The Thick of It s02e03 Episode Script

Series 2, Episode 3

(Terri) Can I cancel the subscription? Actually, he's dead.
I've got to go.
Can I take it that it's cancelled? Thank you.
I'm the Minister for fucking Social Affairs.
Hugh Abbot.
Could you explain to these people I'm the reason why they're here? (Terri) Sorry about that.
(Hugh) Amazing place.
(Terri) Welcome back.
(Hugh) Thank you.
It's ironic, we're both back on the same day.
Although your reasons for being away were more important than mine.
- Just a frivolous holiday.
- No, no It was fantastic, though.
You can't go wrong with Italy.
- But how are you? - Really upset and sad about it.
- That your father had died.
- My father had died.
Anywayerm - Shall we? - We're upstairs.
get a bit ofa wiggle on.
- So, this is like a sort ofgoverning mall.
- There's actually quite a few problems here.
- The e-mail system isn't working.
- Oh.
- And the intelligent ventilation - Intelligent ventilation? What we've got is a wind tunnel up in the Asylum Directorate.
Don't let any ofthose out as Diary stories.
- This is us.
- Right.
A bit too light and airy for my liking.
Oohand these are awful.
Do we have to have those? They look like Alicia's Barbie furniture.
- Do you think they match? - Not ifyou wear that dress.
One ofthem's going to have to go and I'd rather it was the sofas.
- Is this us? - Yes, this is actually you.
- (Glenn) Isn't that David Dickinson? - Ooh, nice tan! I can't take all the credit, the sun did the work.
- There's not much privacy.
- It doesn't matter.
We're moving upstairs.
- It's going to be hard to shoot up in there.
- Yeah, yeah, that's true.
- This is so poky.
- We're not here long enough for it to matter.
It might interest you.
The date for your appearance before the Education Select Committee.
- It's tomorrow.
- Oh, great! Oh, that is great.
Yes, welcome home, Hugh.
Couldn't you have pushed it back a week? Given me something cushy for my first week back? A couple oflunches or a fact finder to Dublin? - That's the date they gave me.
- You can't change Select Committee dates.
Oh, can't you? How did Liam get his changed so he could go to the Test match? It's going to be like sitting on a crate having chicken shit sprayed over me.
I mean, why do we want to close down schools for kids with special needs? It's the one thing that I really, really, actually do not want to do.
And yet, bizarrely, I am the person most intimately involved in doing it.
Robyn, go and see I about the e-mail problem.
That'd be great.
So now Terri's back, I just get all the dull stuff.
Is that right? - Pretty much, yes.
- Oh, well, right.
Yeah, well, ofcourse.
Well, I'll see you later.
Glenn, the Special Needs Bill.
With your, you know, particular interest, I can't do this.
You know my views.
Inclusion is an illusion.
It doesn't work.
- But you don't mind ifI go with it? - Ofcourse not.
You know, look, you're only following orders.
So you won't make me feel bad except by comparing me to a concentration camp guard? Right.
Now, tomorrow.
Select Committee, that's Ballentine, isn't it? - Who wants to go and watch bollockvision? - Bollockvision? Mr Malcolm Tucker, turning it all the way up to eleven, down in the lobby.
- (Malcolm shouting) - (Hugh) Poor Keith! You should have discussed it.
Malcolm must love this.
Four ministers in one building.
It's his dream.
A one-stop bollock-shop.
Trouble is, we're going to be getting some ofthat in about an hour.
Which is worse? Watching him rumble towards you like prostate cancer, or him appearing suddenly out ofnowhere, like a severe stroke.
Oh How's your sister coping? So, Hugh, this new word, ''Citizenship''.
Did the PM actually outline what it entails? To be honest, I think he was making the reshuffle up as he went along.
We were lucky that citizenship was the first word that sprang to mind.
We could be in the Department for Social Affairs and Woodland Folk.
The problem is, though, Hugh, that there's been a bit ofa rush, with you not in place, every department trying to unload all the stuffthat they didn't want.
It's been like somebody driving a lorry down Whitehall, shouting, ''Bring out your shit'', and it's ended up at our door.
So what are we getting? Citizenship basically involves cutting pensions to the Ghurkhas, rejigging the protocols for a rabies outbreak, some crap from Health about long-term care for the elderly, that neither they nor we have any idea about.
And what to do with the Isle ofMan.
Just what I fucking need.
Five new ways to lose my job.
Where did that come from? - Oh, Malcolm sent that.
- It's far too big.
Why did he send it? Office warming present.
- So why did he send us a present? - I don't know.
- Has Security checked this? - What for? Tiny little terrorists? - Yes.
- It's a plant.
Yes? Socitizenshit.
What we need is some nice, touchy-feely, fondley, sneaky, hand-in-the-bra policies.
New bicycles for special constables, that sort ofthing? - Yeah.
- Making special needs kids clean up graffiti.
That's just very mean.
Well, yes.
Not, ofcourse, as mean as making them spell graffiti.
That genuinely is mean.
- I'll go and have a word with Malcolm.
- OK.
You just took a shit with your clothes on, Olly.
- Why? - Glenn's boy, Peter.
He went to a special needs school.
- Glenn's had sex.
- God, you're such a prick, Olly.
There's more to life than drinks at the Foreign Office and Nick Robinson's number on your Blackberry.
All right, fine.
Sorry, Hugh.
I feel for the guy.
I had a girlfriend with special needs once, so I know.
Luckily, I was able to fulfil them.
Oh, God, you're such a.
- Haircut? - Chemo.
- So, did you enjoy the show? - Magnificent, darling.
Should I phone Keith, so I can get his team to watch you bollock me now? No, no.
Have I got my bollocking face on? - Well - No, this is my bollocking face.
Oh, crikey, yes.
Thanks for the pot plant, by the way.
- Did I send that? - As an office warming present.
Christ, she's a great PA, isn't she, Sam? - Yes.
- She always remembers the little people.
Look at the size ofthat.
You could crucify somebody on that.
So, what do you think ofthe new building, eh? I can't wait to move upstairs, actually.
I don't like the glass walls on this floor.
I just feel a bit exposed.
Like a whore in a Reeperbahn window.
Glenn, it's Olly.
He wants you to go through and clarify the Citizenship brief.
- How much, love? - Sorry? - OK, I'm on it.
- I'll catch you later.
I like the tan, by the way.
Have you declared it? - Staying at the villa ofan influential friend.
- I haven't got any influential friends.
- You are my only influential friend.
- And I'm not really your friend.
And you're not really my friend.
- So, this Super Schools Bill - Yep.
You don't think it's so super, do you? - You're doing it now.
- What? That's your bollocking face.
You know, it's great that you get all misty eyed over Glenn's kid.
But no one's trying to fuck over special needs kids.
RReally? Before I went away, I consulted an expert, Mark Ryan.
The LSE education guy? And what did that sandal-wearing nonce have to say? Closing down special needs schools and putting needy kids into mainstream education is a lousy idea.
- I've got an expert who will deny that.
- SEN parents want the schools kept open.
Yeah, well, my expert would totally oppose that.
- Who is your expert? - No idea, but I can get one by this afternoon.
You have spoken to the wrong expert.
You've got to ask the right expert.
You've got to know what an expert's going to advise before he advises.
Hugh, whether you like this or not, you are going to have to promote this Bill.
So what I'm going to do is, I'm going to get you another expert.
But surely, Mr Smedley, inclusion has been shown to fail the most vulnerable SEN children.
When inclusion's done badly, yes.
Yes, you get bad results.
That's a given.
Inclusion is an illusion.
Mark Ryan from the LSE was saying that when the special schools do get it right, that the parents ofSEN children absolutely fucking flock to - You spoke to Mark Ryan? - Yeah, well, some expert advice.
- Expert advice from Mark Ryan? - Yeah.
- You have a problem with Ryan? - In educational circles, he's a joke.
- That's another given.
- Is it? - (E-mail alert) - Ah, sorry.
It's just that I'm expecting something quite important.
- Is our e-mail up and running? - No.
No, no, this is my hotmail.
Sorry, can you excuse me just erm (Smedley) We live in an inclusive society.
- We all rub shoulders together, Mr Cullen? - Indeed.
- Let's not let the Ryans ofthis world create - Sorry? .
apartheid for children.
The alternative is to isolate these kids in ghetto schools.
The minister won't be a moment.
(Olly) Good spot for a suicide, I would think.
Good long drop, appreciative audience.
What ifyou just broke your back? It'd leave you paralysed for life, and you'd still be depressed about the thing that was depressing you.
- What are these hangy-down things? - (Olly) Acoustic baffles.
They stop it getting too echoey.
So when you break your back, nobody can hear you screaming.
Well, that is the kind ofattention to detail that you get in a PFI building.
Hey! Get back to work, all ofyou! Right, I'm offto Number Ten for this Cabinet summit with the PM and Education, try and swing this Bill around.
Now, ifit drags on can you phone my home and tell Kate? She doesn't watch rolling news because she's a normal human being.
(Parody accent) Yes, massah, I's a good slave! - Can I say, that manner - Something catastrophic has happened! Whoa! What's going on? I've just had a phone call from a man.
He's got a child, he lives in Reigate.
This child, she is called Glenn, after Glenn Close, and her surname is Cullen.
She's Glenn Cullen.
And this morning, apparently, in her in In the e-mail tray, she got a note, and it used these words.
''Christ'', and ''cunt''.
And apparently I sent it.
- No! - Anybody could use that computer.
- Hugh, Glenn says can you head over? - Yes, I must, I must Olly was using it.
Olly was using it earlier.
Did you send an e-mail, Olly, about me, calling me a cunt? No.
No, I never use that word, let alone about you.
I won't use it until it's been fully normalised and has no further association with the female twat.
- It was you! - We'll get to the bottom ofthis.
I've got to go offto Number Ten, but I absolutely give you my word.
Hugh No, I didn't get any e-mail about Roy Smedley.
Was it funny? Kind of.
It was a bit sweary.
At least he's served his purpose.
We've now got some very useful material to trot out in case My Bloody Ballentine wants to know why you've done a U-turn in favour ofinclusion.
But I haven't.
I'm going to take a fucking stand.
I'm buggered ifI let you down now.
I'm going to go in to the PM and tell him straight up, this bill is bollocks.
- No, you're not.
- No, I'm not, but it would be great ifI did.
- Another little bit ofmy soul chipped away.
- Don't worry about it.
(Frantic stonewalling) Hugh, the Guardian web site has broken the e-mail thing.
In the final edition, here, ofthe Standard I am suddenly a major news story.
Sweary Woman OfWhitehall.
Sweary Woman OfWhitehall.
A pun.
It's not really punning on anything, is it? How do you appear out ofnowhere in a building made ofglass? I'm a shape shifter.
I don't need this, get this fucking sorted.
What is wrong with you? Having a nervous breakdown? Get on top ofit, OK? You will see me again.
I don't want this, Hugh.
I don't want to be the story.
The Sun are running a cartoon with you being arrested by a const-able.
- Olly, don't be such a bastard.
- Hey, whoa, turd tonsils.
That's quite enough ofthat, Olly.
Just knock it off, OK.
Terri, Terri, come with me.
Come here.
Just fucking act your age.
We've had enough ofyour puerile influence.
Actually, I think I might have an idea about Justjust tell me, truthfully, did you send that e-mail? No, I didn't.
And you know I didn't.
- What? I'm sorry? Are you inferring - Implying.
- You're implying thatit was me? - Hmm.
(Whispering) I saw you, Hugh.
I saw you do it.
(Floor creaking) Itit was for Glenn, for our Glenn.
To amuse him when that prick man was in his office, and I just typed in the wrong address.
- It was a genuine mistake.
- I didn't really see you.
I was bluffing.
That doesn't bode well for your Select Committee performance.
I knew you were bluffing.
I admitted it because it's the right thing to do.
Not because you'd caught me out.
And I caught you out, cos you lied about seeing me do it.
So, how do you like them apples? - Are you going to admit to this publicly? - What? No! Are you mad? I can't do that.
That mustn't happen.
You've got - I need you tototo - What? To lie? It was Derrida who said there is no such thing as empirical truth.
I'll tell you what Derrida said.
He said, ''Go fuck your face, Abbot!'' You need to mind your language.
It will keep getting you into trouble.
I can't even get out ofthe fucking room! (Terri) Excuse me.
Now to the meat ofthe Committee's interest.
You've made quite a U-turn on SEN schools, have you not, Minister? Why have you sold out? Sold out? That's rather an emotive way ofputting it.
But you are on record as having been in opposition to the policy ofinclusion.
No, it's just that times have changed and I have reassessed the landscape.
We now have the funding for academies which will have two behaviour support teachers.
- These Super Schools will offer skill clusters - But we're not interested in that.
What the Committee are curious about is how it is that you've changed your mind, given your opposition to these policies in the past.
- Did you seek specialist advice? - Well, naturally.
I sought expert advice.
Who? - Roy Smedley.
- And? Andhe was very good.
And his was the only advice you took? You saw only one expert? Yes.
And you thought that was enough? Just one? - I tried to find somebody different.
- And did you succeed? - No.
- No one? No.
- How was that? - I lied to the Select Committee.
I lied.
- Is Tucker in the building? - Malcolm In The Middle.
It's what they're calling him.
He can stand in the atrium and shout.
I don't want to see him.
I can't take one ofhis scenes from The Exorcist just now.
- I don't think Ballentine's on to anything.
- Oh, no? Well, why did she keep asking, ''Just one expert? Only one? ''Less than three, but not two?'' Fucking bitch! She's trying to throw you offbalance, like a Sumo wrestler.
It worked.
I was on the floor, in a fucking nappy.
Oh, shit, it's Malcolm.
- A man in his 50s, hiding.
- Look, he's gone.
Hugh, come out.
Get it in perspective.
It's not a major lie.
It's not like you were selling naval secrets down a gay club.
- Why does he never laugh with me like that? - (Olly) Lack ofclick? - I thought I was a professional press officer.
- I don't know.
It just is absolute hell.
- Hi.
- Oh, hello.
- How is the - I'm actually in a bit ofa state here.
I know.
Something cropped up that we need to talk about, and then afterwards you can get on with whatever You know.
- Don't you think that I'm due a bit ofsupport? - Yes, I do, I do.
But my Committee thing is actually a bigger deal than yoursweary thing.
So, you knowit just is.
- Hi, Malcolm.
- Were you hiding just now? No.
Terri, you're giving a press conference in 90 minutes.
You're going to apologise.
There's your statement.
Learn it.
ErmI organise the press conferences.
- I don't give them, normally.
- Oh, God! As you're not used to this, I'll go through it for you.
What happens is this.
A bunch ofpress people appear.
They have things called cameras and microphones, and mobile phones, hangovers and bad breath.
Then you are going to walk out and read from what we call a prepared statement.
In that, you will say, ''I'm really fucking sorry for sounding like a hairy arsed docker after 12 pints.
''I promise that I will never call an eight-year-old girl a cunt again.
''Can we now just draw a line over this and fucking move on? Thank you.
'' Everybody goes home and we see what happens.
Best case is you keep your job, although you will be The Sweary Woman ofWhitehall.
This first Mark Ryan meeting would be in the diary.
Do you want us to see ifwe could post that down the memory hole? - I mean, diaries do get lost, don't they? - Well, yes.
- We've lost a few diaries in our time.
- Well, erm Listen, do it subtly.
I don't want to know about it.
- I mean, do it, but don't tell me.
- OK.
- Do I know? - Yeah.
I don't know.
- Do I? - Don't You sort it out.
Do I know? Sort it out but don't tell me because I don't want to know.
I don't think you quite get it.
My life is in tatters.
Nobody will speak to me at my daughter's school.
Why should I lie for Hugh? Because it's your job to make him look good.
What kind ofa PR person are you, anyway? I mean, look.
Hey, hey, hey, hey! Are you going to take a bad story and make it worse? You say, ''Oh, hi there, everyone.
''I know this looks bad, but wait till you hear this.
''It was actually the Minister for Social Affairs and Citizenship who called a child a cunt.
''There you are, it is worse than we thought.
'' Ifyou were to go out there and tell the truth, it would be morally repugnant.
Because you would be condemning a guy who's doing his fucking best to try and make things better.
You'd be condemning him to the scrapheap.
(Terri) Right (Malcolm) OK? - Yes.
- Good girl.
Get Robyn, she'll help you.
Robyn, can you help her go over her lines? It was interesting, watching you talking about the truth, because I had a similar problem today, funnily enough.
Really? At the Committee, I didn't Well, unwittingly, I didn't tell the entire truth.
- You lied? To Claire Ballentine? - Yeah.
Does she know? - I don't think so.
She couldn't possibly.
- That doesn't matter, then.
I lied to the Select Committee.
It's like lying to the House.
Yeah, I know.
But ifshe doesn't know, then it doesn't matter, Hugh.
Excuse me, but I can't be fielding calls.
I have got a lot oflines to learn.
It's Ballentine's office.
They want Departmental diaries from the last 12 weeks.
- Shit! - She's on to us, she must be.
- Why else - Have you got the diaries? Yes, in a sense.
Olly might be doing something with the diaries I don't know about because he hasn't told me.
Well, you get him to undo what you don't know he's doing.
- I can't.
I don't know he's doing it.
- Hugh, go and get Olly and Glenn in here.
This is serious.
You have lied to a Select Committee.
- I told you that.
- That's like lying to the House.
- That's what I said.
- They're on to you! - Yes! - Jesus Christ! - Malcolm, do you think this is too bright? - It's too bright.
Can you please, Robyn, go to the Sketchley concession and get my grey suit? Now.
Do I look ten? Do I look like I'm on some bloody Please, just do it.
Get the suit.
- Can I have the money? - Don't you get paid? Have you got the diaries? - Yes.
- I don't know.
- We've not shredded anything.
- I don't want to hear this.
Hugh, take your fingers out ofyour fucking ears.
You're going to go to the Committee tomorrow and you're going to apologise.
I'll tell them I forgot.
Forgetting's an involuntary thing.
It's like farting.
(Rapping on glass) (Terri) Malcolm! - What? - You were meant to be dealing with me.
The worst that can happen to you is you'll lose your job.
- I'm going to lose my reputation.
- Oh, just grow up.
- You should be doing the growing up.
- I am a fucking grown-up.
- You could have fooled me! - Glenn's son could have fooled you.
No offence, Glenn.
You two get the paper trail sorted and get your story sorted out.
I'm sorry, can you stop swearing? I'm really sorry.
You won't hear any more swearing from us, you massive, gay shite! Fuck off! Right, how are you doing in sorting out whether he lied or not? - Pretty well.
- Is that a lie? - Yeah.
- That is not fucking funny, you retard.
I'm sorry about that, Glenn.
The situation just Here she comes.
(Hugh) That fucking sofa! I would like to offer mysincere and unreserved apologies for the terrible outrage caused by the e-mail that I sent.
It was never meant to be read by anybody other than the intended recipient.
- I understand that the - Oh, for - What the hell's he - Twat! .
language I used in the e-mail He doesn't realise that ifyou walk in front ofthe camera .
like that in an internal departmental conversation, or any conversation.
I wish I had neversent the e-mail, and indeed, I find it hard to believe that I did.
Whoa, she's gone offscript here.
Fucking hell, Terri, what? .
momentarylapse in restraintand that - OK, we're back on track.
- Thank God.
and I wish to apologise that I've let down the electorate, the minister, my colleagues, - my own family - (Glenn) Even though halfofthem are dead.
and indeed, the voters ofthe future - Our children.
- .
our children.
Now get off.
Brilliant, Malcolm.
Fucking stunning.
Well done, mate.
OK, we've got to get upstairs and start rehearsing for tomorrow's Select Committee.
I'm never going to get out of this fucking building, am I? Do you remember when I came to see Peter's concert at his school? His face? The pride he had when he played? - His face etched in my memory.
- Yeah? Fucking unbearable.
That's why I needed Malcolm's expert to try and wipe it from my mind.
- It hasn't really worked, though.
- Hugh, mate, don't panic.
You'll manage.
Just do what you have to do.
Whatever you have to do, do it.
Just make sure that you don't get sweat on your upper lip.
It makes you look guilty.
- What am I supposed to do? - I've no idea.
But ifyou sweat, it makes your face look like Spam.
It has come to the Committee's notice that you did not see just one special adviser, as you told us in your previous appearance, but two.
Why did you omit to mention that fact? Yes, I apologise unreservedly for that oversight.
- I forgot.
- Are you forgetful generally? Well, it's hard to know ermhow forgetful one is.
You'd have to remember all the things you'd remembered and forgotten.
And how could I remember what I've forgotten, because I've forgotten it by definition? I'm pretty good.
IfI see a picture ofthe Queen, I can put a name to a face.
And ifI see a movie, I don't sit there, going, ''Who's that one? The copper or the pirate?'' So you just accidentally told a slight untruth? I My statement was unintentionally not a truthful statement.
- III slightly misled - You completely misled.
I misled the Committee and I have apologised for that.
Are you lying now about not lying before? Ermno.
I am not a liar.
I categorically did not knowinglynot tell the truth.
Even though unknowingly I might not have done.
In fact, I wanted to come back and apologise to the Committee Glad to be ofservice, but you didn't want to come back, Minister.
You were told to come back.
The last thing in the world you wanted was to come back, given how busy you have been.
Interestingly enough, we do notice from your diaries that your meeting with Roy Smedley seems to have taken place at almost the same time as the notorious sweary e-mail was sent.
And I was in that meeting, so I couldn't possibly have sent it.
I wasn't suggesting It was your ChiefPress Officer.
Yes, it was.
And her father's just died.
I'm sorry to hear that.
No one was suggesting No, no, and quite right, too.
But you know what people are like.
Going back to my, erminitial concern, it would now seem that the two meetings you had with the two special education advisers provided you with two opposing verdicts on this particular issue.
Yet you came up with one.
So would it be therefore true to say that the Government is intent on pushing this through regardless ofwhat anyone says? No.
We wanted two opinions because we wanted to start a debate.
Not much ofa debate ifyou ignore one and just go with the other.
It's a personal thing, but ifgovernment isn't personal, then what the hell is it? My senior adviser, Glenn Cullen, has a son, his name is Peter, and he has special educational needs.
Glenn obviously wouldn't say anything about it.
He's far too professional.
But I had the privilege ofgoing down with Glenn to Peter's SEN school, and watched Peter playing the trombone in the school orchestra.
It wasn't very good.
Erm He struggled manfully.
And Glenn leaned over to me, and he said, you know, ''Ifonly this was a Super School.
'' Inclusion is not an illusion.
And I think that tipped the balance for me.
It's a personal thing.
(Glenn exhaling) - Say something.
- Well, what is to say? - I can't believe you did that.
- You said do what you have to do.
I know.
I understand that, and I know nothing is sacred.
- But I didn't mean for you to do that.
- Were you misleading me? - Don't give me that bollocks.
- II'm sorry.
OK? I'm really sorry.
Do you know, I wish I'd kept Peter's trombone.
IfI had, I'd shove it up your arse, wide end first.
Listen, you're the best senior adviser anybody could want, and Come on, you're my best pal.
- OK.
- So, am I? (Hugh) Hello.
Are you all right? Very strong performance, by the way, the apology.
So you think you can get round me with compliments, do you? I understand I'm not your favourite chocolate in the box, but I appreciate everything, and I will fight for you, irrespective ofwhat you did.
What I did? I didn't do it, Hugh! Do you remember? You sent the e-mail! - I forgot.
- Forgot? No, not forgot.
I can't get anything right at the moment.
I'm going to go away.
Go to the gents.
Look at the man standing in front ofyou in the mirror, and say, ''Can I live with him? Can I?'' - You're in there.
- I don't know what else can go wrong.
Unless the energy system sets fire to my office and puts it out by squirting liquefied shit through the sprinklers.
- Malcolm's coming this way.
- Oh, God.
Check out.
Malcolm Tucker is leaving the building.
- Oh, right.
- I want to say well done, you slippery fuck.
You should be able to weasel your way out and come back smelling like a perfumed trollop.
- Thank you.
- No problem.
Hey, I'm going to have a swear box installed on Monday, by the way.
- What? - Fucking joking, you twat.
- I'm in turbo.
- Yeah.
(Malcolm) Oi! How're you doing? (Heavy sigh)
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