Monday, August 20, 2012

"Yes, Prime Minister": the ultimate evidence that politics never changes

I've recently started watching the British sitcom “Yes, Minister”, and I’ve already seen a few episodes of its sequel “Yes, Prime Minister” too.  Needless to say, if it is this famous there must be a reason.

I really like the show. It’s extremely clever, and it portraits in a very cynical way how politics is essentially run. It’s hilarious (and depressing, at the same time) to see the idealist Minister actually trying to do something, but being stopped by his Permanent Secretary, from the Home Civil Service. And in the end, the civil service always manages to make it looks like they did what the Minister wanted, instead of what they wanted. Hence the very sarcastic “Yes, Minister” that closes every episode.
According to Wikipedia, the show was actually aired in Italy. By some local channels, nothing major, of course.  Indeed, I don't think anyone knows of it existence. And its sequel “Yes, Prime Minister” was apparently never aired at all. 
I wonder why… Were they afraid that it would make our politicians look bad? If that is the reason, no need to worry: we can’t possibly think any less of you.
I strongly recommend the show.  Here is the first episode from season one of “Yes, Prime Minister”, "The Grand Design". And its best quote: a perfect description of how Italian politicians consider the press. Years gone by, and the show is as current as it could be. 

Secretary Sir Humphrey: Let me put it like this. Do you really want the press to announce that your first act as Prime Minister was to give yourself an effective salary increase from £8000 to £10.000 a year?

Prime Minister Hacker: We won’t tell them!

Humphrey: We have no alternative. Prime Minister’s salary is an expense and it must be published.  

Hacker: Is there really no way that we can…?

Humphrey: 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.