育。。。）
Journalist: But minister, we haven’t had the answer.
Minister: I’m sorry, what was the question?
Arnold: Stalling technique, it comes in five stages. First, he tell you that your ministration was very new and there’s a lot of things to get on with. Then, I quite appreciate your intention, certainly something aught to be done, but are you sure this is the right way to achieve it? then, now minister, this is not the right time, for all sorts of reasons. The policies had run into difficulties, technical, political, legal. Legal are the best sort off course because he can make it totally incomprehensible. And with any luck, the stalling technique will last for three years, and you’ll be at the final stage when he say, now minister, we’re getting very close to run at the next general election, are you sure you can get this policy through? This is what they call creative inertia.
Humphrey: You know all the civil service tricks.
Arnold: Oh, not all of them, just a few hundreds.
Minister: Will you give me a straight answer to a straight question?
Humphrey: Oh, well, minister, as long as you are not asking me to resort to crude generalizations and vulgar oversimplifications such as a simple “yes” or “no”, I shall do my utmost to oblige.
Minister: Here’s the straight question. When you give your evidence to the think tank, are you going to support my view that the civil service is overmanned or not? Yes or no! Straight answer!
Humphrey: Well, minister. If you ask me for a straight answer, then I shall say that as far as we can see, looking at it by and large, taking one time with another, in terms of the average of departments, then in the final analysis, it is probably true to say that at the end of the day, in general terms, you will probably find that not to put too fine a point on it, there probably wasn’t very much in one way or the other, as far as one can see, at this stage.
Minister: is that yes or no?
Humphrey: yes and no.
Humphrey: straight answer. On Monday, tomorrow, Tuesday?
Minister: In due course. At the appropriate juncture. In the fullness of time. When the moment is ripe. When the necessary procedures have been completed. Nothing precipitant of course.
Where one stands depends upon where one sits.
In defeat, malice. In victory, revenge. 败则怀恨在心，胜则反攻倒算。（破烂熊这个翻译神了）
Humphrey: The foreign office is pro-Europe because it is really anti-Europe... Britain has had the same foreign policy objective for at least the last 500 years: to create a disunited Europe. In that cause, we have fought with the Dutch against Spanish, with the German against the French, with the French and Italians against the Germans, and with the French against the Germans and Italians. Divide and rule, you see.
Minister: appalling cynicism. yes, we call it diplomacy, minister.
When you got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.
Almost anything can be attacked as a “loss of amenity”, and almost anything can be defended as “not a significant loss of amenity”, which seems to signify that one should consider the significance of significant.
There are four words if you want a Minister to accept a proposal. Quick. Simple. Popular. Cheap. And there are four words for a proposal if you want it thrown out. Complicated. Lengthy. Expensive. Controversial. And to be really sure the Minister doesn't accept it, you say the decision is courageous. "Controversial" means "this'll lose your votes". "Courageous" means "this will lose you the election".
Humphrey: Ministers should never know more than they need to know. Then they can't tell anyone. Like secret agents, They could be captured and tortured.
Bernard: By terrorists?
Humphrey: By the BBC, Bernard.
Minister: Sir Humphrey, this is a bit of a cover up, isn't it?
Humphrey: Certainly not. It is responsible discretion exercised in the national interest to prevent unnecessary disclosure of eminently justifiable procedures in which untimely revelation could severely impair public confidence.
Minister: I see, it’s like Watergate.
Minister: You are blathering, Bernard. Why are you blathering?
Humphrey: It’s my job, minister.
He is a blithering idiot.
Yes, but an excellent chairman.
When money is allocated to the Health or Social Services, Parliament and the country feel...cleansed. Purified. Absolved. It is a sacrifice. After the sacrifice is made, nobody asks the priests what happened to the ritual offering after the ceremony.
First law of political indiscretion: always have a drink before you leak.
Minister: Shred it. No one must be able to find it again.
Bernard: In that case, I think it’s best I file it. （什么什么第二页画个蜡笔小新什么的）
Humphrey: In view of the somewhat nebulous and inexplicit nature of your remit, and the arguably marginal and peripheral nature of your influence on the central deliberations and decisions within the political process, there could be a case for restructuring their action priorities in such way as to eliminate your liquidation from their immediate agenda.
It means: You are not important enough for them to assassinate you.
Suppression is the totalitarian instrument of dictatorships. We don't talk of that sort of thing in a free country. We take a democratic decision not to publish.
How's the move from the Commons to the Lords?
Like moving from animals to vegetables.
bearing everything in mind and after due consideration... considering all the implications and points of view... well, in other words, in fact, I am bound to say... you look awfully good on television, Minister.
A good speech isn’t where we can prove he's telling the truth. It's one in which nobody else can prove he's lying. Delivering a speech is just a formality to get into the papers. We can't worry about entertaining We're not writing for a comedian, well, not a professional one.
Humphrey: Blurring the issue is one of the basic ministerial skills.
Minister: And the others?
Humphrey: Delaying decisions, dodging questions, juggling figures, bending facts and concealing errors.
3 articles of Civil Service: takes longer to do things quickly; more expensive to do them cheaply, more democratic in secret.
because we've had to take on more staff in order to reduce staff. We need more doctors to cure more patents, more firemen to extinguish more fires.
Humphrey: The identity of the official whose alleged responsibility for this hypothetical oversight, as being the subject of recent discussion, Is not shrouded in quite such impenetrable obscurity as previous disclosures led you to assume. But not to put too fine a point on it... the individual in question is, It may surprise you to learn, one whom your present interlocutor... is in the habit of defining... by means of the perpendicular pronoun.
Minister: I beg your pardon?
Humphrey: It was... I.
Is that a promise?
A real promise, not the sort you put in your manifesto!
Humphrey: If local authorities don't send us statistics, government figures will be nonsense. They'll be incomplete.
Minister: But government figures are nonsense anyway.
Bernard: I think Sir Humphrey wants to ensure they're a complete nonsense.
First rule in politics: never believe in anything until it’s officially denied.（亮了）