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Sir Humphrey Appleby: There are essentially six options. One, ignore it, two, file a protest, three, issue a statement condemning it, four, cut off aid, five, sever diplomatic relations, six, declare war. Now, if we ignore it, we tacitly acknowledge it, if we file a protest it'll be ignored, if we issue a statement it will seem weak, we can't cut off aid because we're not giving any, if we sever relations we risk losing the oil contract and if we declare war... people might just think we're overreacting.

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: But if that's true, why is the foreign office pushing for higher membership?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: I'd have thought that was obvious. The more members an organization has, the more arguments it can stir up. The more futile and impotent it becomes.
James Hacker: What appalling cynicism.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: We call it diplomacy, Minister.

[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.



( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 15th, 2006 09:43 am (UTC)
Nick, i can't remember if i sent you these extracts.
Major changes to the structure of the European Union could go ahead without being considered in a referendum, Geoff Hoon says in an interview with the FT today. The Europe minister says it is too early to tell how far-reaching the reforms to EU decision-making might be and whether they would require approval by voters in a referendum. But he warned that the constitutional issue would inevitably return to the fore "at some point".

Labour MP Gisela Stuart participates in an Open Europe debate on 'The European Union: where next?'

European Union Sub-Committee C (Foreign Affairs, Defence and Development Policy) (10.45am).
Subject: Current developments in European defence.
Witnesses: Dr Sarah Beaver, Andrew Mathewson, Ministry of Defence.

Jun. 15th, 2006 12:04 pm (UTC)
ah, great stuff. Takes me back. I alwasy think it got less funny when he became Prime Minister. Though not EU-related, did you ever catch Armando Ianucci's excellent The Thick of It (originally BBC4)?
Jun. 15th, 2006 12:24 pm (UTC)
Alas, we don't get BBC4 here!
Jun. 15th, 2006 03:31 pm (UTC)
I watched it backwards, but the old episodes, like 'Greasy Pole' are sheer genius!
Jun. 15th, 2006 02:26 pm (UTC)
The Public Televeion Network stations have been playing both "Minister: series as part as their "Britcom Saturday Block"...
I love both series, but I have studied British Gov't when in scholl, so I "get" a lot of it. I am not so sure of those who tune in to watch the other shows in the same block which is usually along the lines of "Vicar of Dibly" "Last of the Summer Wine" and "My Hero".
I might be being unfair though...
The station *does* play Blackadder... late at night, and not always in order...
Jun. 15th, 2006 02:28 pm (UTC)
Apologies for such atrocious spelling on last post...combination of typing on laptop at odd angle in the dark and forgetting to hit Spell Check
Jun. 15th, 2006 03:25 pm (UTC)
Standard Foreign Office response...
Sir Richard: Standard Foreign Office response in a time of crisis. In Stage One we say that nothing is going to happen.
Sir Humphrey: Stage Two, we say something may be going to happen but we should do nothing about it.
Sir Richard: Stage Three, we say that maybe we should do something about it, but there's nothing we can do.
Sir Humphrey: Stage Four, we say maybe there is something we could have done, but it's too late now.

- A Victory for Democracy
Jun. 15th, 2006 04:44 pm (UTC)
The first one could explain a lot about recent US foreign policy...
Jun. 15th, 2006 05:59 pm (UTC)
I had a very pleasant chuckle reading this over lunch whilst at work. Thank you.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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