Yes Minister (1980) s01e07 Episode Script

Jobs for the Boys

What time is the Minister recording this broadcast? Two p.
, Sir Humphrey.
Can't you stop him referring to the Solihull project? - There's not a hope.
- Oh, God.
"It's a shining example of collaboration between government and industry".
- How could he think that? - You told him it was.
Can a 74 million building project in the middle of a city, be swept under the carpet? - We'll use the Official Secrets - A secret? It's so huge.
It's a big secret, Bernard.
But you can't use the Official Secrets Act with something everybody knows about? The Official Secrets Act is not to protect secrets, but officials.
Why haven't you allowed me to show the Solihull Report to the Minister, tell him the truth? He hasn't asked.
Why bothera Minister ifhe doesn'twant to know? But how could he ask ifhe doesn't know? Quite so.
It's not that I'm questioning yourjudgement but - But? - But why? Because, Bernard, the Solihull Report contained a paragraph casting doubt on the financial soundness of Michael Bradley and Sloane Enterprises Ltd.
And the report's foresight had some insight in the light ofhindsight? What? If it said that Michael Bradley was going to go bust? Please, Bernard, watch your language.
The point is that, by the time the Report came out, I was so orratherthe Department was so committed to Bradley that it seemed worth taking the risk to see the project through.
If the Ministerknows this partnerwas going bust, he wouldn't make a broadcast about it.
Ministers should neverknow more than they need to know.
Then they can't tell anyone.
Like secret agents.
They could be captured and tortured.
By terrorists? By the BBC, Bernard.
The bank doesn't know whetherornot to foreclose.
I'll dine with Sir Desmond Glazebrook, theirChairman.
We might manage to cook something up.
Why don't you go to a restaurant? Anyway, in the meantime, come what may, the Ministermust not refer to the Solihull Project on the air.
Sir Humphrey, this is a bit of a coverup, isn't it? 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 impairpublic confidence.
Oh, I see.
It's like Watergate? Bernard! If you wish to leave the Service and become a BBC interviewer, - you have only to apply.
- I'm sorry, but Howwas Watergate different exactly? Watergate happened in America, Bernard! Oh yes, yes.
I see.
- Good morning, Minister.
- Good morning.
Morning, Bernard.
Sorry I'm late.
Put them on the desk, George.
I don'twant to be late at Broadcasting House.
What's the broadcast all about? NATO, wasn't it? No, partherships in industry.
Oh, yes.
I knew itwas something like that.
- Who else is in it? - It's all in there.
An Employer and a Trades Unionist.
Joe Morgan? Wasn't he the TUC representative on the Solihull project? Er, Minister Yes, Humphrey? You are not proposing to refer to the Solihull project on the air? Yes.
It's a shining example of cooperation between the Government and industry.
But I would be much happier if itwere omitted.
Why? Don't you think it's ratherpremature? Certainly not.
Building started months ago.
Ratherout of date, in fact.
Premature and out of date? Well, untimely.
Would it be uninteresting to the general public? No.
It's something that's going on.
- Extremely interesting.
- Yes.
Quite so.
So interesting that there is a danger that it might obscure yourmain point, perhaps.
What is my main point? Bernard, what's the Minister's main point? Private projects are more socially responsible with government money, and government projects are more efficientwith private investment.
You see? It underlines my main point.
You really are a wet blanket.
Just go about stirring up apathy.
Minister, I must seriously advise you with all the earnestness at my command, not to referto the Solihull Project on the air.
Why? - What? - I said, why? - Why? - Why? Well, Minister Are you planning to take the credit forthis yourself? At the European Convention of Government administration.
Yourspeech will make very good reading.
Well, a fewfacts of life.
Politicians are responsible ultimately to the people, and we get the credit.
Not Civil Servants.
I would be happyforyou to have the "credit" forthis project.
But, I must beg, beseech and implore you not today.
No, it's no good.
I'm not going to fall for it.
I'm going to get all the political capital of this.
I know a good thing when I see one.
- Please, do listen to - No.
- Minister, p - No, Humpy.
- What? - What? If it had been up to me, I'd help out like a shot.
Quite so.
It's not the bank's fault if some idiot Minister gets into bed with a kid, who runs with the money.
That Ministerwasn't entirely to blame.
There were extenuating circumstances.
This Bradley chap looked very sound at the time.
But you wouldn't have done a damn fool thing like that.
Would you? When it looked like Bradley wanted a loan thatwas one thing.
But nowhe can't pay his bills.
Well, he is unlikely to fulfil his financial undertakings to Her Majesty's Government.
Can't pay his bills, you mean.
And Her Majesty's Government's undertakings go down with him.
Unless a reputable bank were to take overthe contract from Bradley with a view to participating in a project which Her Majesty's Government is determined to make profitable.
Quite so.
More Sancerre for Her Majesty's Government? Well, like I say, it's up to my Board.
Could go eitherway, quite frankly.
- Could go eitherway.
- I see.
Incidentally, to change the subject completely, you rememberthe new Ministry Copartnership Commission you mentioned? Indeed.
The Chairmanship hasn't been filled yet? - Not yet, Desmond.
- Because if itwere to be should one be offered not forthe money, I mean, what's 8,000 a year? 160 a week.
Part time.
But itwould be a fascinating Has anything been decided, informally? You're looking around fora couple of quangos, and I can tell you, in complete confidence, that yourname is on the shortlist.
On the shortlist? Quangos can't suddenly be in short supply, can they? There's report in today's Telegraph.
"The Quango Jungle: There are still around 8,000 paid appointments within the gift of Ministers to Quasi Autonomous NGOs, - at five million pounds a year".
- You'll have two orthree spare.
There's certainly a lot of them around, the point is finding one that is appropriate.
There has to be some reason to appoint you.
What about the Advisory Committee of Dental Establishments? - Know anything about teeth? - I'm a banker.
And that rules out the Milk Marketing Board, too.
How about the Dumping at Sea Representations Panel? - Do you live nearthe sea? - Knightsbridge.
Just behind Harrods.
Not nearenough.
That more or less rules out the Clyde River Purification Board too.
- Rump steak? - That's forme.
Meat Marketing Board.
Know anything about meat? I eat it.
Not enough.
It rules out the Meat and Liverstock Commission.
- Doversole.
Sir? - White Fish Authority? Potatoes? Potato Marketing Board? The Governors of the National Vegetable Research Station? The National Biological Standards Board? Is that my salad.
Thank you, Robert.
The Arable Crops and Forage Board? The Food and Drink Training Board? Some French mustard, please? What about the Food Additives and Contaminants committee? I know very little about any of those.
- Well, what do you know about? - Nothing.
Nothing really.
I'm a banker.
This is not easy.
The Fire Services Examinations Board? St.
John's Ambulance? - French mustard, sir.
- Thank you.
What about the Plant Varieties and Seeds Tribunal? Dammit, Humphrey, I'm a banker.
Thank you.
There must be some minority group that you can represent.
You see, the ideal quango appointee is a black, Welsh, disabled woman Trade Unionist.
We're all looking around forone of them.
- You don't happen to know any? - No.
Well It all boils down to the Industry Copartnership Commission.
I'd find that quite acceptable.
Well, it is within the gift of my Minister.
And you need only put in appearances twice a month.
Lots of papers? Yes, but itwouldn't be awfully necessary to read them.
I wouldn't have anything to say at the meetings.
You're just the chap I'm looking for.
Broadcasting House, please.
Sorry to keep you, George.
When you drop me, please take Mr.
Wooly on to the House.
Why Humphrey wants to stop me mentioning the Solihull Project on the air? Didn't you think he gave 6 or 7 convincing reasons? No.
Did you? I think he knows what he's doing.
Sure he does.
I only wish I knew what he was doing.
I'm sure if Sir Humphrey advises something, then, whateverhe does advise is advisable.
- What do you advise? - It's not forme to advise, but I would advise you that you would be well advised to follow Sir Humphrey's advice.
Why? Well, it's just that certain projects have certain aspects which, with sensitive handling, given reasonable discretion, when events permit, there is no prima facie reason why, with appropriate give and take, if if all goes well, in the fullness of time, when the moment is ripe, er You're blathering.
- Yes, Minister.
- Why are you blathering? It's my job, Minister.
An example of this is going on up in Solihull now.
Government money and private investment working together in a real partnership.
And it's symbolic of the way this Government is working.
I've taken a personal interest in the Solihull Project because Not justwords, it is actually there in bricks and mortar.
A concrete example, if I may put it like that, of the fact that ourprinciples really work.
Thank you, Minister.
One lastword, Mr.
Conway? There's nothing wrong with the principle of partnership Provided that there's no interference in management decisions from the State orthe workforce.
Thank you, Mr.
Joe Morgan? Dear, oh dear, oh dear.
We all know that Mr.
Conway is talking out of date capitalist claptrap.
If partnership is to mean anything, it must mean an equal partnership between unions, government and industry.
- In that order.
- Afinal word, Minister? - There's no need to be offensive.
- Gentlemen, please.
We're all in agreement.
We've shown that if we can work together we can forge a new Britain.
And it's a pleasure to talk to two of the principal forgers principal participants.
Thank you.
James Hacker, Minister forAdministrative Affairs, was talking with George Conway, from the Construction Federation, and Joe Morgan, from the Commercial and Administrative Workers Union.
Thank you all.
Jean will take you to Hospitality.
- Was it really all right? - First class.
Most interesting, Minister.
Can we edit that awful Hacker waffle down to two and a half? Leave the Solihull bit.
- Joe, see you later.
- Yes, George.
I hope you won't mind my mentioning it, Mr.
Harker, but could you put a word in formy members' claim for a special Birmingham allowance? I don't think I can conduct Trade Union negotiations in a BBC studio.
And that's a matter forthe Employment - But a word from you - No, I'm sorry.
We'd have a Manchesterallowance, Plymouth allowance, Chipping Sodbury allowance Afterthis broadcast people might ask about the Solihull project, wanting to knowmore about it.
I hope they do.
But as we know, there are some things betternot found out.
I'm sure we understand one another.
Do we? Something in youreye? - Just a gleam.
- What? Oh, come off it, Hacker.
We've got you by the short and curlies.
And I'm asking 10 % below London allowance, and we'll settle for 30 % below.
Give you the credit forbeating us down.
No allowance.
You'd better resign youself to that.
I'm not the one who will have to resign.
- What are you talking about? - The Solihull Project.
I could hardly believe you took all the credit for it.
Great courage, of course, but whateverpossessed you? "Cannons to the right ofhim, Cannons to the left ofhim, Into the Valley of death rode Mr.
How did it go, sir? Oh, very well.
Very well.
I was talking about government industry cooperation.
There's a very interesting project in the Midlands.
I don't suppose you'd have heard about it, but it's very interesting if you know the background.
You don't mean the Solihull Project, sir? Yes.
You have heard about it.
- What are you laughing about? - Nothing, sir.
- What have you heard? - Nothing really, sir.
It's a shining example of collaboration between government and industry.
What do you know about all this? 37 journeys between the Ministry and Mr.
Michael Bradley's office, 44 Farringdon Street, and 129 Birmingham Road, Solihull.
37 journeys? Who with? Yourpredecessor, sir, and Sir Humphrey, mostly.
Very cheerful they were, on the first few trips.
They kept talking about shining examples of successful collaboration and such like.
Then the gloom started to come down.
- Gloom? - Well, no not gloom.
More like desperation, really.
Desperation? What about? You know the background, sir.
Well, yes, yes Any bit of the background you were thinking of? No.
When something's fishy, it's just fishy, isn't it? You don't knowwhich bit the smell's coming from.
- Fishy? - Well, I don't really know.
Forall I know, Mr.
Bradley may be quite kosher, despite everything Sir Humphrey said about him.
You knowmore about all that than I do.
I'm just the driver.
I'm just the Minister.
An allowance for Morgan's union is out of the question.
But howwas the broadcast? Well, all right, I think.
You think? I talked about the Solihull Project.
And then I had second thoughts.
Any particularreason? No Humphrey, is everything all right about the Solihull Project? Yes, Minister.
The building works proceed satisfactorily.
No, no, no, that's not what I meant.
- Is something going on? - Building is going on.
No, no, Humphrey.
Something's up, isn't it? - Yes indeed, Minister.
- What? The 1st floor is up, and the 2nd flooralmost up.
I'm talking about the whole basis of the thing.
Oh, I see.
- What can you tell me about? - As I understand it The basis is an aggregate of gravel and cement on six feet ofbest builders rubble.
You know I am talking about the finance.
Ourcontractwith the construction company you mean? The stage payments are in accordance with all the usual Humphrey! What is it that I don't know? - What precisely do you mean? - I don't know.
That's just it, I don't know because I can't find what questions to ask you, and I don't knowwhat to ask you because I don't know.
What is it that I don't know? Minister, I don't know what you don't know.
It could be almost anything.
- Your're keeping something from me.
- Yes indeed.
It is the Department's duty to protect the Minister from the great tide of irrelevant information that beats against the walls of this Department.
There is something about the Solihull Project that I know I don't know and I know you know.
I know Bernard knows.
Joe Morgan knows.
My own driverknows more than I do.
Only poorJoe Soap who has to tell the public about it hasn't got a clue as to what's going on.
Will you answer a simple question? Certainly, Minister.
What is it? I don't know! If you tell me, I'll ask it! Well - Yes, Frank? - Ourmeeting.
- About my quango paper.
- Come on in.
- You've read Frank's paper? - Yes indeed, Minister.
What did you think about ending the ministerial patronage? All those thousands of jobs forthe boys.
Most original and imaginative.
You liked it? Those are two of Humphrey's most damning criticisms.
Itwould be a very popular political move.
Hand the quango appointments overto Parliament.
The best men forthe job instead of old chums, partyhacks.
It should be legislated.
- It is a novel proposal - That's the otherkiller.
But when a system is working smoothly Smoothly! Look at this! Proposal forChairman of the new Industrial Coparthership Commission, Sir Desmond Glazebrook, I ask you! He's neverbeen in industry, and he's said unpleasant things about this government.
Is that a smoothly operating system? - He would be an excellent - He's a blithering idiot! - Yes, but an excellent Chairman.
- I'm sorry, Humphrey.
I am not going to appoint Sir Desmond Glazebrook.
- Minister, you must.
- No, no, no - Please, Minister - No way.
No Glazebrook.
Overmy dead body.
Right? Minister, before you make yourfinal decision I think perhaps you ought to see this.
"Report on the Solihull Project".
Why is it top secret? "7.
5 million pounds probably bankrupt proceedings inminent collapse of project" well Imminent collapse of project! Why didn't you tell me? I am conscious of the heavy burdens of youroffice.
But this'll be all overthe front pages.
It's a public scandal, a disaster.
It's - It's appalling - Jim.
It is dated before the election.
You're in the clear.
Yes, but unfortunately underthe convention of Ministerial responsability, the blame must fall - Everyone will know itwasn't Jim.
- Quite so.
The principle of democratic accountability requires the occasional human sacrifice.
When the pack is baying forblood - Isn't that right? - He'll point to the dates Oh, a lesserman might try to wriggle out of it.
But there is only one honourable course open.
As the Minister is well aware.
Frank might have a point? Only today you have publicly identified yourself with the success of the project.
The broadcast! When's it going out? It's due fortransmission about now.
Get on to the BBC at once.
- Stop it! - Stop what? Oh yes I wish you luck but you know what the BBC are like.
This is a crisis, this is a scandal If you were to put it like that, they might - Might what? - Move it to peak listening time.
Any luck? Aperfect example of what can be done is going on up in Solihull.
Government money and private investment in real partnership to me, symbolic of everything this Government is working for.
I've taken a great personal interest in the Solihull project.
It's not just words, it's actually there in bricks and mortar "Symbolic of everything this Government is working for".
How could you let me say all those things? Minister, I can only advise.
I did advise.
I advised most strongly.
But when the adviser's advice is unheeded All right, all right.
Advise me now.
Certainly, Minister.
It is possible that the bank may take over the contract from Bradley and Sloane Enterprises Ltd.
And all will be well.
- The bank! Fine! Well - The bank, however, is hesitant.
But it so happens that the Director in charge is to retire next year and he's anxious to find anotherappointment a chairmanship of a quango, for instance.
Give him one! Give him that one you were reserving forthat idiot Sir Desmond Glazebrook.
Who is the Director? Desmond Glazebrook.
He's not a bad chap, really.
He's always attacking the government.
It does us good sometimes to appoint ouropponents.
It's democratic, statesmanlike.
Yes, that's a very good appointment.
- But you can't.
- Do shut up, Frank! Anybody else know about this? Apart from ourselves and the bank and Michael Bradley, the Union representative.
Joe Morgan! Of course.
That's whatwas behind his special Birmingham allowance claim.
- Blackmail.
- Quite so, Minister.
Humphrey, I've been thinking.
Desmond Glazebrook will need some support.
A Deputy Chairman, someone with real experience of Industry.
An excellent thought.
Is there anyone you could advise me would be appropriate? ATrade Unionist, forexample? What about Joe Morgan, Minister? Joe Morgan! What an excellent idea.
Well done.
It takes two to quango, Minister.
Get on to them both immediately.
This is what's wrong with the system! It's jobs forthe boys, quid pro quo corruption.
What about my quango abolition paper? Very good, Frank.
Original and imaginative.
- Novel.
- Novel.
I'm serious about it.
What are you going to do? You're not going to suppress it.
I'll get it adopted as party policy.
If the Press were to get hold of this Yes, if the Press were to get hold of this.
- What a story! - Frank, I've been wondering.
Have you everthought of serving on a quango? You're not corrupting me.
No, no, of course not.
But perhaps betterthan abolishing the entire system would be to make itwork.
Humphrey and I were thinking, if we were to set up a special commission to investigate and report on the composition and activities of all quangos, that might be the answer.
The answer! Itwould have to be very senior, mostly Privy Councillors.
But itwould need too some very able people who have studied quangos and knew the abuses of the system.
And in the light of yourknowledge and concern, Humphrey suggested yourname.
- Didn't you, Humphrey? - Mr.
Weisel, I said.
You're not going to change my opinions.
- There is such a thing as integrity.
- Of course.
Youropinions and your integrity would make you such a valuable member of this quango.
Mind you, itwould be very hard work.
Service to this SuperQuango would involve you in some very arduous foreign travel, to see how these matters are managed in other important government centres.
Japan, Australia, California, the West Indies - Tahiti - Tahiti.
Yes, thatwould be fairly arduous.
But serving the public's what it's all about, isn't it? - Absolutely - Serving the public.
Serving the public.
And my quango paper? Invaluable, take itwith you.
I'll keep a copy, if I may, on the files.
With the Solihull Report.
Yes, Minister.

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