Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sir Humphrey Appleby: The Venetian Way - Civil Service Tactics - Prime Minister Doesn't Want The Truth - The EU Compromise

Sir Humphrey Appleby speaks on the Foreign Office, Europe, and British foreign policy

The text below is from the Yes Minister episode "The Writing on the Wall" (Series One #5 – first BBC broadcast March 24, 1980). This episode is posted to give some insight into understanding the mind of Sir Humphrey Appleby as the 'Venetian way':

Yes Minister — Why Britain Joined the European Union

"The Foreign Office is pro-Europe because it is really anti-Europe. The Civil Service was united in its desire to make sure that the Common Market didn't work: that's why we went into it.

"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 German and Italians. Divide and rule, you see: why should we change now, when it's worked so well?

"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.

"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. We call it diplomacy."

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