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- A -

Act of Parliament
Legislation that has passed the Houses of Parliament. Mentioned in the YPM episode A Diplomatic Incident with regards to passing an Act of Parliament to let the French puppy into Britain without holding it into 6-months quarantine at Heathrow.
 
Administration
Another word for the ruling government or Cabinet. Also referring to the work of the Civil Service.
 
Administrative Order
Decision by the government that does not need to be laid before the House. In some predefined cases Administrative Orders are allowed to speed up government action and prevent overflowing the House with work. An Administrative Order is signed in the YM episode The Quality of Life by Jim Hacker were he enables the Inland Revenue Service to claim "unused land" in Tower Hamlets for parking space. The "unused land" however does house a City Farm for school children.
 
Amendment
Proposed change in legislation.
 
Assistant Principal
Rank in the civil service.
 
Assistant Secretary
Rank in the civil service. In the YM episode Party Games we learn that the usual Christmas gift for an Assistant Secretary is a bottle of sherry.
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- B -

Backbencher
Those Members of Parliament that are not part of the government, but are member of the party in government. They are supposed to support the government. They do not sit in the front seats of the Houses of Parliament (these are reserved for ministers and the PM) and that's how they got their name.
 
Bennite Solution
Term that refers to a radical left-wing type of solution to a problem. Named after Tony Benn, a radical MP in the House.
 
Birthday Honours
The birthday of the Queen is usually chosen as the moment to award honours. In the YPM episode A Real Partnership we learn Sir Arnold is looking forward to the birthday honours, thus hinting to Sir Humphrey he would like to get one.
 
Blue Forms
Questionnaire forms that the DAA sends out to Councils. Mentioned in the YM episode The Skeleton in the Cupboard. South Derbyshire Council does not return their blue forms and for this reason Sir Humphrey wants disciplinary action against South Derbyshire.
 
By-Election
Election which is held for one seat in Parliament only, whenever there is a vacancy (for instance, if a Member of Parliament resigns or dies). In the YM episode The Death List the purpose of the International Freedom Army assassination plans was to force a by-election (for Jim Hackers seat).
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- C -

Cabinet
All the Cabinet Ministers and the Prime Minister together. Also often used to indicate a meeting of the cabinet (e.g. "The Minister has Cabinet at 10").
 
Cabinet Committee on Europe
Committee of the Cabinet that deals with European (EEC) affairs. This committee also was involved in the discussion about Jim Hacker as the next British EEC Commissioner in the YM episode The Devil You Know.
 
Cabinet Economic Committee
Cabinet Committee on economic affairs mentioned in the YPM episode One of Us.
 
Cabinet Office Pass
See Security Pass.
 
Cabinet Reshuffle
See Reshuffle, Cabinet
 
Cabinet Secretary
See Secretary of the Cabinet
 
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
One on a long list of people that were asked to formulate and implement an Integrated National Transport Policy. He however recommended someone else. This is the subject of the YM episode The Bed of Nails.
 
Chancellor of the Exchequer
Official title of the Cabinet Minister who is heading up the Treasury department. In the YM episode Party Games Eric is the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and he vaguely promises this department to Jim Hacker if Jim supports Eric to become PM. When one speaks of the Chancellor within the government, one usually refers to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
 
Chef-du-Division
Rank in the EEC Civil Service, just below Director-General.
 
Chief of Defence Staff
The most senior officer that heads up the Defence staff, consisting of the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force and the Army. In the YPM episode Man Overboard General Howard has this position.
 
Chief Scientific Advisor
Appears in the YPM episode The Grand Design. He advises Jim Hacker, who has just become PM, to cancel the order for a new nuclear missile (Trident) and instead use the money for a large conventional army. Sir Humphrey doesn't consider the Chief Scientific Advisor as "one of us" because he speaks with an Austrian accent.
 
Chief Whip
A government officer who is also an MP. It is his job to get everybody to vote in Parliament the way his party wants, even if it is unpopular and the backbenchers are rebelling. There are different levels of whipping: One says "please vote this way on this issue", another says "If you don't vote this way on this issue, there may be sanctions against you". A 'three-line whip' is where the Chief Whip and all his officers (whips) chase everybody up to make them appear to vote and utter dire threats to make them vote the right way for the party. There are whips for all parties, but we only usually get to hear about the ones for the majority party. Vic Gould is the Chief Whip of the Party during the first YM season. In the YM episode Party Games we see Jeffrey as the Chief Whip.
 
Civil Service
General term for all employees in local as well as national government. The hierarchy in the civil service is as follows (from high to low):
  1. Permanent Secretary
  2. Deputy Secretary
  3. Under Secretary
  4. Assistant Secretary
  5. Senior Principal
  6. Principal
  7. Assistant Principal
  8. Senior Executive Officer
  9. Higher Executive Officer
  10. Executive Officer
  11. Administrative Officer
  12. Administrative Assistant
 
Clean Air Act
Legislation that was introduced in Britain in 1952 after smog killed many people. Mentioned in the YPM episode The Smoke Screen by Jim Hacker.
 
Commissioner
Member of the EEC Commission, the highest executive board in the European Economic Community. Each EEC country has one Commissioner in the EEC Commission. Jim Hacker is asked to be the next British Commissioner in the YM episode The Devil You Know. In the YM episode Party Games we see the Commissioner for Agriculture (a Frenchman named Maurice) appear regarding the Euro sausage Directive.
 
Communiqué, Final
Public statement released after important events such as conferences, contracts signed, etc. They are supposed to inform the public and press about the results. However, as Sir Humphrey points out in the YM episode The Moral Dimension, most Final Communiqués are written before the event to get approval of all the involved departments. The Final Communiqué therefore seldom bears any resemblance with what is actually said, but more acts as an exit visa to get past the press corps.
 
Confidential Document
A document that appears in the paper today, as stated by Bernard Woolley in the YM episode The Greasy Pole. This better than a Restricted document that appeared in the papers yesterday.
 
Constituency
Political district within Great Britain. Each constituency has its own MP in the House, that is supposed to represent the constituency's interest in politics and government.
 
Constituency Agent
Party member that is supposed to help an MP keeping contact with his voters (constituency). In the YPM episode The Key we learn that Jim Hacker has an constituency agent.
 
Correspondence Secretary
Civil servant who is responsible for the correspondence. In the YM episode Party Games we learn that the usual Christmas gift for a Correspondence Secretary is a large box of House of Commons mints.
 
Creative Inertia
Term used by civil servants for the stalling technique they are using. This stalling technique comes in five stage, regardless of the subject:
1. The administration is very new and there are a lot of thing to be getting on with.
2. Is this the right way to achieve it?
3. This is not the right time, because…. (all sorts of reasons)
4. The policy has run into difficulties:
        a. Technical
        b. Political
        c. Legal
5. [After 3 years] We’re getting close to the general elections, are you sure you can get this policy through?
 
Crown, The
Mentioned in the YM episode Party Games. It refers to the official head of the government: the Queen or King of Great Britain.
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- D -

Deputy Leader
The vice-PM who is acting on behalf of the PM if he is abroad or ill. The Deputy Leader is also the first in line of succession to become Prime Minister (although this is no guarantee). In the YM episode Party Games we learn that Ray (Home Secretary) was the Deputy Leader until he had to resign for drunken driving.
 
Deputy Secretary
Rank in the Civil Service between Undersecretary and Permanent Secretary. Of the 150 Deputy Secretaries in the Civil Service only 4 are women, as is mentioned in the YM episode Equal Opportunities. See Civil Service.
 
Detente
State of armed peace between the West and the Soviet Union during the late 1960's and early 1970's. Contrary to the beginning of the Cold War, during Detente both sides agreed that there should not be any (open) strategy to improve their position. It's aim was to create stability by a status quo. Detente is mentioned in the YPM episode Official Secrets.
 
Diary Secretary
A civil servant whose main responsibility is keeping the diary of someone in government. In the YM episode Party Games we learn that the usual Christmas gift for a Diary Secretary is a large box of House of Commons mints.
 
Directive
Document of the European Economic Community that provides guidelines for legislation. A directive is aimed at harmonising the legislation in the EEC countries. Jim Hacker is confronted with a draft directive in the YM episode The Devil You Know.
 
Director-General
Highest Civil Service rank in the EEC. Comparable with a Permanent Secretary in the British Civil Service. Mentioned in the YM episode The Devil You Know.
 
Disposal Squad
Term used by Jim Hacker in the YM episode The Compassionate Society. A disposal squad is an inquiry that will exonerate the department.
 
Division, The
Refers to the Division Bell, that calls every MP to the House to vote. Mentioned in the YM episode Doing the Honours.
 
Draft
A government report that is not ready for outside publication. Drafts can be redrafted if the minister is not satisfied with them, as Jim Hacker finds out in the YM episode The Writing on the Wall. Draft is also a name for a board game, commonly played on the back of chess boards.
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- E -

Employment Trends Questionnaire
Questionnaire send out by the DAA as mentioned in the YM episode The Skeleton in the Cupboard.
 
End User Certificate
Certificate that is necessary to export arms to foreign customers. The end user certificate makes sure (well it ought to) that the arms do not go to people or countries that are on a black list. Mentioned in the YM episode The Whisky Priest.
 
Environmental Administration Act
Legislation that deals with the administration of environmental issues. Under Section 7 subsection 3 of this act Jim Hacker signs an Administrative Order to allow the Inland Revenue service to claim "unused land" in Tower Hamlets for parking space. The "unused land" however does house a City Farm for school children. This happens in the YM episode The Quality of Life.
 
Europass
A European identity card that the EEC wants to issue to all European citizens. Featured in the YM episode The Writing on the Wall. Introducing this card in Great Britain is political suicide according to Jim Hacker. Bernard Woolley then suggests to call it Euroclub Express to make it more popular.
 
European Convention on Human Rights
Documents which describes the fundamental rights that each human being has. A lot of European countries have translated its contents into their constitution for years, but the United Kingdom has implemented it only since October 2000.
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- F -

First Lady
The wife of the President of a country. Most known is the American First Lady. In the YPM episode A Diplomatic Incident the French First Lady is mentioned.
 
First Lord of the Treasury
Term used by Sir Humphrey in the YPM episode The Ministerial Broadcast referring to the Prime Minister Jim Hacker.
 
First Rule of Politics
In the YM episode Party Games Jim Hacker claims the following is the first rule of politics: "Never believe anything until it has been officially denied".
 
Foreign Secretary
The Minister for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, also known as Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. In the first YM season Martin, a political friend of Jim Hacker, is Foreign Secretary. In the YM episode Party Games Duncan is Foreign Secretary and he vaguely promises Jim Hacker this department if Jim supports Duncan to become PM. In the YPM episode A Victory for Democracy Ronny is Foreign Secretary and perfectly house-trained.
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- G -

Gardening Leave
Term to describe putting a civil servant on non-active pending a (security) inquiry. Sir Humphrey was nearly sent on gardening leave in the YPM episode One of Us
 
General Elections
Elections for the House of Commons. This election is very important because it can mean that the opposition can get a majority vote and form a new government.
 
Gifts, Policy for
In Britain there is a government policy for receiving gifts. If a Minister receives a gift that is worth less than fifty pounds he is allowed to keep it, else it becomes the property of the government. This policy is to prevent Ministers being influenced through valuable gifts. In the YM episode The Moral Dimension this policy is illustrated when Jim Hacker receives a valuable 17th century rosewater jar at the Qumrani reception. Annie Hacker is very disappointed that she will not be allowed to keep it, so Bernard has the jar valued as a copy worth a little less than fifty pounds.
 
Going Walkabout
Term of Sir Humphrey to indicate that a Minister is visiting other civil servants without his permission. This is something very serious because than Sir Humphrey does not know what information the Minister knows. Mentioned in the YM episode The Skeleton in the Cupboard.
 
Gone Native
Politicians jargon to describe that a Minister is acting in service of the Civil Service and not in service of the party or public. In the civil service such a minister is called house-trained.
 
Government Circles
Term referring to people (politicians and civil servants) in the government. Bernard also notes in the YM episode The Skeleton in the Cupboard that because there are no ends in government administration, people are talking about government circles.
 
Government Health Warning
Health warning that is mandatory, like on packages of cigarettes. In the YM episode The Whisky Priest Sir Humphrey jokingly wonders whether there should be government health warnings on arms, like "This gun could seriously damage your health". Changing the government health warning on cigarettes is also mentioned in the YPM episode The Smoke Screen. In that episode Bernard says the Minister for Health wants to change it to "Dying of cancer can seriously damage your health".
 
Government Procedure for Deciding Not To Publish a Report
Strategy explained by Sir Humphrey in the YM episode The Greasy Pole. It list a couple of steps to suppress a document:
- Stage One: You list reasons in terms of the public interest:
  • Security considerations;
  • Results could be misinterpreted;
  • Better to wait for a wider and more detailed study over a longer timescale.

- Stage Two: Discredit the evidence you are not publishing (using press leaks):

  • The evidence leaves some important questions unanswered (presumably the ones that were not asked);
  • Much of the evidence in inconclusive;
  • The figures are open to other interpretations;
  • Certain findings are contradictory;
  • Some of the main conclusions have been questioned (if not, then question them and then they have).

- Stage Three: You undermine the recommendations:

  • Not really a basis for long-term decisions;
  • Not enough information on which to base a valid assessment;
  • Not really a need for a rethink of existing policies;
  • Broadly speaking, it endorses current practice.

- Stage Four: Discredit the writer of the report (of course off the record):

  • The writer is harbouring a grudge against the government;
  • The writer is a publicity seeker;
  • The writer used to be (or wants to be) a consultant for a multinational company;
  • The writer is trying to get a knighthood, chairmanship, vice-chancellorship, etc.
 
Governor of the Bank of England
Basically the chairman of the Bank of England. In the YPM episode A Conflict of Interest the Treasury and Jim Hacker for the first time want to appoint an intelligent and competent man as Governor. But Sir Humphrey disagrees and makes sure that a completely opposite man (Sir Desmond Glazebrook) is appointed.
 
Great Reform Act
Legislation of 1832 that reformed the British political system. It redistributed constituencies, giving the middle class and cities like Birmingham more political power. The electorate was increased by 57% (to 217,000 people). The Great Reform Act is mentioned by Jim Hacker in the YPM episode Power to the People. He dreams his plans to reform local government can equal or surpass the Great Reform Act.
 
Guthrie Report
Top secret report on security practices in the British government. This report however appears in the magazine Private Eye, where it reveals that Jim Hacker has been under electronic surveillance during his time in opposition. Featured in the YM episode The Death List.
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- H -

Hacker's Grand Design
Plan that is based upon canceling the order for a new nuclear missile (Trident) and using the money to build a large conventional army. Also conscription is re-introduced. This will solve Britain's defence, unemployment and educational problems in one stroke. Although the terms suggest Jim Hacker came up with the plan, it was actually the Chief Scientific Advisor that proposed it. Of course, Sir Humphrey is not in favour and does everything to block it. The plan is first mentioned in the YPM episode The Grand Design. Jim Hacker also calls it a New Deal for Britain, while the Chief Scientific Advisor originally called it National Service.
 
Hacker's Interviewing Techniques
Techniques for public interviews as listed by Jim Hacker in the YPM episode The Tangled Web (Sir Humphrey calls these interviewing tricks):
  • If the interviewer says that lots of people want to know about a certain issue, ask him to name six. He will never be able to remember more than three.
  • Attack one word in the question. For instance frequently: "What do you mean frequently?"
  • Attack the interviewer: "You clearly haven't read the White Paper yourself."
  • Ask a question back: "That's an interesting question. Now let me ask you a question."
Hacker's Reform Bill
Another great plan of Jim Hacker (well, actually it is entirely based upon an article in Political Review by Professor Marriott). The main plot theme of the YPM episode Power to the People. This plan is to radically reform local government, by changing the political system. This is done by creating little voting districts of two hundred households (a city village) that elect their own Council. The Chairman of this Council is their representative in the borough. The five hundred city village representatives in each borough elect an Executive Council. This way, the people personally know their city village Councilor and have a direct influence on the policies of the borough. Dorothy also has a alternative name for this plan: democracy.
 
Head of the Home Civil Service
The boss of all home civil servants. In the YPM episode The Key we learn that formally Sir Humphrey and Sir Frank Gordon are the joint Heads of the Home Civil Service. Sir Humphrey handles promotions and appointments, while Sir Frank handles pay and rations. In this episode Jim Hacker puts Sir Humphrey under enormous pressure by threatening to make Sir Frank the sole Head. In the subsequent episode A Real Partnership Sir Humphrey does everything to discredit Sir Frank by letting him propose the outrageous Civil Service pay claim.
 
High Flyer
A civil service who is expected to have a career that takes him all the way to the top of the civil service (a Permanent Secretary or alike). Bernard Woolley is considered to be a high flyer.
 
Home Secretary
Minister of the Department for Home Affairs.
 
Honours Secretary
Secretary responsible for the recommendations on honours. He generally rewards nearly 20% of all honours to civil servants. Honours are featured extensively in the YM episode Doing the Honours.
 
Hot Line
Direct telephone connection between Downing Street and the Kremlin. Mentioned in the YPM episode The Grand Design. Also called the Red Hot Line. In case of an international emergency it allows direct contact between the UK Prime Minister and the Soviet General Secretary. General Howard however tells that it was tested once and they only got through to a switchboard operator that didn't speak any English. So it's more a PR thing that is told to journalists.
 
House, The
Refers to the Houses of Parliament.
 
House-trained
Civil service jargon. A Minister is called house-trained when he acts totally in the interests of the Civil Service. This of course is not a compliment for a Minister. Politicians don't use the word house-trained to describe such a Minister but say that a Minister has gone native. In the YPM episode A Victory for Democracy the Permanent Secretary of the FCO says that the Foreign Secretary is fully house-trained. In the YPM episode Man Overboard Sir Humphrey mentions that Jim Hacker is fully house-trained.
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- I -

Import-Export & Custom Powers Defence Act 1939
Act that is mentioned in the YM episode The Whisky Priest. Referring to section 1 of this Act makes sure Jim Hacker can stay in the clear when writing a letter to the PM. See the Rhodesia Solution.
 
Inquiry
Inquiries for government departments are usually performed by the department itself. In case of suspected wrongdoings by the department, Parliament usually demands an independent outside inquiry. Although the department than has little direct control over the inquiry, it normally can appoint its members. By choosing members that are looking for honours or a peerage the department can steer the inquiry to exonerate the department.
 
Integrated National Transport Policy
Policy which is the subject of the YM episode The Bed of Nails. This policy is the ultimate vote-loser for politicians because it involves making choices between the different forms of transport. Nobody accepts the job until the Cabinet Secretary and Sir Mark Spencer lure Jim Hacker in accepting it. When he realises what he got saddled with, he and Sir Humphrey put forward a number of non-proposals to get rid off it. Finally, they succeed and it is transferred back to the Department of Transport.
 
Interdepartmental Clearance Procedure
Procedure that clears all public documents (e.g. press releases, speeches) which affect multiple departments. This procedure saved Jim Hacker's Ministerial position in the YM episode Open Government, because the supplementary stop order came into effect over an anti-American speech he had prepared.
 
Interdepartmental Committee
Committee which has members from various government departments, to deal with an issue that affects all of these departments. In the Civil Service interdepartmental committees however are the equivalent of delaying decisions and stalling for a lot of time. Sir Humphrey is always quite eager to propose the installation of an interdepartmental committee.
 
Interventionist
As Sir Humphrey explains in the YM episode Party Games, an interventionist is someone with the foolish notion of running the country themselves once they become Prime Minister. In this episode he believes Duncan and Eric (the two candidates running for PM) are interventionists. Clearly this is a Civil Servant term, as it refers to intervening in Civil Service rule of government.
 
Iron Curtain
Term introduced by Winston Churchill in a speech in Fulton (Missouri) in 1946. It refers to the division between the free Western and the Communist nations in Europe. Briefly mentioned in the YPM episode One of Us.
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- J -

Junior Minister
Minister with responsibility for only a small portion of a department. Junior Ministers work under the (Cabinet) minister. Junior Ministers are not part of the Cabinet. In the YPM episode The Patron of the Arts the Arts Minister is a Junior Minister. 
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- K -

Knighthood
Honour rewarded by the Queen. Honourees can carry the title "Sir" in front of their name (e.g. Sir Humphrey).
 
Knight of the Thistle
Honour mentioned in the YM episode Doing the Honours. Jim Hacker asks how the Knight of the Thistle is awarded, and Bernard replies that a committee sits on it.
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- L -

Law Lord
Member of the House of Lords that has a specialty in legal affairs. Jim Hacker wants a Law Lord to chair a select committee of both Houses on electronic surveillance requests. Mentioned in the YM episode The Death List.
 
Leak
Term for all those actions that bring secret or confidential information to the outside, usually the press. Leaks are used by ministers, the PM and backbenchers to gain some advantage or to put certain people under pressure. Leak inquiries are being set up constantly but their is aim is not to find the person that leaked, but to able to say that it is under investigation. This is explained by Jim Hacker and Sir Humphrey in the YM episode The Bed of Nails. In the YPM episode Official Secrets a precedent is set, because a leak inquiry (executed by the Special Branch), actually finds the culprit.
 
License Fee
Government subsidy for the BBC. In the YM episode The Quality of Life the BBC cuts a tactless speech by Mrs. Philips because its license fee is up for renewal. Also mentioned in the YPM episode The Tangled Web.
 
Local Authority
Term that refers to the local Council.
 
Local Government Allowances Amendment Regulation
Legislation that regulates the amount of money members of local authorities receive for attending meetings. Bernard Woolley reads part of this legislation aloud for Jim Hacker, who does not understand what this all means, since it is in Civil Service language (see Quote 1 of YM 3.7). This all happens in the YM episode The Middle-Class Rip-Off.
 
Lord
Member of the House of Lords, which is part of the Houses of Parliament.
 
Lords
Short term referring to the House of Lords.
 
Lord Chancellor
One of the highest career positions a judge can reach. Mentioned in the YPM episodes Official Secrets and Power to the People.
 
Lord of Appeal
Judge that is a member of the Court of Appeals, the highest court in Britain. Mentioned in the YPM episode Official Secrets.
 
Lord President
One of the useless non-jobs, as referred to by Jim Hacker in the YM episode The Devil You Know. One on a long list of people that were asked to formulate and implement an Integrated National Transport Policy. He however recommended someone else. This is the subject of the YM episode The Bed of Nails.
 
Lord Privy Seal
One of the useless non-jobs, as referred to by Jim Hacker in the YM episode The Devil You Know. Also mentioned as one of the people that were sounded out to become Supremo to formulate and implement an Integrated National Transport Policy in the YM episode The Bed of Nails.
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- M -

Manifesto
Document that contains all the promises a Party/MP makes in case it/he/she will come to power. Sir Humphrey explains in the YM episode The Quality of Life that there is an implicit pact between Ministers and the Civil Service. Ministers will help the Civil Service to implement the opposite policy from the Manifesto (which is of course the correct one) and the Civil Service will help Ministers to pretend that he is doing what is said in the Manifesto.
 
Marginals
Terms that refers to constituencies where a certain Party has only a tiny majority. Marginal constituencies are looked after very carefully. In the YM episode The Whisky Priest we learn that defence contracts are usually placed within marginal constituencies. In the YPM episode The National Education Service Jim Hacker tours the marginal constituencies.
 
Marxist
Supporter of the communist ideas of Karl Marx. Mentioned in the YPM episode A Victory for Democracy.
 
Minister
Political head of a government department. Not all ministers are Cabinet ministers; only those of important departments. In the YM episode The Right to Know Sir Humphrey lists his view on the three main functions of a minister:
1. Public relations man to parliament and the public;
2. The department's man in Westminster steering legislation through parliament;
3. The breadwinner by securing the department's budget in Cabinet.
In the YM episode The Death List Sir Humphrey mentions that Ministers have the qualities of intellectual suppleness and moral manoeuvrability.
 
Minister for Industrial Harmony
A good ministerial post for a politician that wants to be kicked upstairs. To get ahead in active politics however this is definitely not the post to be. Jim Hacker is rumoured to get this post in the YM episode The Writing on the Wall, as the DAA is under the threat of closure. He equals getting this ministerial post to strikes: all strikes in Great Britain will then be his fault.
 
Minister of Sports
One of the useless non-jobs, as referred to by Jim Hacker in the YM episode The Devil You Know. Especially when this Minister also has responsibility for droughts and floods. In the YPM episode The Smoke Screen the Minister of Sports (Leslie Potts) actually appears.
 
Minister of the Crown
Official title of Cabinet Ministers. Sir Humphrey explains in the YM episode The Quality of Life why they are called that way: because Minister are talking of the top of their head..., or through the back of it.
 
Ministerial Responsibility
Political responsibility of Ministers were they can suffer consequences for things that they took no part in or were able to change.
 
Most Noble Order of the Garter
Honour that was founded in 1348 by King Edward III. Mentioned in the YM episode Doing the Honours.
 
Munich Agreement
Agreement between Hitler, Chamberlain, Daladier and Mussolini that turned over part of the Czech Republic to Germany (1938). Chamberlain thought he prevented war in Europe with this Agreement, but still was dragged into war a year later. The Munich Agreement was excused using one of the five standard excuses mentioned in the YM episode A Question of Loyalty.
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- N -

Nanny State
Term introduced by Sir Humphrey in the YPM episode The Smoke Screen. He refers to a government that does not let people freely decide for themselves whether they want to smoke or not.
 
National Education Service
Education system as proposed by Dorothy in the YPM episode The National Education Service. It is modeled after the National Health Service (hence the similarity in names) in a sense that it will allow parents to choose which school to send their children to. Jim Hacker embraces the plan originally, but - like a good politician - drops all support for it as soon as he can maintain his position.
 
National Integrated Database
Large computerized database that stores all sorts of records of UK citizens (tax records, employment records, health records, etc.). Budgeted cost is at 25 million pounds. Its purpose is to speed up government work and reduce the need for a large clerical staff. Planning for the National Integrated Database has been going on before Jim Hacker became Minister at the DAA. Jim Hacker is confronted with the need for safeguards to prevent civil servants from abusing the database for other purposes. The National Integrated Database is the main topic of the YM episode Big Brother.
 
National Service
Term recommended by the Chief Scientific Advisor to describe the plan of investing into a large conventional army. Mentioned in the YPM episodes The Grand Design and The Ministerial Broadcast. Jim Hacker however immediately calls it Hacker's Grand Design.
 
National Unemployment Register
Register that tracks the number of unemployed in Britain. Mentioned by Sir Humphrey in his Radio 3 interview in the YPM episode The Tangled Web.
 
New Deal
Famous plan by Franklin D. Roosevelt (President of the United States) in the 1930's to recover the American economy. It involved large public building projects (like the Hoover dam). Jim Hacker refers to the New Deal when he talks about his Grand Design and calls it a New Deal for Britain.
 
Number Eleven
Refers to the Office of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Located at Downing Street 11.
 
Number Ten
Refers to the office of the Prime Minister, that is located at Downing Street 10.
 
Number Ten Pass
See Security Pass.
 
Number Twelve
Refers to the office of the Chief Whip.
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- O -

Official Secrets Act
Legislation to protect government information. Sir Humphrey explains to Bernard Woolley that the Official Secrets Act is not there to protect secrets, but to protect officials. Mentioned in the YM episode Jobs for the Boys. Jim Hacker wants to prosecute the Energy's Department Press Officer, who leaked an embarrassing chapter of Jim's predecessor's memoirs, under Section 2 of the Official Secrets Act. In the YPM episode Power to the People Sir Arnold remarks that the Official Secrets Act is there to cover up the daily disasters of politicians.
 
Operation Hairshirt
Civil service scheme to discourage ministers to cut in government spending. The operation is intended to let ministers feel the pain of spending cuts by taking away "privileges" such as chauffeur driven cars, large personal staff, etc. It is sold to ministers by statements such as "economy begins at home, minister" and "you must set an example, minister". After a while ministers get frustrated, certainly if spending turns out to be as high as ever or even higher. Sir Humphrey and Jumbo seem to have done this operation many times before they do it to Jim Hacker in the YM episode The Economy Drive.
 
Order of the Elephant
Honour of Ivory Coast that the British Queen is afraid of receiving in the YPM episode A Diplomatic Incident.
 
Order of the Garter
See Most Noble Order of the Garter.
 
Outstanding Merit Award
Special bonus for civil servants. Although the term suggests only few collect this bonus each year, the fact is that every civil servant gets the Outstanding Merit Award. This is mentioned by Sir Humphrey in the YPM episode A Real Partnership. Raising this award however does not show up in the basic salary calculations.
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- P -

Palace
Refers to the head of the government: the Queen or King of Great Britain.
 
Parliamentary Inquiry
Inquiry by the Houses of Parliament into a specific topic. Mentioned in the YPM episode The Smoke Screen.
 
Party
In the YM/YPM series usually referring to a political party.
 
Party Chairman
The Chairman of the Party. In the YM episode Party Games we learn that Jim Hacker is also the Party Chairman, besides his responsibility as Minister for Administrative Affairs.
 
Party Conference
Party event where Jim Hacker has to deliver a speech in the YPM episode A Conflict of Interest.
 
Party Political
Television broadcast by one of the parties in Britain. We learn in the YPM episode The Ministerial Broadcast that the Joint Broadcasting Committee decides at what time these are scheduled. Also mentioned in the YPM episode A Diplomatic Incident.
 
Peerage
Honour mentioned in the YPM episode The Grand Design. After becoming PM Jim Hacker immediately gave a peerage to Ron Jones. As it turns out the peerage was given to the wrong Ron Jones.
 
Permanent Secretary
Highest rank in the British Civil Service. Also known as Permanent Under-Secretary of State. Sir Humphrey is Permanent Secretary at the DAA in the YM episodes. In the YPM episode A Real Partnership we learn that a Permanent Secretary makes about £45,000 a year. The Permanent Secretary to the Treasury however gets £51,000 a year.
 
Personal Private Secretary
Civil servant rank. In the YM episodes Bernard Woolley is Jim Hacker's Personal Private Secretary. In the YM episode Party Games we learn that the usual Christmas gift for a Personal Private Secretary is a bottle of champagne.
 
Petition Against Phone Tapping & Electronic Surveillance
Petition started by Jim Hacker when he was editor of Reform. In the YM episode The Death List the success of the petition (2¼ million signatures) is announced. Jim Hacker however is not very pleased about this because he is on a death list and in favour of electronic surveillance. As soon as he learns that he is no longer on the death list, he warmly embraces his petition.
 
Pinkoes
Term mentioned in the YPM episode A Victory for Democracy. It is another word for communists. Jim Hacker states the White House thinks that the British Foreign Office is full of pinkoes and traitors. Bernard responds that it is not, at least not full.
 
Planning Inquiry
Inquiry that is held by inspectors from the Department of the Environment. Its goal is to approve or disapprove local authorities plans concerning the construction and demolishment of listed buildings. The planning inspectors are supposed to be independent, as they have their own hierarchy. They are however vulnerable if they are anxious for promotion. Sir Ian Whitworth wants to lay down some informal guidelines to a vulnerable planning inspector in the YM episode The Middle-Class Rip-Off. The aim is to prevent Jim Hacker from selling off the Corn Exchange Art Gallery (Grade II Listed Building) to save the local football club from bankruptcy. Bernard Woolley however finds out about this and tells Jim Hacker, who thought the inspectors were impartial. Bernard points out that railway trains are impartial too, but if you lay down the lines for them, that is the way they go. Jim Hacker solves the problem by getting his Cabinet colleague to insist on appointing an inspector who is about to retire (and does not care about promotion).
 
Police Act 1964, Section 5
Legislation referred to by Bernard in the YPM episode Power to the People. It states that local councils have to provide a adequate and efficient police force.
 
Politician
Sir Humphrey often refers to characteristics of politicians. In the YM episode The Economy Drive he states that politicians like to panic, it is their substitute for achievement.
 
Politicians Logic
Explained in the YPM episode Power to the People by Sir Arnold and Sir Humphrey. It follows the following scheme: "Something must be done. This is something, therefore we must do it.". But doing nothing is better than doing the wrong thing. 
 
Press Officer/Secretary
Civil servant that is responsible for the contacts with the press. During the YM and YPM series Jim Hacker's Press Officer is Bill Pritchard. In the YPM season one series Malcolm Warren is Jim Hacker's Press Secretary.
 
Prime Minister
Head of the Cabinet. Jim Hacker becomes Prime Minister in the YM episode Party Games.
 
Principal
Rank in the civil service. See Civil Service.
 
Private Office
Office of a (Prime) Minister where his Private Secretaries and alike work.
 
Public Health Act
Legislation that was introduced in Britain in 1833 during the cholera epidemic that killed many people. Mentioned by Jim Hacker in the YPM episode The Smoke Screen.
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Quango
Acronym for Quasi-Autonomous Non-Governmental Organization. Quangos' official purpose is to allow for the public to influence government planning and legislation. Unofficially however quango vacancies are used to reward political friends or to buy some people's loyalty or support. Quangos are excellently covered in the YM episode Jobs for the Boys, were Sir Desmond Glazebrook is looking for a quango appointment. Frank Weisel despises the quango practice and tries to change it in that same episode. However he fails and becomes member of a quango.
 
Quango Abolition Paper
Paper that Frank Weisel wrote to end the misuse of quangos for rewarding political friends. He tries to end all the jobs for the boys, but ends up with getting a job for the boys. Featured in the YM episode Jobs for the Boys.
 
Question Time
Weekly event in the House of Commons where the Prime Minister can be asked questions relating to current events. In the YPM episode The Tangled Web Jim Hacker describes his triumph during Question Time.
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Rates
Name of local taxation mentioned in the YPM episode Power to the People and The National Education Service.
 
Red Boxes
As the name says these are red colored boxes or suitcases that contain all government papers that a minister must work on at home. As a minister Jim Hacker usually had around 3-5 red boxes to take home each night.
 
Red Hot Line
See Hot Line.
 
Red Tape
An acronym for bureaucracy.
 
Reds
Another word for communists, mentioned in the YPM episode A Victory for Democracy.
 
Regional Contracts Officer
Civil servant with a responsibility for contracts under regional laws. Sir Humphrey was a regional contracts officer at the Scottish office, as mentioned in the YM episode The Skeleton in the Cupboard.
 
Regional Controller
Civil servant responsible for examining government spending in a certain region. In the YM episode The Economy Drive a North-East Regional Controller saved 32 million pounds, a fact the civil service tried to suppress anxiously.
 
Regional Government
The ultimate nightmare of the Civil Service. Instead of having all government departments involved in the planning for - let's say - an airport, regional governments can quickly decide. This means much less work for the Civil Service (and especially less power!).
 
Registry Clerk
Low Civil Service rank.
 
Reshuffle, Cabinet
Event where the Prime Minister makes changes in the Ministerial posts in his Cabinet. The threat of a Cabinet reshuffle is considered as an excellent way to keep Ministers' performance up to standards. In the YM episode The Death List there is rumour of a Cabinet reshuffle and promotion of Jim Hacker to Minister of Defence. This rumour causes Jim Hacker's name to appear on the International Freedom Army's death list. In the YM episode The Devil You Know there is really a Cabinet reshuffle going to take place, and Jim Hacker is awfully worried that he might loose his job. In the YM episode The Challenge a reshuffle gives Jim Hacker new responsibilities on local government policy. In the YM episode The Middle-Class Rip-Off there is a real reshuffle (meaning a departmental re-organisation) and Jim Hacker becomes Cabinet Minister responsible for the Arts.
 
Restricted Document
Document that appeared in the yesterday's papers, as described by Bernard Woolley in the YM episode The Greasy Pole. Confidential documents only appear in today's papers.
 
Rhodesia Solution
Way of avoiding government responsibility mentioned in the YM episode The Whisky Priest. After the proclamation of the Rhodesian state in 1965 Britain boycotted Rhodesia. Supposedly a British Minister got hold of information that British oil companies were illegally selling oil to Rhodesia. He told this to the PM, but in such a way that it was unintelligible and open for misinterpretation. Jim Hacker uses the same approach when he has learned about British arms being sold to Italian terrorists. He writes a letter to the PM where he only refers to the law articles that are offended against and he does not mention anything about arms or terrorists. Also he makes sure that the letter arrives on the day the PM leaves for an overseas summit. This way there is total confusion about what the letter actually says and who has actually read it. The whole thing is written off as miscommunication and everyone is in the clear.
 
Royal Commission
Investigative commission that advises the government regarding on a specific topic. Mentioned in the YPM episode The Smoke Screen.
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Safeguards
The main topic of the YM episode Big Brother in conjunction with the National Integrated Database. Jim Hacker wants to install safeguards within the database, but Sir Humphrey is resisting to it. In the YM episode The Death List Jim Hacker wants to introduce safeguards on electronic surveillance.
 
Salami Tactics
Tactic used by the Soviet Union as mentioned in the YPM episode The Grand Design. The Soviets won't suddenly invade Western Europe, but will annex areas slice by slice (=salami tactics). This is the opinion of the Chief Scientific Advisor. Because of this tactic Jim Hacker realizes he will never push the nuclear button to stop the Soviets.
 
Scientific Officer
Job title in the Civil Service.
 
Secretary of State
Official title of a Minister. The name of the Minister's department follows this title; e.g. Jim Hacker is Secretary of State for Administrative Affairs.
 
Secretary of the Cabinet
Highest rank in the civil service. Sir Arnold Robinson was Secretary of the Cabinet in the YM series. In the YPM series Sir Humphrey Appleby succeeded Sir Arnold in this position. The Secretary of the Cabinet basically runs the country (if the PM lets him). In the YPM episode A Real Partnership we learn that the Cabinet Secretary makes about £51,000 a year. In the YPM episode The Tangled Web his salary has gone up already to £81,000 a year.
 
Security Communications Room
In the YM episode The Moral Dimension Jim Hacker comes with the idea to set up a security communications room at a reception in Qumran. This way they can surpass the Islamic law against drinking by filling the security communications room with booze.
 
Security Inquiry
Government inquiry. In the YPM episode One of Us Sir Humphrey explains that government security inquiries do not have the aim to find evidence. They are just set up so the PM can stand up in the House and tell Parliament that the government held an inquiry and found no evidence. If the government wanted to hold a real security inquiry they would let the Special Branch of MI5 conduct it.
 
Security Pass
Pass that will allow entrance to restricted areas. For instance, there is a Number Ten pass, a Cabinet Office pass, etc. In the YPM episode The Key enforces the procedure around security passes and subsequently finds himself not allowed entrance to Number Ten because he doesn't have the necessary pass.
 
Service Chiefs
The officers that are heading up the three divisions of Britain's defence: the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force and the Army.
 
Session
Term referring to the time that Parliament is discussing and voting on legislation.
 
Shadow Cabinet
The Cabinet formed by the Opposition party (which is not in power). Mentioned in the YM episode Party Games.
 
Shadow Minister
An MP of the Opposition party that specializes in a certain government department's area and is the direct opponent of the appropriate Minister. Jim Hacker was Shadow Minister for Agriculture before he became Minister at the DAA.
 
Silver Badge
Special badge that allows members of the Cabinet to pass through police cordons and security barriers. It is not, as Sir Humphrey points out in the YM episode Party Games, to protect drunks who drive cars (as Jim Hacker did use it for).
 
Snow Job
Swamping someone with so much information (and especially non-information) so they can't find the crucial information. Jim Hacker "enjoys" getting a snow job in the YM episode The Right to Know.
 
Solicitor-General
One of the two most senior law officers of the government, the other being the Attorney-General. Sir Robin Evans is Solicitor-General in the YPM episode Official Secrets.
 
Special Development Areas
Parts of Britain that get extra money from the government for economic development. Mentioned in the YM episode The Whisky Priest.
 
Special Protective Status
Status that protects a certain area from industrial and city expansion, thereby preserving the natural status. In the YM episode The Right to Know Hayward's Spinney is enjoying a special protective status.
 
Standard Excuses
See 5 Standard Excuses.
 
Standard Foreign Office Response in a Time of Crisis
See 4 Stage Strategy.
 
Star Wars
Popular term of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) by the US President Ronald Reagan. Its aim was to develop a protective shield against incoming nuclear missiles. Because of its high-technology focus (laser guns in space) it was soon labeled Star Wars by the media (of course referring to the popular Star Wars movie trilogy).
 
Statement Accompanying Embarrassing Files
The following statement usually accompanies files that contained embarrassing information published under the 30 Year Rule. Thus it provides a rationale why the file is completely empty. The statement is: "This file contains the complete set of available papers except for:
  1. a small number of secret documents;
  2. a few document part of still active files;
  3. correspondence lost in the floods of 1967;
  4. some records that went astray in the move to London;
  5. other records that went astray when the War Office was incorporated into the Ministry of Defence;
  6. 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."
 
Super Quango
Quango founded by Jim Hacker to review the work of all quangos. This super quango is created to prevent Frank Weisel from pushing through his quango abolition paper. Frank Weisel is a member of this super quango.
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Temporary Secretary
Rank in the Civil Service that is below the Undersecretary rank.
 
Tory
Synonym for (a member of) the Conservative Party. Mentioned in the YPM episode The National Education Service.
 
Town hall
General term for all the local government civil servants and alderman, and the decisions and plans that are made there. The term has come into use because central government is known as Whitehall.
 
Transport Supremo
Title that Jim Hacker carries in the YM episode The Bed of Nails because he accepted the job of formulating and implementing an Integrated National Transport Policy. He soon finds out however why the Civil Service vernacular is Transport Muggins.
 
Treasury Policy
Defined by Sir Humphrey in the YPM episode A Real Partnership as "when the Treasury knows something has to be done, the Cabinet should not be given too much time to think about it". Effectively it means that Treasury documents are released at the last possible moment.
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Undersecretary
Rank in the civil service. Undersecretaries have a rank that is just below Deputy Secretaries. Of the 578 Undersecretaries in the Civil Service only 27 are women, as is mentioned in the YM episode Equal Opportunities. See Civil Service.
 
Upper House
Other term for the House of Lords mentioned in the YPM episode The Grand Design.
 
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Vice-Chancellorship
Honour mentioned in the YM episode The Greasy Pole.
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Watergate
Government scandal in the United States that triggered Richard Nixon to resign as President. Watergate is now a synonym for a government cover-up, and as such mentioned in the YM episode Jobs for the Boys and The Whisky Priest.
 
West German Chancellor
The Prime Minister of West Germany as mentioned in the YPM episode The Grand Design.
 
Westminster
General term for the central government and political life of Britain. It more or less has the same impact as Whitehall, except that Whitehall refers more to the Ministerial and bureaucratic circles while Westminster also refers to politics (MPs, Lords and such).
 
Whip
See Chief Whip.
 
Whitehall
General term for all the national government ministries and their offices. It is the name of the street were major departments are located (Home Office, Foreign Office, etc.).
 
Wildlife Inspectors
Government inspectors that look at the state of the wildlife in Great Britain.
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3 Articles of Civil Service Faith
Mentioned by Jim Hacker in the YM episode Equal Opportunities. The articles are:
  1. It takes longer to do things quickly;
  2. It is more expensive to do things cheaply;
  3. It is more democratic to do things in secret.
 
4 Stage Strategy
Standard Foreign Office response in a time of crisis mentioned in the YPM episode A Victory for Democracy:
  1. Say that nothing is going to happen;
  2. Say something maybe going to happen, but we should do nothing about it;
  3. Say maybe we should do something about it, but there is nothing we can do;
  4. Say maybe there was something we could have done, but it is too late now.
 
4 Word Trick
Civil service trick to lead politicians to the acceptable alternative when they have to chose between policy alternatives. When they want a policy alternative to be accepted it must contain the following 4 words: quick, simple, popular, cheap. When they want an alternative thrown out they put in the following 4 words: complicated, lengthy, expensive, controversial. When they want to make sure an alternative is rejected they say that accepting it would be courageous. Controversial means "you will loose votes", while courageous means "you will loose the election".
 
5 Standard Excuses in Government
1. There is a perfectly satisfactory explanation for everything but security prevents its disclosure (used in the Anthony Blunt case);
2. It has only gone wrong because of heavy cuts in staff and budget which have stretched supervisory resources beyond the limit (the Comprehensive Schools excuse);
3. It was a worthwhile experiment now abandoned, but not before it provided much valuable data and considerable employment (used for Concorde);
4. It occurred before certain important facts were known and could not happen again (the Munich Agreement excuse with the important fact being that Hitler wanted to conquer Europe);
5. It was an unfortunate lapse by an individual now being dealt with under internal disciplinary procedures (the Charge of the Light Brigade excuse).
 
6 Usual Options for Protest in Foreign Affairs
Explained by Sir Humphrey in the YM episode The Official Visit with regards to a speech by the President of Buranda that encourages the Scots and Irish to stand up against England:
  1. Do nothing;
  2. Issue a statement deploring the speech;
  3. Lodge an official protest;
  4. Cut off aid;
  5. Break off diplomatic relations;
  6. Declare war.
 
30 Year Rule
Law aimed at making sure that all government papers are publicly available thirty years after being drawn up. In the YM episode The Skeleton in the Cupboard however it is shown this is not always the case.
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