Bernard Woolley: “I’ll just say, ‘The Minister has asked me to thank you for your letter’ and something like ‘The matter is under consideration’, or even ‘under active consideration’.”
Jim 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.”
Jim Hacker: I’d like a new chair. I hate swivel chairs.
Bernard Woolley: It used to be said there were two kinds of chairs to go with two kinds of Minister: one sort folds up instantly; the other sort goes round and round in circles.
Bernard Woolley: Well, take the Foreign Office. First you get the CMG, then the KCMG, then the GCMG; the Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George, Knight Commander of St Michael and St George, Knight Grand Cross of St Michael and St George. Of course, in the Service, CMG stands for “Call Me God,” and KCMG for “Kindly Call Me God.”
Jim Hacker: [chuckles] What does GCMG stand for?
Bernard Woolley: “God Calls Me God.”
A special tribute to Derek Fawlds (1937 – 2020 pictured left in above photo), who so memorably played the part of Principal Private Secretary Sir Bernard Wooley in Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister (1980 – 88) Though Fawlds had a long and successful acting career, it was his role in the sharpest of political satires that I’ll remember most. In fact, the show was one of my earliest blog posts.