James Hacker
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Quotes for
James Hacker (Character)
from "Yes Minister" (1980)

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"Yes, Prime Minister: The Grand Design (#1.1)" (1986)
Jim Hacker: Tell me, General, where is the Hot Line?
General Howard: Which one?
Jim Hacker: The one to Russia.
Bernard Woolley: The Red Hot Line, Sir.
General Howard: That's in Downing Street.
Jim Hacker: So in an emergency, I can get straight through to the Soviet President?
General Howard: Theoretically, yes.
Jim Hacker: Theoretically?
General Howard: That's what we tell journalists. In fact, we did once get through to the Kremlin, but only to a switchboard operator.
Jim Hacker: Couldn't the operator put you through?
General Howard: We never found out. He didn't seem to speak much English.

Sir Humphrey: With Trident we could obliterate the whole of Eastern Europe.
Jim Hacker: I don't want to obliterate the whole of Eastern Europe.
Sir Humphrey: It's a deterrent.
Jim Hacker: It's a bluff. I probably wouldn't use it.
Sir Humphrey: Yes, but they don't know that you probably wouldn't.
Jim Hacker: They probably do.
Sir Humphrey: Yes, they probably know that you probably wouldn't. But they can't certainly know.
Jim Hacker: They probably certainly know that I probably wouldn't.
Sir Humphrey: Yes, but even though they probably certainly know that you probably wouldn't, they don't certainly know that, although you probably wouldn't, there is no probability that you certainly would.

Jim Hacker: Nice to be able to reward one's old allies. Was Ron Jones pleased with his peerage?
Bernard Woolley: Oh yes, Prime Minister. He said his members would be delighted.
Jim Hacker: His members?
Bernard Woolley: Yes, the members of his union. The National Federation...
Jim Hacker: I didn't mean him. I meant our backbencher. I meant to give a peerage to Ron Jones, not Ron Jones. The hell!
Bernard Woolley: If it is any consolation, Prime Minister, I gather he was awfully pleased.
Jim Hacker: I bet he was. What are we going to do about Ron Jones's peerage. Give him one too?
Sir Humphrey: With respect, Prime Minister, we can't send two Lord Ron Jones to the Upper House. It will look like a job lot.
Jim Hacker: We got to give him something, I promised.
Sir Humphrey: Well, what is he interested in? Does he watch television?
Jim Hacker: He hasn't even got a set.
Sir Humphrey: Fine, make him a Governor of the BBC.

Jim Hacker: Stuff the affairs of the nation. I want a cook!

Jim Hacker: You mean the German ambassador's lunch is government business, but mine isn't?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: That is so. Not just the German ambassador's, of course, any ambassador's.
Jim Hacker: Fine. Bernard, get the diary. On Monday I'll have lunch with the German ambassador. On Tuesday, with the French ambassador; on Wednesday, with the American ambassador. Oh, mustn't leave out the Commonwealth; on Thursday I'll have lunch with the New Zealand High Commissioner. How many countries are there in the UN?
Bernard Woolley: Well 158, Prime minister.
Jim Hacker: Good. That'll take up about six months; then we'll start round again.
Bernard Woolley: Prime Minister, you're not free to have lunch with ambassadors every day. Sometimes there will be other official lunches.
Jim Hacker: Even better. We'll fill up the odd gaps.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: I think that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office might have some views on that.
Jim Hacker: Oh, why?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Well, they always say that one Prime Minister's lunch with an ambassador destroys two years of patient diplomacy. I'm not quite sure how they'd react to 158.

Jim Hacker: You mean there's really no way that we can't not tell them?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Open government, Prime Minister. Freedom of information. We should always tell the press freely and frankly anything that they could easily find out some other way.

Jim Hacker: You know, Humphrey, I've been thinking.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Good.

Sir Humphrey: I understand that were you to cancel Trident you would be met not by the President but by the *Vice* President.
Jim Hacker: The *Vice* President? The *Vice* President? But even Botswana was met by the President, I saw it on TV.

Bernard Woolley: That is why that torpedo landed on Sandwich Golf Course.
Jim Hacker: Sandwich Golf Course? I didn't read that in the paper.
Bernard Woolley: No, of course not. There was a cover-up. The members just found a new bunker on the 7th fairway the next day.

Jim Hacker: You will agree that so far my premiership has been a great success.
Sir Humphrey: Oh, indeed.
Jim Hacker: Yes, and I have been asking myself: "What can I do to continue this run of success?"
Sir Humphrey: Have you considered masterly inactivity?
Jim Hacker: No, Humphrey. A Prime Minister must be firm.
Sir Humphrey: Indeed. How about *firm* masterly inactivity?

Sir Humphrey Appleby: Don't you believe that Great Britain should have the best?
Jim Hacker: Yes, of course.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Very well, if you walked into a nuclear missile showroom you would buy Trident - it's lovely, it's elegant, it's beautiful. It is quite simply the best. And Britain should have the best. In the world of the nuclear missile it is the Saville Row suit, the Rolls Royce Corniche, the Château Lafitte 1945. It is the nuclear missile Harrods would sell you. What more can I say?
Jim Hacker: Only that it costs £15 billion and we don't need it.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Well, you can say that about anything at Harrods.

Jim Hacker: Hello darling! What's for lunch?
Annie Hacker: You tell me.
Jim Hacker: Are you going somewhere?
Annie Hacker: Voluntary services committee. I did tell you.
Jim Hacker: Just thought some scrambled eggs or something.
Annie Hacker: Oh, I think there's some eggs in the fridge.
Jim Hacker: You want me to do it?
Annie Hacker: We agreed I'd go on with my work, didn't we? It's bad enough living in this goldfish bowl anyway. Every time I want to slip out for a sliced loaf I have to walk past a dozen journalists and fifty gawping tourists. There's no privacy anywhere.
Jim Hacker: Now that's not true.
Security Guard: Excuse me, Prime Minister, security check. Could I have a look around?
Annie Hacker: Privacy?
Jim Hacker: You could always walk in the garden.
Annie Hacker: There's about fifty people staring at you from the windows, it's like exercising in a prison yard.
Jim Hacker: At least it's quiet.
[a band starts playing loudly]
Annie Hacker: Quiet? That's been going on since half past eight this morning.
Jim Hacker: They have to practise somewhere.
Annie Hacker: Why here?
Jim Hacker: Darling, they're Horseguards, that's the Horseguard's parade.
Annie Hacker: And to think we actually have to pay rent for this place. They should pay us.
Jim Hacker: Annie, you must realise that a life in public service demands some sacrifice.
Annie Hacker: Fine. You sacrifice your lunch, I'm late.
Jim Hacker: But I'm hungry. What did you have for your lunch?
Annie Hacker: Half a Yorkie bar.
Jim Hacker: Where's the other half?


"Yes Minister: The Devil You Know (#2.5)" (1981)
[discussing the EEC]
James Hacker: The trouble with Brussels is not internationalism, it's too much bureaucracy.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: But the bureaucracy is a consequence of the internationalism. Why else would there be an English Commissioner with a French Director-General immediately below him, and an Italian Chef-du-Division reporting to the Frenchman and so on down the line.
James Hacker: Oh, I agree.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: It's like the Tower of Babel.
James Hacker: I agree.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: No, it's even worse, it's like the United Nations.
James Hacker: I agree.
Bernard Woolley: Then perhaps, if I may interject, you are in fact in agreement.
James Hacker, Sir Humphrey Appleby: No we're not!

James Hacker: Speaking with my parliamentary hat on, I don't think it would be a very good idea; on the other hand, with my Cabinet hat on, I think perhaps it would be a good idea. But there again, with my Party hat on, I can see there could be arguments on both sides.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: I see, and which hat are you talking through at the moment?

Sir Humphrey Appleby: Well, Minister, I'm afraid that is the penalty we have to pay for trying to pretend that we're Europeans. Believe me, I fully understand your hostility to Europe.
James Hacker: I'm not like you, Humphrey. I'm pro-Europe, I'm just anti-Brussels. I sometimes think you're anti-Europe and pro-Brussels.

[discussing a cabinet colleague]
James Hacker: Don't forget, there's Basil Corbett. He's still out to get me.
Annie Hacker: Oh, he's out to get everyone.
James Hacker: He's a smooth-tongued, hardnosed, cold-eyed, two-faced creep.
Annie Hacker: Why is he so successful?
James Hacker: Because he's a smooth-tongued, hardnosed, cold-eyed, two-faced creep.

James Hacker: But we can't stab our partners in the back and spit in their face.
Bernard Woolley: You can't stab anyone in the back while you spit in their face.

James Hacker: I suppose we have got rather fond of one another. In a way.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: In a way, yes.
James Hacker: Like a terrorist and his hostage.
Bernard Woolley: Which one of you is the terrorist?
James Hacker, Sir Humphrey Appleby: [pointing at the other] He is!

James Hacker: You know what they say about the average Common Market official. He has the organising ability of the Italians, the flexibility of the Germans, and the modesty of the French. And that's topped up by the imagination of the Belgians, the generosity of the Dutch and the intelligence of the Irish.

James Hacker: Europe is a community of nations, dedicated towards one goal.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: [laughs]
James Hacker: May we share the joke, Humphrey?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Minister, may I?
[sits]
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Let's look at this objectively. It is a game played for national interests and always was. Why do you suppose we went into it?
James Hacker: To strengthen the brotherhood of free Western nations.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Oh, really. We went in to screw the French by splitting them off from the Germans.
James Hacker: Well, why did the French go into it, then?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Well, to protect their inefficient farmers from commercial competition.
James Hacker: That certainly doesn't apply to the Germans!
Sir Humphrey Appleby: No, no. They went in to cleanse themselves of genocide and apply for readmission to the human race.

James Hacker: Elbows: the most important weapon in a politician's armoury.
Annie Hacker: Other than integrity!
James Hacker: Integrity?
[bursts out laughing]

[Sir Humphrey is trying desperately to get an idea that will make Hacker stay and not go to Brussels]
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Supposing you ignore the EEC... and then publish your own plans for word processing machines... with big, big orders for British manufacturers... starting immediately... tomorrow... well certainly before Monday... involving more jobs, investment, more export orders...
James Hacker: More votes?

[last lines]
James Hacker: Tell me, Humphrey. Who would have got my position here if I had gone to Brussels?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Oh, I don't know...
Bernard Woolley: Didn't you tell me it was Basil Corbett?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Basil Corbett...
[laughs uncomfortably]
James Hacker: Oh, I see. Basil Corbett.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: [long pause] Yes, Minister.

James Hacker: [Discussing the rumoured Cabinet reshuffle] It's difficult to tell. The PM might think I've been too much of a success. You know, a challenge to the leadership.
Annie Hacker: [disbelievingly] You?


"Yes, Prime Minister: The Smoke Screen (#1.3)" (1986)
Sir Humphrey: Notwithstanding the fact that your proposal could conceivably encompass certain concomitant benefits of a marginal and peripheral relevance, there is a countervailing consideration of infinitely superior magnitude involving your personal complicity and corroborative malfeasance, with a consequence that the taint and stigma of your former associations and diversions could irredeemably and irretrievably invalidate your position and culminate in public revelations and recriminations of a profoundly embarrassing and ultimately indefensible character.
Jim Hacker: Perhaps I can have a précis of that?

Dr. Peter Thorn -Minister of State at the DHSS: Well, briefly, I'm proposing that the government should take action to eliminate smoking: complete ban on all cigarette sponsorship and advertising, even at the point of sale, £50 million to be spent on anti-smoking publicity, ban smoking in all public places, and progressive deterrent tax rises over the next five years until a packet of 20 costs about the same as a bottle of whisky.
James Hacker: Isn't that rather drastic?
Dr. Peter Thorn -Minister of State at the DHSS: Absolutely.

Bernard Woolley: Do you think you will win this one? The tobacco lobby is incredibly powerful.
James Hacker: Well, some you win, some you lose, Bernard. This one I shall definitely lose.
Bernard Woolley: Then why?
James Hacker: If you were the Treasury, which would you rather do without? One and a half billion pounds in tax cuts or four billion pounds in lost tobacco tax revenue?
Bernard Woolley: The tax cuts. It's smaller.
James Hacker: Exactly. That's what I want and that's what I shall get.

Sir Humphrey Appleby: All the hospitality that we've enjoyed at BTG's expense. Champagne receptions, buffet lunches, the best seats at sporting and cultural events.
Jim Hacker: What's the problem?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: The tobacco companies may release this embarrassing information to the press.
Jim Hacker: It's not embarrassing. I've had drinks at the Soviet embassy. That doesn't make me a Russian spy.

Sir Humphrey Appleby: A lot of people, eminent people, influential people have argued that such legislation would be a blow against freedom of choice.
Jim Hacker: Rubbish. I'm not banning smoking itself. Does every tax rise represent a blow against freedom?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Well, depends how big the tax rise is.
Jim Hacker: Oh, that's fascinating. Does twenty pence represent a blow against freedom?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Prime Minister...
Jim Hacker: Twenty-five pence? Thirty pence? Thirty-one? Is something a blow against freedom simply because it can seriously damage your wealth?

Jim Hacker: Leslie, if we do nothing, in the next ten years in this country alone we're going to have one million premature deaths.
Leslie Potts - Minister for Sport: Yes, but evenly spread. Not just in marginal constituencies.

Jim Hacker: Tell the Minister that I will see him at the house at 2.30 for ten minutes.
Bernard Woolley: With pleasure, Prime Minister.
Jim Hacker: No, not with pleasure Bernard, but I'll see him anyway.

Jim Hacker: He's got to learn to co-operate.
Bernard Woolley: What do you mean co-operate?
Jim Hacker: I mean obey my commands. That's what co-operate means when you're Prime Minister.

Sir Humphrey Appleby: I foresee all sorts of of unforeseen problems.
Jim Hacker: Such as?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: If I could foresee them, they wouldn't be unforeseen.

Jim Hacker: It says here, smoking related diseases cost the National Health Service £165 million a year.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Yes but we've been in to that, it has been shown that if those extra 100,000 people had lived to a ripe old age, it would have cost us even more in pensions and social security than it did in medical treatment. So, financially speaking it's unquestionably better that they continue to die at their present rate.

Jim Hacker: We're talking of 100,000 deaths a year.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Yes, but cigarette taxes pay for a third of the cost of the National Health service. We're saving many more lives than we otherwise could, because of those smokers who voluntary lay down their lives for their friends. Smokers are national benefactors.
Jim Hacker: So long as they live.


"Yes, Prime Minister: A Victory for Democracy (#1.6)" (1986)
James Hacker: Are you telling me the Foreign Office is keeping something from me?
Bernard Woolley: Yes.
James Hacker: Well, what?
Bernard Woolley: I don't know; they're keeping it from me too.
James Hacker: How do you know?
Bernard Woolley: I don't know.
James Hacker: You just said that the Foreign Office sas keeping something from me. How do you know if you don't know?
Bernard Woolley: I don't know specifically what, Prime Minister, but I do know the Foreign Office always keep everything from everybody. It's normal practice.

Israeli Ambassador: Well, Jim, what are you going to do about St George's?
James Hacker: You know about that?
Israeli Ambassador: Obviously.
James Hacker: Not a serious problem, is it?
Israeli Ambassador: Isn't it? Your information must be better than mine.
James Hacker: Don't be silly. Mine comes from the Foreign Office.
Israeli Ambassador: Israeli Intelligence says that East Yemen are going to invade St George's Island in the next few days.
James Hacker: What? So that's the connection.
Israeli Ambassador: Your Foreign Office have agreed with East Yemen that they'll make strong diplomatic representations, but do nothing. In return, the Yemenis will let you keep your airport contract after they've taken over.
James Hacker: There will be uproar!
Israeli Ambassador: That's only the start. I happen to know from our ambassador in Washington that the Americans are going to support the present government of St George's.
James Hacker: In the U.N.?
Israeli Ambassador: No, in battle. On St George's Island. They'll send in an airborne division backed up by the Seventh Fleet.
James Hacker: The Americans? Invading a Commonwealth country? The Palace will hit the roof. And I'll look ridiculous. Why didn't the Americans tell me?
Israeli Ambassador: They don't trust you.
James Hacker: Why not?
Israeli Ambassador: Because you trust the Foreign Office.
James Hacker: Oh, I see. What can I do about it?
Israeli Ambassador: Jim, you have an airborne battalion on standby in Germany that is not now needed for the NATO exercise.
James Hacker: How do you know?
Israeli Ambassador: I know. Now, if you were to send it to St George's Island, it would frighten off East Yemen. They'd never dare invade. Of course, it's not for the Israeli ambassador to advise the British Prime Minister.
James Hacker: And he wouldn't take your advice anyway.
[picks up phone]
James Hacker: Get me the Foreign Secretary and then the Defence Secretary, please.
[hangs up]
James Hacker: A wonder the Foreign Office didn't cover themselves. Maybe they did. They gave me several boxes tonight. I've been through them all except this one. I wonder if this could be it, "Northern Indian Ocean Situation Report". 138 pages, it must be it.
[phone rings]
James Hacker: Hello? Yes, Ronnie. I want the president of St George's Island to extend an invitation to Britain to send an airborne battalion on a goodwill visit. No, just a friendly gesture. Goodwill. Yes, at once, please. Thank you.
[hangs up]
James Hacker: He seemed to think that 800 fully armed paratroopers was an awful lot to send on a goodwill visit.
Israeli Ambassador: No, it's just an awful lot of goodwill.
James Hacker: [phone rings] Oh, yes, Paul. You know you have an airborne battalion on standby in Germany? Never mind how I know. Well, since it's not being used, I want them to fly straight off to St George's Island. Sort of between Africa and India. A goodwill visit. Just showing the flag. They have been invited. Yes. Leave in... six hours. Yes, an instant goodwill visit. Tell your press office to announce it at once. No, no, leave me out of it. A routine visit. All right - a routine surprise visit. Well, say they were invited earlier, but the NATO exercise got in the way. Now they're not needed, they're going anyway. All right. Nobody knows it's not true. Press statements aren't delivered under oath.
[hangs up]
James Hacker: They'll be off at midnight.

James Hacker: Humphrey, I'm worried.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Oh, what about, Prime Minister?
James Hacker: About the Americans.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Oh yes, well, we're all worried about the Americans.

James Hacker: Foreign affairs are a complicated business, aren't they?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Yes, indeed, Prime Minister. That's why we leave it to the Foreign Office.

James Hacker: Apparently the White House thinks that the Foreign Office is full of pinkos and traitors.
Bernard Woolley: No, it's not. Well, not full.

James Hacker: I was on the receiving end of some frightful pressure from the American ambassador at that drinkies do last night.
Bernard Woolley: Ah.
James Hacker: Apparently they'd heard about my plan to cancel Trident.
James Hacker: Ah.
James Hacker: It seems that the American defence industries are among the biggest contributors to the President's party funds.
Bernard Woolley: Ah.
James Hacker: Then he said we had a big problem in East Yemen.
Bernard Woolley: Ah?
James Hacker: Stop saying "ah" like that, Bernard. I'm not your doctor.
Bernard Woolley: I'm sorry, Prime Minister.
James Hacker: What is this big problem in East Yemen?
Bernard Woolley: Ah...
James Hacker: Thank you, Bernard.

James Hacker: Foreign affairs are a complicated business.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: That's why we leave it to the Foreign Office.

James Hacker: Luke! Can you hear me? Watch my lips! I want to talk to the Israeli ambassador!

James Hacker: He seemed worried that it might be subject to a Communist takeover.
Luke: Americans always are.

Sir Humphrey Appleby: I gather that there's an airborne battalion in the air.
James Hacker: Sounds like the right place for it.

Jim Hacker: Who knows Foreign Office secrets, apart from the Foreign Office?
Bernard Woolley: That's easy. Only the Kremlin.


"Yes, Prime Minister: The Key (#1.4)" (1986)
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Prime Minister, I must protest in the strongest possible terms my profound opposition to a newly instituted practice which imposes severe and intolerable restrictions upon the ingress and egress of senior members of the hierarchy and which will, in all probability, should the current deplorable innovation be perpetuated, precipitate a constriction of the channels of communication, and culminate in a condition of organisational atrophy and administrative paralysis which will render effectively impossible the coherent and co-ordinated discharge of the function of government within Her Majesty's United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Jim Hacker: You mean you've lost your key?

Jim Hacker: Bernard, I really don't want Humphrey putting his head round the door during this meeting.
Bernard Woolley: Well, I'll do my best, Prime Minister.
Jim Hacker: That may not be good enough, Bernard. Dorothy tells me that technically Humphrey's supposed to phone you from the cabinet office before he comes through to Number Ten; is that true?
Bernard Woolley: Well, perhaps in theory, but it's really just a formality.
Jim Hacker: Good. Humphrey likes formality.

Jim Hacker: People can wait in the lobby. Or in the state rooms.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Some people. But some people must wait where other people cannot see the people who are waiting. And people who arrive before other people must wait where they cannot see the people who arrive after them being admitted before them. And people who come in from outside must wait where they cannot see the people from inside coming in to tell you what the people from outside have come to see you about. And people who arrive when you are with people they are not supposed to know you have seen must wait somewhere until the people who are not supposed to have seen you have seen you.

Bernard Woolley: As they say, it's a custom more honoured in the breach than in the observance.
Jim Hacker: Oh really, Bernard, must you and Humphrey really always express yourself in this roundabout and pompous way? "More honoured in the breach than the observance"! Must you always distort and destroy the most beautiful language in the world - the language of Shakespeare?
Bernard Woolley: That *is* Shakespeare, Prime Minister.

Jim Hacker: But me no buts, Bernard. Shakespeare.
Bernard Woolley: Oh no, Prime Minister. "But me no buts" is circa 1820. Mrs Centlivre used the phrase in 1708, but actually it was Scott's employment of it in 'The Antiquary' in 1816 which made it fashionable.
Jim Hacker: Shall we keep to the point please, Bernard?

Jim Hacker: Bernard, I want you to put Dorothy back into her old office.
Bernard Woolley: You mean, carry her there?

Jim Hacker: But if, as you say, he's not overstretched.
Sir Frank Gordon: Ah, when I say not overstretched, I was of course talking in a sense of total cumulative loading taken globally, rather than in respect of certain individual and essentially anomalous responsibilities which are not, logically speaking, consonant or harmonious with the broad spectrum of intermeshing and inseparable functions, and could indeed be said to place an excessive and supererogatory burden on the office, where considered in relation to the comparatively exiguous advantages of their overall centralisation.
Jim Hacker: You *could* do part of Humphrey's job!

Jim Hacker: [the Prime Minister attempts to repeat Humphrey's explaination to Dorothy] Well, because if people came to see people who people didn't know people were coming... that is, if people saw people coming before people saw them seeing people, people would see people. The whole ship would go off the rails. You see.
Dorothy Wainwright: Did you work all that out for yourself?


"Yes Minister: The Writing on the Wall (#1.5)" (1980)
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Minister, 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 the Spanish, with the Germans 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. Why should we change now, when it's worked so well?
James Hacker: That's all ancient history, surely.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Yes, and current policy. We had to break the whole thing up, so we had to get inside. We tried to break it up from the outside, but that wouldn't work. Now that we're inside we can make a complete pig's breakfast of the whole thing: set the Germans against the French, the French against the Italians, the Italians against the Dutch. The Foreign Office is terribly pleased; it's just like old times.
James Hacker: Surely we're all committed to the European ideal.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Really, Minister.
[laughs]
James Hacker: If not, why are we pushing for an increase in the membership?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Well, for the same reason. It's just like the United Nations, in fact. The more members it has, the more arguments it can stir up. The more futile and impotent it becomes.
James Hacker: What appalling cynicism.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Yes. We call it diplomacy, Minister.

James Hacker: So when this next comes up at Question Time, you want me to tell Parliament that it's *their* fault that the Civil Service is too big?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: But it's the truth, Minister.
James Hacker: I don't want the truth. I want something I can tell Parliament!

[first lines]
James Hacker: I'm still not happy with this report, Humphrey.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Then, Minister, we shall be happy to redraft it for you.
James Hacker: You've redrafted it three times already.
Bernard Woolley: That's not absolutely correct, Minister.
James Hacker: Yes it is, Bernard. I *can* count. This is the third draft report.
Bernard Woolley: Yes, quite so, Minister. Therefore, it's been drafted once and subsequently redrafted twice.
James Hacker: Don't quibble, Bernard.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: But we shall be happy to redraft it a third time.
James Hacker: And a fourth, and a fifth, and a sixth, no doubt; and it still won't say what I want it to say; it will say what you want it to say and I want it to say what I want it to say.
Bernard Woolley: What do you want it to say, Minister?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: We want it to say what you want it to say, Minister.
Bernard Woolley: I'm sure the Department doesn't want you to say anyting you don't want to say.
James Hacker: Stop wittering!

James Hacker: Will you give me a straight answer to a straight question?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Oh, well, Minister, as long as you are not asking me to resort to crude generalisations and vulgar simplifications such as a simple yes or no, I shall do my utmost to oblige.
James Hacker: Is that yes?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: [long pause as Humphrey considers] Yunp...

James Hacker: All we get from the civil service is delaying tactics.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Well, I wouldn't call civil service delays "tactics", Minister. That would be to mistake lethargy for strategy.

[last lines]
Bernard Woolley: Can Daniel Hughes really fix this? I mean, don't Prime Ministers have minds of their own?
James Hacker: Oh, certainly. But as President Nixon's henchman once said, when you've got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow. Right, Humphrey?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Yes, Minister.

James Hacker: Will you give me a straight answer to a straight question?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Well, Minister, as long as you are not asking me to resort to crude generalizations and vulgar over-simplifications such as a simple yes or no, I shall do my utmost to oblige.


"Yes Minister: A Question of Loyalty (#2.7)" (1981)
[On the 1938 Munich Agreement]
Sir Humphrey Appleby: It occurred before certain important facts were known, and couldn't happen again.
James Hacker: What important facts?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Well, that Hitler wanted to conquer Europe.
James Hacker: I thought that everybody knew that.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Not the Foreign Office.

James Hacker: Why is it that Ministers can't ever go anywhere without their briefs?
Bernard Woolley: It's in case they get caught with their trousers down.

James Hacker: You said yourself how important these select committees are. I cannot be seen to mislead them.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: You will not be SEEN to mislead them.

James Hacker: The committee isn't the least bit interested in the nature of truth. They're all MP's!

James Hacker: I'm made to look like I've wasted all the money that everybody else has been saving.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Oh, minister. Nobody else have been saving anything. You ought to know that by now!

James Hacker: I have backed you up, Humphrey, in just the same way that you have always backed me up. Isn't that so?
[Sir Humphrey is so shocked he can only utter some unintelligible words]
James Hacker: [to Sir Humphrey] Did you say something?
Bernard Woolley: I think he said "Yes, minister".

Sir Humphrey Appleby: A tiny mistake. The sort that anyone can make.
James Hacker: A tiny mistake? 75,000 pounds? Give me an example of a big mistake.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Letting people find out about it.


"Yes, Prime Minister: A Real Partnership (#1.5)" (1986)
Annie Hacker: So who is in charge if you're not.
James Hacker: Nobody, really.

James Hacker: But that's an outrageous view.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Yes indeed, it's known as Treasury Policy.

Sir Humphrey Appleby: It is so difficult for me you see, as I am wearing two hats.
James Hacker: Yes, isn't that rather awkward for you.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Not if one is in two minds.
Bernard Woolley: Or has two faces.

James Hacker: You are Cabinet Secretary. You must insist that we get papers circulated earlier.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Alas, there are grave problems about circulating papers before they are written.

James Hacker: Bernard. Humphrey should have seen this coming and warned me.
Bernard Woolley: I don't think Sir Humphrey understands economics, Prime Minister. He did read classics, you know?
James Hacker: How about Sir Frank? He is head of the Treasury.
Bernard Woolley: Well, I'm afraid he's in even greater disadvantage in understanding economics. He's an economist.

James Hacker: If there were a conflict of interests which side would the civil service really be on?
Bernard Woolley: The winning side, Prime Minister.

[last lines]
Sir Humphrey Appleby: After all, this is a partnership.
James Hacker: Yes, a real partnership.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Yes, Prime Minister.


"Yes Minister: The Moral Dimension (#3.4)" (1982)
[last lines]
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Superb, Minister!
Bernard Woolley: Thank you, Minister.
James Hacker: Ah well, it was nothing. One must stick by one's friends, eh, Humphrey. And Bernard. Loyalty.
Sir Humphrey Appleby, Bernard Woolley: Yes, Minister.

James Hacker: Will you answer a direct question?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: I strongly advise you not to ask a direct question.
James Hacker: Why?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: It might provoke a direct answer.
James Hacker: Never has yet.

Bernard Woolley: Minister, there's an urgent call for you in the communications room. A Mr Haig.
James Hacker: General Haig?
Bernard Woolley: No, MR Haig. You know, with the dimples.
James Hacker: Yes, yes. Do excuse me. Most important.

James Hacker: Bernard. Wanted in the communications room. A Mr John Walker.
Bernard Woolley: Johnnie Walker?
James Hacker: Yes, from the Scotch Office... Sorry. Scottish Office.
Annie Hacker: Isn't there a message for me?
James Hacker: Yes, of course. Bernard will get it for you if you give him your glass. If you... give him your glass, he'll get you some more orange juice.

James Hacker: Bernard, any messages?
Bernard Woolley: Well, there is one for Sir Humphrey.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Oh, good.
Bernard Woolley: The Soviet Embassy on the line. Mr Smirnoff.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Sorry. So sorry.
James Hacker: Isn't there one for me?
Bernard Woolley: There was a message from the Embassy, the school - a delegation of Teachers.
James Hacker: Ah, I must go and greet the Teachers... before the Bells goes... bell goes!

Bernard Woolley: Minister, can I have a private word with Sir Humphrey?
James Hacker: You may speak freely, Bernie.
Bernard Woolley: Yes... Oh, there was a message for you in the communications room. The VAT man, your 69 returns.
James Hacker: What?
Bernard Woolley: VAT 69.
James Hacker: Oh. Ah! Yes... thanks.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that the minister has had almost as many urgent messages as he can take.

James Hacker: Ah, Lawrence of Arabia, you're wanted in the communications room.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Oh, good. Er, who is it?
James Hacker: Napoleon!


"Yes, Prime Minister: The Ministerial Broadcast (#1.2)" (1986)
Jim Hacker: So let us be abundantly clear about this. We cannot go on paying ourselves more than we earn. The rest of the world does not owe us a living. We must be prepared to make sacrifices and... Who wrote this rubbish?
Bernard Woolley: You did, Prime Minister. It's one of your old speeches.

Godfrey - TV Producer: And you are leaning forward again a bit.
James Hacker: That's what I do when I want to look sincere.
Godfrey - TV Producer: It makes you look like someone who wants to look sincere.

James Hacker: We want to build a bright future for our children. We want to build a peaceful and prosperous Britain, a Britain that can hold her head high in the fellowship of nations. This is rather good. Who wrote this?
Godfrey - TV Producer: Actually, it's from the last party political by the leader of the opposition.

Godfrey - TV Producer: Could we just talk about your appearance, remember? What will you be wearing?
James Hacker: What do you suggest?
Godfrey - TV Producer: Well, dark suit represents traditional values.
James Hacker: Fine, dark suit.
Godfrey - TV Producer: On the other hand, a light suit looks business-like.
James Hacker: What about a lightish jacket with a darkish waistcoat?
Godfrey - TV Producer: I think that would look as though you've got an identity problem.

[discussing with Bernard his recent meeting with the US President]
Jim Hacker: Well, I read him my brief, he read me his brief, then we decided it would quicker if we just swapped briefs and read them for ourselves. So we spent most of our time rubbishing the French!

James Hacker: [reading a speech written for him] "We shall of course be reviewing a wide range of options over the whole field of government expenditures." Bernard, this doesn't say anything.
Bernard Woolley: Oh, thank you, Prime Minister.
James Hacker: It's completely lacking impact.
Bernard Woolley: You're too kind, Prime Minster.


"Yes, Prime Minister: The National Education Service (#2.7)" (1988)
[discussing Hacker's proposal to allow parents to choose their children's school]
Sir Humphrey Appleby: In any case, we're not talking about health; we're talking about education. And, with respect, Prime Minister, I think that the DES will react with some caution to your rather novel proposal.
James Hacker: You mean they'll block it.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: I mean they will give it the most serious and urgent consideration, and insist on a thorough and rigorous examination of all the proposals, allied to a detailed feasibility study and budget analysis before producing a consultative document for consideration by all interested bodies and seeking comments and recommendations to be included in a brief for a series of working parties who will produce individual studies which will provide the background for a more wide-ranging document considering whether or not the proposal should be taken forward to the next stage.
James Hacker: You mean they'll block it.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Yeah.

[discussing the role of the DES]
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Who would plan for the future?
James Hacker: Are you saying that education in Britain today is what the Department *planned*?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Well, of c... No, of course not!

[Hacker is planning to abolish the Department of Education]
James Hacker: I wonder what Humphrey will say.
Dorothy Wainwright: Whatever he says, I want to be there when you tell him.
James Hacker: To witness the clash between the political will and the administrative will?
Dorothy Wainwright: I think it'll be a clash between the political will and the administrative won't.

James Hacker: [Discussing ways to reform the education system] No, the DES would block it.
Dorothy Wainwright: Fine, get rid of them.
James Hacker: What?
Dorothy Wainwright: Get rid of the Department of Education.
James Hacker: I don't understand you.
Dorothy Wainwright: Get rid of it! Abolish it! Remove it! Expunge it! Eliminate it! Eradicate it! Exterminate it! Get rid of it!
James Hacker: Get rid of it?

Sir Humphrey Appleby: [Sir Humphrey has just proven that, despite what the Prime Minister says, he still knows Latin] Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses.
James Hacker: What does that mean?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: If you'd kept your mouth shut, we might have thought you were clever.
James Hacker: I beg your pardon?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Oh, not you, Prime Minister. No, that's the translation.
Bernard Woolley: No one would ever have thought Sir Humphrey was saying that about you.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Go away, Bernard, please.

James Hacker: You think I could? Grasp the nettle? Take the bull by the horns?
Bernard Woolley: Prime Minister, you can't take the bull by the horns if you're grasping the nettle.
James Hacker: Oh, really, Bernard?
Bernard Woolley: All I meant was, if you grasp the nettle with one hand, you could take the bull by one horn with the other hand, but not both horns because your hand isn't big enough. And if you did take the bull by one horn, it would be rather dangerous because
[he acts out a bull butting out at someone]
Bernard Woolley: . Well, it was just a mixed metaphor, and since we were discussing education, I, I just...
[phone rings]
Bernard Woolley: Thank God.


"Yes, Prime Minister: The Tangled Web (#2.8)" (1988)
James Hacker: I mean, why should we bug Hugh Halifax's telephone? I mean, one of my own administration. Don't know where they got such a daft idea. Sheer paranoia.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Yes, the only thing is...
James Hacker: I mean, why should we listen in to MPs? Boring, stupid ignorant windbags, I do my best *not* to listen to them. He's only a PPS. *I* have enough trouble finding out what's going on at the Ministry of Defence, what could *he* know?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: So I gather you denied that Mr Halifax's phone had been bugged.
James Hacker: Well, obviously. It was the one question today to which I could give a clear, simple, straightforward, honest answer.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Yes. Unfortunately, although the answer was indeed clear, simple and straightforward, there is some difficulty in justifiably assigning to it the fourth of the epithets you applied to the statement inasmuch as the precise correlation between the information you communicated and the facts insofar as they can be determined and demonstrated is such as to cause epistemological problems of sufficient magnitude as to lay upon the logical and semantic resources of the English language a heavier burden than they can reasonably be expected to bear.
James Hacker: Epistemological? What are you talking about?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: You told a lie.

James Hacker: But it wasn't my fault. I didn't know he was being bugged.
Bernard Woolley: Prime Minister, you are deemed to have known. You are ultimately responsible.
James Hacker: Why wasn't I told?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: The Home Secretary might not have felt the need to infrom you.
James Hacker: Why?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Perhaps he didn't know either. Or perhaps he'd been advised that you did not need to know.
James Hacker: Well I did need to know.
Bernard Woolley: Apparently the fact that you needed to know was not known at the time that the now known need to know was known, and therefore those that needed to advise and inform the Home Secretary perhaps felt that the information that he needed as to whether to inform the highest authority of the known information was not yet known and therefore there was no authority for the authority to be informed because the need to know was not at this time known or needed.
James Hacker: What!
Sir Humphrey Appleby: We could not know that you would deny it in the House.
James Hacker: Well, obviously I would if I didn't know and I were asked.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: We did not know that you would be asked when you didn't know.
James Hacker: But I was bound to be asked when I didn't know if I didn't know.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: What?

Sir Humphrey Appleby: We can issue a clarification.
James Hacker: I think you've already made yourself very clear.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: No, Prime Minister, a clarification is not to make oneself clear. It is to put oneself *in* the clear.

[discussing Sir Humphrey's upcoming interview with Ludovic Kennedy]
Sir Humphrey Appleby: His researchers mentioned that lots of people are interested to know why so much power is centralised in my hands.
James Hacker: Lots of people? Hardly anybody's ever heard of you, Humphrey.
Bernard Woolley: Perhaps they meant lots of Radio 3 listeners.
James Hacker: That's a contradiction in terms.

James Hacker: Honesty always gives you the advantage of surprise in the House of Commons.

James Hacker: It was the one question today to which I could give a clear, simple, straightforward, honest answer.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Yes. Unfortunately although the answer was indeed clear, simple and straightforward, there is some difficulty in justifiably assigning to it the 4th of the epithets you applied to the statement, in as much as the precise correlation between the information you communicated and the facts, in so far as they can be determined and demonstrated is such as to cause epistemological problems of sufficient magnitude as to lay upon the logical and semantic resources of the English language a heavier burden than they can reasonably be expected to bear.
James Hacker: What are you talking about?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: You... told a lie.


"Yes Minister: Open Government (#1.1)" (1980)
[Jim Hacker is being introduced to his new position as Minister]
James Hacker: Who else is in this department?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Well briefly, sir, I am the Permanent Under Secretary of State, known as the Permanent Secretary. Woolley here is your Principal Private Secretary, I too have a Principal Private Secretary and he is the Principal Private Secretary to the Permanent Secretary. Directly responsible to me are ten Deputy Secretaries, eighty-seven Under Secretaries and two hunddred and nineteen Assistant Secretaries. Directly responsible to the Principal Private Secretaries are plain Private Secretaries, and the Prime Minister will be appointing two Parliamentary Under-Secretaries and you will be appointing your own Parliamentary Private Secretary.
James Hacker: Do they all type?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: None of us can type, Minister. Mrs. McKay types. She's the secretary.

James Hacker: You do overreact to everything so. *The telephone rings and he hurriedly reaches for it

James Hacker: What are you looking for?
Annie Hacker: Cigarette, I can't find any.
James Hacker: Cigarette box.
Annie Hacker: It's empty.
James Hacker: Take a librium.
Annie Hacker: I can't find the librium; that's why I'm looking for a cigarette.

Annie Hacker: I didn't know Bill could speak French.
James Hacker: He can hardly speak English.

James Hacker: *There is a ringing noise Hello? Hello? Hello?
Annie Hacker: Darling; that's the front door.

Frank Weisel: Did you know that Martin's got the Foreign Office?
James Hacker: Has he?
Frank Weisel: Jack's got Health, Fred's got energy.
Annie Hacker: Has anybody got brains?
James Hacker: You mean Education?
Annie Hacker: No, I know what I mean.
James Hacker: Well what's left? I mean what have I got?
Annie Hacker: Rhythm?


"Yes Minister: The Skeleton in the Cupboard (#3.3)" (1982)
Sir Humphrey Appleby: If local authorities don't send us the statistics that we ask for, then government figures will be a nonsense.
James Hacker: Why?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: They will be incomplete.
James Hacker: But government figures are a nonsense anyway.
Bernard Woolley: I think Sir Humphrey want to ensure they are a complete nonsense.

[Sir Humphrey has shooed Hacker out of the office of a colleague]
James Hacker: Bernard, how did Sir Humphrey know I was with Dr. Cartwright?
Bernard Woolley: God moves in a mysterious way.
James Hacker: Let me make one thing perfectly clear: Humphrey is not God, OK?
Bernard Woolley: Will you tell him or shall I?

Bernard Woolley: Well it is understood if Ministers want to know anything it will be brought to their notice. If they go out looking for information they might... oh well, they might...
James Hacker: ...find it?

Sir Humphrey Appleby: The identity of the official whose alleged responsibility for this hypothetical oversight has been the subject of recent discussion is not shrouded in quite such impenetrable obscurity as certain previous disclosures may have 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.
James Hacker: I beg your pardon?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: It was... I.

Bernard Woolley: He's coming round now.
James Hacker: Why, did he faint?

[last lines]
James Hacker: How am I going to explain the missing documents to "The Mail"?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Well, this is what we normally do in circumstnces like these.
James Hacker: [reads memo] This file contains the complete set of papers, except for a number of secret documents, a few others which are part of still active files, some correspondence lost in the floods of 1967...
James Hacker: Was 1967 a particularly bad winter?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: No, a marvellous winter. We lost no end of embarrassing files.
James Hacker: [reads] Some records which went astray in the move to London and others when the War Office was incorporated in the Ministry of Defence, and the normal withdrawal of papers whose publication could give grounds for an action for libel or breach of confidence or cause embarrassment to friendly governments.
James Hacker: That's pretty comprehensive. How many does that normally leave for them to look at?
James Hacker: How many does it actually leave? About a hundred?... Fifty?... Ten?... Five?... Four?... Three?... Two?... One?... *Zero?*
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Yes, Minister.


"Yes, Prime Minister: The Bishops Gambit (#1.7)" (1986)
Sir Humphrey Appleby: The Queen is inseparable from the Church of England.
Jim Hacker: And what about God?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: I think he is what is called an optional extra.

James Hacker: Eccentricity can be a virtue.
Sir Humphrey: If you call it individualism.
Bernard Woolley: That's one of those irregular verbs, isn't it. I have an independent mind, you are an eccentric, he is round the twist.

[last lines]
Jim Hacker: How come you know so much about the Dean of Bai... Weren't you at Bailey yourself?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: I was, yes.
Jim Hacker: Jobs for the boys, eh?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: On the contrary, Prime Minister, I hardly know him. In fact I happen to know that he dislikes me. You can ask him yourself this evening if you like. I don't like him very much either
Jim Hacker: Honestly?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: On my word of honour.
Jim Hacker: You have nothing to gain from this preferment?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: How could I have?
Jim Hacker: In that case, well done. Helpful, impartial advice. The best traditions of the civil service.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Yes, Prime Minister.

James Hacker: Humphrey, what's a Modernist in the Church of England?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Ah, well, the word "Modernist" is code for non-believer.
James Hacker: You mean an atheist?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: No, Prime Minister. An atheist clergyman couldn't continue to draw his stipend. So, when they stop believing in God, they call themselves "Modernists".
James Hacker: How could the Church of England suggest an atheist as Bishop of Bury St Edmunds?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Well, very easily. The Church of England is primarily a social organization, not a religious one.
James Hacker: Is it?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Oh yes. It's part of the rich social fabric of this country. So bishops need to be the sorts of chaps who speak properly and know which knife and fork to use. The sort of people one can look up to.

James Hacker: So, the ideal candidate
[for a bishopric]
James Hacker: from the Church of England's point of view would be a cross between a socialite, and a socialist.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Precisely.


"Yes Minister: Equal Opportunities (#3.1)" (1982)
James Hacker: That is the last interview I give for a school magazine; she asked some very difficult questions.
Annie Hacker: Not difficult, just innocent. She was assuming there was some moral basis to your activities.
James Hacker: Well, there is.
Annie Hacker: Oh Jim, don't be silly.

Sir Humphrey Appleby: Minister, it takes time to do things 'now'.
James Hacker: The three articles of civil service faith: it takes longer to do things quickly; it's more expensive to do them cheaply; it's more democratic to do them in secret.

[about Hacker's plan to promote more women in the civil service]
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Minister. I have come to the conclusion that you were right.
James Hacker: Are you being serious, Humphrey?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Yes indeed, Minister. I am fully-seized of your ideas and have taken them on board and I am now positively against discrimination against women and positively in favour of positive discrimination in their favour - discriminating discrimination of course.

James Hacker: Sarah tells me this complaint is nonsense.
Bernard Woolley: Oh, fine. So we can CGSM it.
James Hacker: CGSM?
Bernard Woolley: Civil service code. It stands for Consignment of Geriatric Shoe Manufacturers. Load of old cobblers, Minister.
James Hacker: I'm not a civil servant. I shall use my own code. I shall write "round objects".

Bernard Woolley: Remember that letter you wrote "round objects" on? Sir Humphrey has commented on it.
James Hacker: What's he say?
Bernard Woolley: "Who is Round and to what does he object?"


"Yes, Prime Minister: The Patron of the Arts (#2.6)" (1988)
James Hacker: It is to be to a hostile audience of posturing, self-righteous, theatrical drunks.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: The House of Commons you mean?

The Arts Minister: These theaters and art galleries and museums and opera houses they are all listed buildings. We have to maintain them anyway. And they are totally useless. So we put in central heating and a caretaker to make it look as if we're preserving the Arts.
James Hacker: Let's sell them.
The Arts Minister: We can't. They're ancient monuments.
James Hacker: Like the Cabinet.

James Hacker: Humphrey, I need help.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: You do. You do?
James Hacker: I've got to make a speech. It could be very embarrassing.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Oh, Prime Minister. Your speeches are nothing like as embarrassing as they used to be.
James Hacker: I didn't say the speech would be embarrassing, I said the occassion could.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Ah, yes, yes, indeed. Why?
James Hacker: It's to be to a hostile audience of posturing, self-righteous, theatrical drunks.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: The House of Commons, you mean?

Actress: What was the last play you went to?
James Hacker: Last play? I think it'd be Hamlet.
Actress: Who's?
James Hacker: Shakespeare's.

James Hacker: Nobody would be able to call me a philistine then.
Dorothy Wainwright: Not unless they knew you.


"Yes Minister: The Compassionate Society (#2.1)" (1981)
James Hacker: Fortunately, Bernard, most of our journalists are so incompetent they'd have the gravest difficulty in finding out that today is Wednesday.
Bernard Woolley: It's actually Thursday.

[discussing a hospital that has 500 administrators, but no doctors, nurses, or patients]
James Hacker: You think it's functioning now?
Mrs. Rogers: Minister, it's one of the best run hospitals in the country. It's up for the Florence Nightingale Award.
James Hacker: And what, pray, is that?
Mrs. Rogers: It's won by the most hygienic hospital in the area.

[Jim Hacker has just learned about a brand new hospital with a staff of 500 administrators, but no doctors, nurses or patients from his driver]
James Hacker: Humphrey I'm appauled!
Sir Humphrey Appleby: So am I, minister!
James Hacker: The incompetence of it all. The stupidity!
Sir Humphrey Appleby: I agree. I can't think what came over you!

[last lines]
James Hacker: Tell the press that it was *my* decision, and that everybody's happy.
Bernard Woolley: Uh, do, do you want to give them a quote, Minister?
James Hacker: Oh, why not. Say it was a tough decision, but a necessary one... if Britain is to retain the name of, um...
Sir Humphrey Appleby: The compassionate society, Minister?
James Hacker: Thank you, Humphrey. The compassionate society. You got that, Bernard?
Bernard Woolley: Oh, uh, yes, Minister.


"Yes, Prime Minister: A Conflict of Interest (#2.4)" (1987)
Sir Humphrey: The only way to understand the Press is to remember that they pander to their readers' prejudices.
Jim Hacker: Don't tell me about the Press. I know *exactly* who reads the papers. The Daily Mirror is read by the people who think they run the country. The Guardian is read by people who think they *ought* to run the country. The Times is read by the people who actually *do* run the country. The Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country. The Financial Times is read by people who *own* the country. The Morning Star is read by people who think the country ought to be run by *another* country. The Daily Telegraph is read by the people who think it is.
Sir Humphrey: Prime Minister, what about the people who read The Sun?
Bernard Woolley: Sun readers don't care *who* runs the country - as long as she's got big tits.

[discussing a potential appointment]
James Hacker: Would you recommend him?
Sir Desmond Glazebrook: No.
James Hacker: Why not?
Sir Desmond Glazebrook: City's a funny place, you know, Prime Minister. If you spill the beans you open up a whole can of worms. I mean, how can you let sleeping dogs lie if you let the cat out of the bag? Bring in a new broom and if you're not very careful you find you've thrown the baby out with the bathwater. If you change horses in the middle of the stream, next thing you know you're up the creek without a paddle.
James Hacker: And then the balloon goes up.
Sir Desmond Glazebrook: Obviously. They hit you for six. An own goal in fact.

James Hacker: Desmond Glazebrook as governor? I mean, he's such a fool. He only talks in clichés. He can talk in clichés till the cows come home.

Jim Hacker: Dorothy, I'm not at all happy about my speech for the party conference. It contains absolutely no good news.
Dorothy Wainwright: We couldn't think of any.


"Yes Minister: The Right to Know (#1.6)" (1980)
James Hacker: The department prepared this. "No loss of amenity" it says.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: No, Minister, not no loss of amenity; no *significant* loss of amenity.
James Hacker: Well, same thing.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: On the contrary, there is all the difference in the world. 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 appreciate the significance of significant.

Sir Humphrey Appleby: Minister, I have something to say to you which you may not like to hear.
James Hacker: Why should today be any different?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Minister, the traditional allocation of executive responsibilities has always been so determined as to liberate the Ministerial incumbent from the administrative minutiae by devolving the managerial functions to those whose experience and qualifications have better formed them for the performance of such humble offices, thereby releasing their political overlords for the more onerous duties and profound deliberations that are the inevitable concomitant of their exalted position.
James Hacker: Now, whatever made you think I wouldn't want to hear that?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Well, I thought it might upset you.
James Hacker: How could it? I didn't understand a single word. Humphrey, for God's sake, for once in your life put it into plain English.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: If you insist. You are *not* here to run this Department.
James Hacker: I beg your pardon.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: You are *not* here to run this Department.
James Hacker: I think I am. The people think I am, too.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: With respect, Minister, you are... they are wrong
James Hacker: And who does run this Department?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: I do.

Sir Humphrey Appleby: Minister, I have something to say to you which you may not like to hear.
James Hacker: Why should today be any different?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Minister, the traditional allocation of executive responsibilities has always been so determined as to liberate the ministerial incumbent from the administrative minutiae by devolving the managerial functions to those whose experience and qualifications have better formed them for the performance of such humble offices, thereby releasing their political overlords for the more onerous duties and profound deliberations which are the inevitable concomitant of their exalted position.
James Hacker: I wonder what made you think I didn't want to hear that?

Lucy Hacker: It's because badgers don't have votes, isn't it?
James Hacker: Eh?
Lucy Hacker: If the badgers had votes, you wouldn't be exterminating them. No, you'd be up at Haywood Spinney, shaking paws and kissing cubs, ingratiating yourself the way you always do!
Annie Hacker: Lucy, that's not a very nice thing to say.
Lucy Hacker: It's true, isn't it?
Annie Hacker: Yes, but Daddy's in politics. He has to be ingratiating.


"Yes Minister: Big Brother (#1.4)" (1980)
Sir Humphrey Appleby: It must be hard for a political adviser to understand this, but I'm merely a civil servant. I simply do as I am instructed by my master.
James Hacker: What happens when a Minister is a woman, what'll you call her?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Yes, that is rather interesting. We sought an answer to that point when I was Principal Private Secretary and Dr. Edith Summerskill - as she then was - was appointed Minister in 1947. I didn't quite like to refer to her as my mistress.
James Hacker: What was the answer?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Oh, we're still waiting for it.

[Hacker is about to ask for advice from his predecessor, a member of the Opposition party]
James Hacker: The Opposition aren't the opposition.
Annie Hacker: No of course not, silly of me. They're just called the opposition.
James Hacker: They're only the opposition in exile. The Civil Service is the opposition in residence.

James Hacker: Look Tom. You were in office for years. You know all the civil service tricks.
Tom Sargent - Opposition MP: Oh no, not all old boy. Just a few hundred.
James Hacker: How do you defeat them? How do you make them do something they don't want to do?
Tom Sargent - Opposition MP: My dear fellow. If I knew that I wouldn't be in opposition.

[Hacker has just hung up after calling Sir Humphrey at 2 a.m. about a paper about the national database]
James Hacker: Oh, damn. I meant to tell him to come and see me about it before cabinet.
Annie Hacker: Don't ring him now!
James Hacker: No. Perhaps you're right. It is a bit late.
Annie Hacker: Give him another ten minutes...


"Yes, Prime Minister: Man Overboard (#2.1)" (1987)
James Hacker: May I remind the Secretary of State for Defence that every problem is also an opportunity?
Several Ministers: Hear, hear!
Sir Humphrey Appleby: I think that the Secretary of State for Defence fears that this may create some insoluble opportunities.

James Hacker: You know what loyalty in a cabinet minister means? It means that his fear of losing his own job is slightly greater then his hope of pinching mine.

James Hacker: It's envy, you know. Dudley is consumed with envy.
Bernard Woolley: It's one of the seven Dudley sins.

James Hacker: I occasionally have confidential press briefings, but I have never leaked.
Bernard Woolley: Oh, that's another of those irregular verbs, isn't it? I give confidential press briefings; you leak; he's been charged under Section 2a of the Official Secrets Act.


"Yes Minister: The Death List (#2.3)" (1981)
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Surveillance is an indispensable weapon in the battle against organized crime.
James Hacker: You're not describing politicians as organized crime?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: No... well, disorganized crime too of course.

[a journalist is trying to phrase Hacker's leaking of information to the press]
Walter Fowler: How would you like to be an informed source?
James Hacker: OK... informed source.
Walter Fowler: It's quite a joke really, isn't it?
James Hacker: What?
Walter Fowler: Describing someone as informed when his Permanent Secretary is Sir Humphrey Appleby.

[a very successful petition on electronic surveillance has just become politically damaging]
Bernard Woolley: Shall I file it?
James Hacker: Shall you file it? Shred it!
Bernard Woolley: Shred it?
James Hacker: Nobody must ever be able to find it again.
Bernard Woolley: In that case, Minister, I think it's best I file it.

James Hacker: This can't go on, Humphrey!
Sir Humphrey Appleby: I'm glad you said that, minister, because it isn't going to. We have just heard from the Special Branch that your protection is being withdrawn.
James Hacker: Ah, now wait a minute. I... I... I didn't mean... But why?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Well, the police have suffered an acute personnel establishment shortfall.
James Hacker: They what?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: They're short-staffed, so they can no longer continue protecting you.
James Hacker: Short-staffed?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Yes, because of the much more real and dangerous threat to the Soviet Premier at the Chequers meeting tomorrow.
James Hacker: But he's Russian. I'm British.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Well, in fact, minister the special branch have reason to believe the threat to your life has been diminished.
James Hacker: How do they know?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Surveillance. They overheard a conversation.
James Hacker: What did it say?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Oh, I don't think it is of any imp...
James Hacker: Come on, Humphrey, I have a right to know!
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Well, it was a conversation to the effect that 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, that there could be a case for restructuring their action priorities in such a way as to eliminate your liquidation from their immediate agenda.
James Hacker: They said that?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: That was the gist of it.


"Yes Minister: The Quality of Life (#2.6)" (1981)
[On Hacker's planned visit to a inner city farm]
Bill Pritchard: The Sun specifically asked if you could be photographed amongst the donkeys.
James Hacker: I'm not sure about the donkeys. What do you think, Bernard?
Bernard Woolley: Well even if the Sun has no ulterior motive, it will be a gift for Private Eye. You with a crowd of other donkeys. I mean, that's what they would say, Minister. Or: "A meeting of the Inner Cabinet."

[talking about a bank's building plans for a new skyscraper]
James Hacker: I see, it's just profits, isn't it, Sir Desmond?
Sir Desmond Glazebrook: Not just profits, it's profits.
James Hacker: Don't you think of anything but money?
Sir Desmond Glazebrook: No, why?
James Hacker: What about beauty?
Sir Desmond Glazebrook: Beauty? This is a building, not an oil painting.
James Hacker: And the environment?
Sir Desmond Glazebrook: Oh yes, I promise you we'll make sure it is part of the environment. It's bound to be once it's there, isn't it?

James Hacker: After all, Humphrey, who are you serving: God or Mammon?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: I'm serving you, Minister.

James Hacker: This is the greatest disaster of this century, Bernard!
Bernard Woolley: There were two world wars.


"Yes Minister: The Greasy Pole (#2.4)" (1981)
James Hacker: This is a democracy, and the people don't like it.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: The people are ignorant and misguided.
James Hacker: Humphrey, it was the people who elected me!
[Humphrey nods]

Sir Humphrey Appleby: A minister can do what he likes.
James Hacker: It's the people's will. I am their leader. I must follow them.

James Hacker: How does it feel, Richard, to move from the Commons to the Lords?
R A Crichton: Like moving from animals to the vegetables.

James Hacker: Ministers are not experts. They are chosen expressedly because they know nothing.


"Yes Minister: Doing the Honours (#2.2)" (1981)
[talking about honours and the abbreviations of the Order of St Michael and St George: CMG, KCMG and GCMG]
Bernard Woolley: Of course in the service, CMG stands for Call Me God. And KCMG for Kindly Call Me God.
James Hacker: What does GCMG stand for?
Bernard Woolley: God Calls Me God.

James Hacker: When did a civil servant last refuse an honour?
Bernard Woolley: Well I think there was somebody in the Treasury that refused a Knighthood.
James Hacker: Good God. When?
Bernard Woolley: I think it was 1496.
James Hacker: Why?
Bernard Woolley: He'd already got one.

Sir Humphrey Appleby: Minister, if you block honours pending economies, you might create a dangerous precedent.
James Hacker: You mean that if we do the right thing this time, we might have to do the right thing again next time. It seems on that philosophy, nothing would ever get done at all.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: On the contrary, many, many things must be done...
Sir Humphrey Appleby, James Hacker: [together] but nothing must be done for the first time.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: No, no, Minister. What I mean is that I am fully seized of your aims and of course I will do my utmost to see that they are put into practice.
James Hacker: If you would.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: And to that end, I recommend that we set up an interdepartmental committee with fairly broad terms of reference so that at the end of the day we'll be in the position to think through the various implications and arrive at a decision based on long-term considerations rather than rush prematurely into precipitate and possibly ill-conceived action which might well have unforeseen repercussions.
James Hacker: You mean no.

James Hacker: I'm not going to approve any honour to any civil servant in this department who hasn't earned it.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: What do you mean "earned it"?
James Hacker: I mean "earned it". "Done something to deserve it".
Sir Humphrey Appleby: [indignantly] But that's unheard of!


"Yes Minister: The Economy Drive (#1.3)" (1980)
[Discussing property owned by the Department of Administrative Affairs]
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Ladysmith House is top secret.
James Hacker: How can a seven storey building in Walthamstow be top secret?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Where there's a will, there's a way.

James Hacker: How many people have we got in this department?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Er... in this department? Oh. Very small.
James Hacker: Small? How small?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: I don't know...
James Hacker: 2,000? 3,000?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: [Counts on his fingers] Um. About 23,000 I think, Minister.

James Hacker: It is very popular with the voters, Humphrey. Gives them at chance to help us to finds ways to stop wasting government money.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: The public doesn't know anything about wasting government money. We're the experts.


"Yes, Prime Minister: Power to the People (#2.5)" (1988)
Sir Humphrey Appleby: To put it simply, Prime Minister, certain informal discussions took place, involving a full and frank exchange of views, out of which there arose a series of proposals which on examination proved to indicate certain promising lines of enquiry which when pursued led to the realization that the alternative courses of action might in fact, in certain circumstances, be susceptible of discreet modification, leading to a reappraisal of the original areas of difference and pointing the way to encouraging possibilities of compromise and cooperation which if bilaterally implemented with appropriate give and take on both sides might if the climate were right have a reasonable possibility at the end of the day of leading, rightly or wrongly, to a mutually satisfactory resolution.
James Hacker: What the hell are you talking about?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: We did a deal.

James Hacker: You know that Agnes Moorhouse woman?
Annie Hacker: Yes.
James Hacker: I told Humphrey to have a word with her.
Annie Hacker: That sounds like an interesting experiment.
James Hacker: He says it went quite well, but he didn't want to talk about it very much and he had four whiskeys in ten minutes.

James Hacker: [after Dorothy has just explained a brilliant scheme to reform the government of Britain] And I shall be the great reformer. Hacker's Reform Bill. I shall introduce it myself. 'The power of this country does not lie in offices and institutions, it lies in the stout hearts and strong wills of the yeomen of Britain...
Annie Hacker: Women have the vote too!
James Hacker: The yeowomen of Britain... yeopersons... yeopeople... No, the people of this island race, on their broad and wise shoulders...
Annie Hacker: And you can't have wise shoulders!
James Hacker: On their broad shoulders, wise hearts, heads, on their heads lies our destiny. We must give back power to the people.' And I shall be the one to introduce this, um... What shall I call this new scheme?
Dorothy Wainwright: Democracy?


"Yes Minister: Party Games (#3.8)" (1984)
[the Home Secretary has been forced to resign after a drink-driving incident]
James Hacker: What will happen to him?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Well, I gather he was as drunk as a lord. So, after a discreet interval, they'll probably make him one.

Bernard Woolley, James Hacker, Annie Hacker: Have you heard the news?
Bernard Woolley, James Hacker, Annie Hacker: Yes!

Bernard Woolley: [Discussing possible reasons for the Prime Minister's early retirement] Minister, I've heard something quite different.
James Hacker: What?
Bernard Woolley: That there is £1 million worth of diamonds from South Africa in a Downing Street safe, but of course it's only a rumour.
James Hacker: Is that true?
Bernard Woolley: Oh, yes.
James Hacker: So, there ARE all those diamonds in Downing Street!
Bernard Woolley: Are there?
James Hacker: You just said there were.
Bernard Woolley: No, I didn't.
James Hacker: Yes, you did! You said you'd heard this rumour, I said is it true, you said yes!
Bernard Woolley: I said yes, it was true that it was a rumour.
James Hacker: You said you heard it was true!
Bernard Woolley: No, I said it was true that I heard it!
Annie Hacker: I'm sorry to cut into this important discussion, but do you believe it?
James Hacker: I believe I heard it. Oh, about the diamonds. No.
Annie Hacker: Is it impossible?
James Hacker: No, but it's never been officially denied. First rule in politics: never believe anything until it's officially denied.


"Yes Minister: The Official Visit (#1.2)" (1980)
James Hacker: When am I going to do all this correspondence?
Bernard Woolley: You do realize you don't actually have to, Minister.
James Hacker: Don't I?
Bernard Woolley: Not if you don't want to. We can draft an official reply.
James Hacker: What's an official reply?
Bernard Woolley: It just says "The Minister has asked me to thank you for your letter"; then we say something like "The matter is under consideration", or even, if we feel so inclined, "under active consideration."
James Hacker: What's the difference?
Bernard Woolley: Well, 'under consideration' means we've lost the file; 'under active consideration' means we're trying to find it.

[Discussing response to an inflammatory speech by a foreign diplomat]
James Hacker: Humphrey, do you think it's a good idea to issue a statement?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Well, Minister, in practical terms we have the usual six options. One, do nothing. Two, issue a statement deploring the speech. Three, lodge an official protest. Four, cut off aid. Five, break off diplomatic relations; and six, declare war.
James Hacker: Which should we do?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Well, if we do nothing we implicitly agree with the speech. Two: if we issue a statement we'll 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 contracts. And six: if we declare war it might just look as though we were over-reacting.
Martin - Foreign Secretary: In the old days we'd have sent in a gunboat.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Yes.
James Hacker: I suppose that is absolutely out of the question.


"Yes, Prime Minister: A Diplomatic Incident (#2.3)" (1987)
James Hacker: Don't we ever get our own way with the French?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Well, sometimes.
James Hacker: When was the last time?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Battle of Waterloo, 1815.

[Bernard Woolley enters the PM's office carrying two files - one considerably larger than the other]
James Hacker: [indicating the smaller file] What on Earth is that, Bernard?
Bernard Woolley: It's the Channel Tunnel file, minister.
James Hacker: What about the other one?
Bernard Woolley: That's the puppy file.


"Yes, Prime Minister: Official Secrets (#2.2)" (1987)
Jim Hacker: Bernard, just because people ask you questions what makes you think you have to answer them?
Bernard Woolley: Well, I don't know...
Jim Hacker: You've never answered my questions just because I asked them.


"Yes, Prime Minister: One of Us (#1.8)" (1986)
Geoffrey - Director General MI5: You could hold an inquiry into Sir Humphrey.
James Hacker: Could I?
Geoffrey - Director General MI5: But I wouldn't recommend it. Not at this stage. Things might get out. We don't want any more irresponsible ill-informed press speculation.
James Hacker: Even if it's accurate.
Geoffrey - Director General MI5: Oh, *especially* if it's accurate. There's nothing worse than *accurate* irresponsible ill-informed press speculation.


"Yes Minister: The Challenge (#3.2)" (1982)
Sir Humphrey Appleby: [talking about nuclear fallout shelters] Well, you have the weapons, you must have the shelters.
James Hacker: I sometimes wonder why we need the weapons.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Minister! You're not a unilateralist?
James Hacker: I sometimes wonder, you know.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Well then you must resign from the government!
James Hacker: Ah, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. I'm not *that* unilateralist! Anyway, the Americans will always protect us from the Russians, won't they?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Russians? Who's talking about the Russians?
James Hacker: Well, the independent deterrent.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: It's to protect us against the French!


"Yes Minister: Jobs for the Boys (#1.7)" (1980)
[last lines]
Frank Weisel: What about my quango paper, then?
James Hacker: Invaluable. Take it with you.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: I'll, um, I'll keep a copy if I may. On the files.
James Hacker: With the Solihull report?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Yes, Minister.


"Yes Minister: The Whisky Priest (#3.6)" (1982)
James Hacker: [Last lines]
[Drunk]
James Hacker: I'll tell you about government. You must always do the right thing. But, you must never let anybody catch you trying to do it. Because doing right's wrong, right?
Annie Hacker: Haven't you had enough, darling?
James Hacker: Still some left in the bottle. No, the thing about government is principle, and the principle is you mustn't rock the boat, because if you do, all the little consciences will fall out. And you must all hang together. Because if you don't hang together, you'll be hanged separately. I'm hanged if I'll be hanged! You know, politics is about helping others. Even if that means helping terrorists. Terrorists are others, aren't they? Not us, are they? No. And you must always follow your conscience, but you must always know where you're going. So you can't follow your conscience. Cause it may not be going the same way you are.
[Picking up the whiskey bottle]
James Hacker: Empty... like me. I'm a moral vacuum.
Annie Hacker: Oh, cheer up, darling. Nothing good comes out of Whitehall. You did what you could.
James Hacker: You don't really mean that.
Annie Hacker: I do.
James Hacker: No, I'm just like Humphrey and all the rest of them.
Annie Hacker: Now that's certainly not true.
James Hacker: No?
Annie Hacker: He's lost his sense of right and wrong. You've still got yours.
James Hacker: [Depressed] Have I?
Annie Hacker: It's just that you don't use it much. You're a sort of whiskey priest. You do at least know when you've done the wrong thing.
James Hacker: Whiskey priest?
Annie Hacker: That's right.
James Hacker: Good. Let's open another bottle.
Annie Hacker: We haven't got one.
James Hacker: That's what you think.
[He opens one of the red boxes beside him and pulls out a full bottle of whiskey, much to Annie's bemusement]
James Hacker: Who said nothing good ever came out of Whitehall? You want one?
Annie Hacker: Yes, Minister.


"Yes Minister: The Bed of Nails (#3.5)" (1982)
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Formulating policy means making choices. Once you do that, you please the people that you favour, but infuriate everybody else. One vote gained, ten lost. If you give the job to the road services, the rail board and unions will scream. Give it to the railways, the road lobby will massacre you. Cut British Airways investment plans, they'll hold a devastating press conference that same day.
James Hacker: But I'm going to be Transport Supremo!
Sir Humphrey Appleby: I believe the Civil Service vernacular is Transport Muggins!
James Hacker: No, the Prime Minister has asked me to undertake this task, this necessary duty. After all, we must all endeavour to do our duty. Furthermore, Sir Mark thinks there may be votes in it. And if so, I don't intend to look a gift horse in the mouth.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: I put it to you, Minister, that you are looking a Trojan horse in the mouth!
James Hacker: If we look closely at this gift horse, we'll find it full of Trojans?
Bernard Woolley: If you had looked a Trojan horse in the mouth, Minister, you'd have found Greeks inside. Well the point is, it was the Greeks who gave the Trojan horse to the Trojans, so technically, it wasn't a Trojan horse at all, it was a Greek horse. Hence the tag "Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes", which you'll recall, is usually and somewhat inaccurately translated as "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts". Or doubtless you would have recalled had you not attended the LSE.
James Hacker: Greek tags are all very well, but can we stick to the point?
Bernard Woolley: Sorry, Greek tags?
James Hacker: "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts". I suppose the EEC equivalent would be, "Beware Greeks bearing an olive oil surplus"!
Bernard Woolley: No, the point is, Minister, just as the Trojan horse was Greek, what you call a Greek tag is, in fact, Latin. It's obvious, really: The Greeks would never suggest bewaring of themselves, if one can use such a participle, and it's clearly Latin not because "Timeo" ends in "o", as the Greek first person also ends in "o". No, there is a Greek word "Timao" meaning "I honour", but the "os" ending is a nominative singular termination of a second declension in Greek and an accusative plural in Latin, though actually Danaos is not only the Greek for Greek, it's also the Latin for Greek.