Yes Minister Fan Fiction 433

I have been rather unwell this last week with atrial fibrillation, and at 5am last Sunday morning had the paramedics out and puzzling over the ECG results. This particularly severe episode was a result of being out in the cold and storm for hours on the AUOB march, and I felt so guilty at being a self-inflicted drain on the NHS that I declined their offer to take me into hospital and decided to recover at home.

I did however get to thinking about whether, had I indeed toddled off on my next great adventure, I would regret holding information which I had not imparted to you. Well, I couldn’t in those circumstances regret not having imparted it as I would be deid, but you know what I mean. As it happened the thing I found I was most worried about not being able to impart was not, at least on its surface, a case of world sweeping importance, but rather of individual injustice. Though the surface often hides a great deal.

Anyway, having recovered I was saddened by the death of Derek Fowlds, who to me was always Mr Derek of Basil Brush. In fact I remember my confusion when Mr Derek replaced Mr Rodney, who I only learnt this week was in fact Rodney Bewes, another great comic actor of whose wider work I was at primary school unaware. Derek Fowlds of course became most famous in his brilliant role as Bernard in Yes Minister. Lying in bed getting better, I decided to while away the time by writing some Yes Minister fan fiction in tribute.

As with the original series, although based on a realistic civil service scenario dealing with similar events to those the civil service actually deals with, this conversation between a Minister and Permanent Secretary is purely fictional. No real situation is alluded to and any resemblance between the people and situations portrayed here and anything that is happening in real life is entirely accidental. Please do not attempt in the comments section to relate this entirely fictional hommage to Yes Minister to any actual events involving any actual court cases. Because you might wander into contempt of court.

This is of course my first Yes Minister effort.


Perm Sec. You see Minister, all you have to do is destroy your predecessor’s reputation. In the modern “Me Too” atmosphere, you accuse someone of sexual offences and politically they are finished. In fact you can do what you like to him.
Minister Like Julian Assange?
Perm Sec Exactly, Minister. Like Julian Assange. We yelled “rape” at him and then had to do nothing else. The left themselves destroyed him, led by the feminists of course. You see Minister, we feminists can be useful sometimes. (Canned Laughter)
Minister Yes, by the time they had finished with him, the government could torture him to death in plain sight and nobody cared.
Perm Sec Precisely Minister, and the hilarious thing was that there never was any rape and we never had to produce any evidence in court.
Minister Yes, brilliant. But it’s not an exact parallel with Orpheus though, is it Permanent Secretary? We don’t have any extradition request for Orpheus once any sexual charges fall.
Perm Sec The charges won’t fall, Minister, they won’t fall. We will get him found guilty.
Minister But he isn’t actually a rapist, you know. Not one of these incidents looks anything like rape. In fact they are all very flimsy. There isn’t one single independent witness and I don’t think any of them could be proven in court.
Perm Sec Please don’t worry yourself. It doesn’t matter, Minister. All we need is the word “rape” in the newspaper headlines. “Attempted rape” will do. You just tell the prosecutor to get the word out there, spread it in the media and Orpheus is finished.
Minister Even if he is not guilty?
Perm Sec He will be guilty. Whether he is guilty is irrelevant, he will be found guilty. This is where we use “more of”.
Minister “More of”?
Perm Sec Yes, “More of”. It’s not an official legal term, but all the lawyers know it as the oldest trick in the prosecutor’s book.
Minister What do you mean, Permanent Secretary?
Perm Sec Well look, we have the canoodling episode, the kiss in the office and a couple of suggestive remarks about sexy clothes.
Minister The sexy remarks are hardly illegal, are they?
Perm Sec Good God, Minister, what century are you in? (Canned Laughter). Sexual harassment, Minister. Kiss someone at the office party and tell someone else their figure looks good in that blouse, and you have established a pattern of behaviour. “More of” you see, Minister. The “more of” this stuff you throw, the better chance some of it will stick.
Minister But we don’t have that many instances. We went through absolutely everything. We had a team of 24 policemen working on it for 10 months and this was all we can find.
Perm Sec It is time to get creative then, Minister. We need more women to make allegations. In these circumstances it is always best to keep things close. Activate the women you know, Minister, activate the women you know.
Minister I don’t have that many friends, Permanent Secretary. I spend all my time reading books. (Canned Laughter).
Perm Sec Oh really, Minister, think. You must have some women very close to you.
Minister Well, there is Miss Barclay, my own Private Secretary.
Perm Sec Perfect, Minister perfect! Miss Barclay should be good for at least four allegations! Get her to say he tried to kiss her. Often.
Minister But surely nobody will believe my own Private Secretary – and she was involved in putting the dossier together and in discussions on handling the case. Nobody is going to believe her. And (gasps in horror) it really leads straight back to me being behind it, doesn’t it?
Perm Sec It can’t be traced back to you, Minister.
Minister Phew, that’s a relief. It can’t be traced back to me you say. How does that work?
Perm Sec Accuser anonymity, Minister.
Minister Accuser anon… oh yes! Oh yes! I am beginning to see!! They are sexual allegations so…
Perm Sec The identities of the accusers can be kept hidden by the court under penalty of severe jail sentences for anybody who reveals them so…
Minister …the accusers can just be my closest political cronies and the public will never be aware of that! That’s brilliant, Perm Sec!
Perm Sec Thank you, Minister (Canned Laughter)
Minister And thank God for that, because if the party faithful thought that I was trying to stitch up my predecessor they would have my guts for garters (Canned Laughter).
Perm Sec Heaven forfend, Minister!
Minister What? Oh too right. I was just thinking, Permanent Secretary, you know I am starting to get the hang of this. What about old Marmalade? He is very keen to get back into parliament and sees himself as a potential successor.
Perm Sec Marmalade? Well I suppose if we start adding in gay allegations, it does give a slightly more exotic tinge for the tabloids.
Minister I was thinking more of his wife, Permanent Secretary. If the old Marmalade family want a nice safe seat in the capital, let them do something to earn it.
Perm Sec Indeed, Minister. And is the wife not a former Special Adviser?
Minister Yes, is that a problem?
Perm Sec On the contrary, Minister. You see it is very useful. A SPAD is of course only a particularly spotty political hack whom politicians have conned the taxpayer into paying, but technically a SPAD is still a form of civil servant.
Minister Yes, and what of it?
Perm Sec Well, the words “civil servant” convey integrity, honesty and trustworthiness. (Canned laughter). We can leak to the tabloids that one of the accusers is a civil servant, and people will believe it must be genuine and independent. Very cunning idea if I may say so, Minister.
Minister Was it? Oh yes, I am cunning, aren’t I. (Canned laughter). But I still worry that none of the accusations is going to be individually convincing.
Perm Sec Doesn’t matter, Minister, doesn’t matter. Remember “More of”. Quantity not quality, Minister, quantity not quality. They don’t have to be individually convincing, just to give the impression of no smoke without fire.
Minister Oh well, I understand that now. In that case I can think of three or four more women very close to us indeed who can make allegations, if independence or credibility are not important and nobody will ever know who they were.
Perm Sec Volume is important, Minister, volume. It does not have to be heavy stuff. Just get them to allege an attempted kiss here, a brush of the hand on the bum as they were going out the door there.
Minister To build a pattern of behaviour.
Perm Sec Precisely, Minister, precisely. To build a pattern of behaviour. I see you have got it.
Minister But isn’t there a problem here, Permanent Secretary? If this man was a sexual predator on a large scale, there would be whispers for years and people in political circles would surely know. But he doesn’t have that reputation at all.
Perm Sec Don’t worry, Minister, he soon will have that reputation. (Canned Laughter). The media will believe it because we will tell them to believe it. And once the media believe something, the population will believe it too. Every politician has enemies, Minister, Orpheus more than most.
Minister But isn’t there a potential danger here, Permanent Secretary? I mean all of this is nonsense, so won’t he be acquitted and emerge possibly stronger than before?
Perm Sec Don’t worry, Minister, he won’t be acquitted. We have a legally invincible alliance on our side. “More of” is powerful, but “more of” combined with “home” becomes an irresistible force.
Minister (puzzled) “More of” and “home”.
Perm Sec Yes Minister. Answer me this. What does a jury want more than anything?
Minister To do justice?
Perm Sec Wrong, Minister, wrong. Home. A jury wants to go home. (Canned Laughter) Jurors are ripped away from their homes, jobs and families for weeks. At the end of it they are locked in a stuffy room with other jurors they don’t like, and not allowed to go home until they have all reached a verdict. So what do they do to reach agreement?
Minister Aaah, I see now. They compromise.
Perm Sec Exactly, Minister. They will compromise. It’s a natural human instinct to avoid conflict. There will be some people who think him totally innocent as nothing was individually proven, but there will be others who will think he must have done something wrong or there could not possibly be so many accusations. The power of “more of”. Of course they will chuck out the “attempted rape” very quickly as obvious nonsense. In the end they will find him not guilty on nearly all counts, but as a compromise will convict him of stroking someone’s hair, patting their bum or saying they look sexy.
Minister But surely he will hardly be jailed for that?
Perm Sec Doesn’t matter, Minister. “Rapist” will already be firmly printed on the public mind, and so long as we have the magic word “guilty” it does not matter what he is guilty of. And it can’t fail. With so many charges, the jury is simply bound to find him guilty of something so they can compromise and all go home.
Minister Brilliant, Permanent Secretary, brilliant.
Perm Sec Thank you.
Minister So that’s finally going to put a stake through his heart. No more Frank Sinatra comebacks and no more Quixotic campaigns chasing unicorns.
Perm Sec Yes, Minister.

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433 thoughts on “Yes Minister Fan Fiction

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    • Ros Thorpe

      I don’t think it’s meant to be funny, is it? More or less shows that the behaviours are such that can’t be satirised easily although the Russians during the soviet years got used to off colour jokes. Hope we don’t.

      • N_

        @Ros – That’s very interesting for a two-line post! My response follows.

        1) In Britain there is neither

        a) the level of cynical consciousness there was (and is) in the Russian population (summary: “the rulers are a bunch of lying criminals; we can’t do anything about them; but we’re damned if we’re going to believe them, or to EXPECT them to be anything other than a bunch of lying criminals”) nor

        b) anything approaching official glasnost.

        2) If you take for example the amount of rubbish that’s talked, including rubbish about rubbish, in the British “education” system alone, the country easily rivals the USSR. Rubbish talk is the norm throughout officialdom and the “expert” and “professional” castes too. There is massive overemployment in office work generally and in public sector office work in particular. Sorry, everyone, but Dominic Cummings is right about that.

        3) Lower-level, middle-level and senior-level bureaucrats and other figures in the social hierarchy are scared to say the truth, scared to do anything other than follow along, and when you’ve been doing that for decades it’s bloody hard to stop. If you have any kind of social “position”, it’s practically impossible to stop without going through some kind of mental breakdown. A similar statement could be made about the legal systems, the media, smartphone use, the political system, local government, the drug problem, energy policy, housing policy, health, etc. etc. We are talking about people who have been eating mud for years and also purveying it to other people as custard. Hence you often get fury from them when someone who is “purveyed to” rather than “purveying” calls it mud and refuses to eat it. It’s as if the person is challenging the way of the world.

        4) There is little consciousness, cynical or otherwise, in the population, although there may be a subconscious understanding among some people in the bottom third of society, and even some in the middle third, but the subconscious is very different from the conscious, For many who start to get conscious, Facebook or drugs (prescribed or street) usually soon sort them out, yielding conformation.

        5) Hardly anyone in Britain understands for example why house prices are so high, or why so many youngsters are encouraged to go to “university”. Why have these social changes occurred? Why were they considered so important, given that things like council housing and the Open University were scaled back massively to assist? The answer is DEBT. If you explain this to someone you might get agreement, but they will probably soon forget what you said, especially if they’ve got a smartphone they can pick at. Smartphones are very similar to heroin. In the USSR you wouldn’t have to explain such a thing because everyone would have understood it and known it for years. You would even feel a bit of a “village idiot” for pointing out something that was so obvious to people.

        6) Satire has often been a safety valve. Not always of course, so there is no way it can simply be condemned, and it has often had a role to play in times of genuine radical popular upsurge, but I am talking about most of the time when there is no such upsurge, which I guess is the point you are making. But for a safety valve to work, there needs to be some energy that it diverts! And in Britain there is little or no energy. (I refer to energy that has SOME amount of conscious criticism of the filthy rich and how they exploit the rest of the society, and of how the public opinion sphere is full of lies. I don’t mean just general “energy” against “stuff”, with NO real critical consciousness. That kind of “energy” doesn’t need satire. In that direction lies race war and pogroms.)

        • Tom Welsh

          “In Britain there is neither… the level of cynical consciousness there was (and is) in the Russian population…”

          I beg to differ. Although perhaps it’s only a small minority who feel as disillusioned as most Soviet citizens did. But speaking for myself, your words

          “the rulers are a bunch of lying criminals; we can’t do anything about them; but we’re damned if we’re going to believe them, or to EXPECT them to be anything other than a bunch of lying criminals”

          express *exactly* how I feel.

    • Jarek Carnelian

      Craig, Sorry to hear about the A-Fib.

      I have it too – permanently now for 10+ years and several failed cardioversions. It is a complaint that is spreading quickly throughout the West and there are multiple possible causes including a deficiency of the genes for elimination of Mercury from the body (toxic in tiny amounts)… so my complaint at least improved after amalgam removal and oral chelation therapy (selenium, EDTA, zeolite clay, garlic, then finally a few things that are fat soluble and can get through the blood-brain barrier).

      The growing onslaught of electromagnetic smog is also a culprit in those sensitive to it and I am concerned that 5G is going to seriously damage many people. The drive to deploy this untested technology as a matter of US National Security no less (as a battlefield application) is also deeply worrying.

      If put on heavy beta-blocker use for the A-Fib I have found Co-Q10 invaluable in clearing the aches caused by the stripping of essential biochemicals by those drugs. Cardiology in the UK is unfortunately of a very poor standard. I am fortunate to have a friend in the profession who encouraged me to fight my GP when Bisoprolol and Metaprolol (cheaper alternatives) were not working for me.

      Thankfully you do not have ventricular issues. Hope you can beat this!

      • Muscleguy


        Amalgam filling removal exposes you to far more mercury than leaving them in until you die. As for the AltMed ‘chelation therapy’ someone saw you and your credit card coming and decided to cash in. How much did all that cost you?

        Anxiety causes atrial fibrillation if you are prone to it so all you got was an increased exposure to mercury to cure your obvious anxiety. Becoming conversant with scientific thinking and evidence might have helped as well, and kept your bank balance healthier.

        The Altmed crowd just LOVE worried people with lots of money and an undeveloped critical faculty.

        I’m prone to atrial fibrillation as well, but in my case it’s how my athletic heart gets funky at rest when I’m very fit. When I was younger it was ventricular extrasystoles. Feels lie your heart has turned over in your chest. It ejects a bigger fraction of the blood so takes longer to fill again. When you are very fit with a resting HR of 40 that gives you around 3 seconds to lie there wondering if your heart is going to start again. I got my first one of those at 14.

        But I read the running mags and knew about it. I informed myself. I also went to university and got myself an honours degree and a PhD in Physiology so I know all about it.

        • squirrel

          Muscleguy, with respect that’s a million miles from the truth.

          The best money I ever spent was having my mercury amalgams removed. This isn’t rocket science – you have lumps of highly neurotoxic metal in your head, you have them safely removed by people who know what they are doing. I literally felt different the instant they were all out. The ‘it is safer to leave them in’ is the last in a long line of lies from the medical establishment, who first said the mercury never escaped, then when that was proved false they said it escapes but in too small quantities to cause harm, then when that lie was nailed, they now claim yeah sorry we poisoned you but you better just live with it.

      • Kempe

        Chelation therapy removes heavy metals from the body. It can’t undo any neurological damage already caused.

        • squirrel

          Kempe, the body never stops healing itself if you give it the chance and that includes the brain. Neurological symptoms from mercury are reversible.

      • emersonreturn

        please, craig, check out curcumin on pubmed (AF & curcumin from 2018 to 2020). as well as the Q10, ubiquinol, vit c, b’s, essential oils, the curcumin & resveretrol can reclaim a life. (thank you abram hoffer) i went from afib, CHF & an ejection fraction of 5, barely able to make it off the couch let alone climb the stairs to bed, to skiing, dancing & marching whenever the cause required. best of luck.

        • squirrel

          yes… this might surprise you Craig, but the medical industry is so thoroughly corrupted it makes politics look squeaky clean. For any chronic condition the answer lies not in drugs but in unpatentable remedies. the aim of the medical industry is to sell you as many drugs as possible during your lifetime. For cardiovascular conditions I would suggest looking at the Linus Pauling protocol. They trashed Linus Pauling the same way that honest politicians get trashed and that’s how you know he was on to something.

    • Tom Welsh

      Actually I think it’s hilarious. In a bitter, realistic way.

      There is absolutely no reason why the same piece of writing cannot be at once perceptive, instructive and witty. Indeed the biting edge of wit is called “truth”.

    • Tom Welsh

      “True wit is nature to advantage dressed,
      What oft was thought, but ne’er so well expressed”.

      – Alexander Pope (“Essay on Criticism”)

      • N_

        Then again, an accused former politician and minister with a massive ego can be guilty, even if he comes across as a posh or lounge lizard version of Tommy Sheridan. Is it not possible for those who share the man’s “politics” to recognise that? The word for a political party in which the answer is “no” may well be a “cult”.

        One possibility is that a former minister will pull strings to arrange a plea bargain to keep his khyber out of jail. I’m not saying that’s likely. But whether he does or he doesn’t, I won’t be surprised if events are set in train which lead to a Tory plurality or even majority at Holyrood in the 2021 election. In the 1979 general election when Jeremy Thorpe was in free fall the Liberals lost a quarter of their vote. That would probably also have happened if the election had been held after his acquittal.

        Frankly when a right-wing politician who has held high office for years gets into trouble, I don’t much care whether he’s innocent or guilty. If he goes to jail for these offences but he was innocent, then he was still obviously guilty of many other crimes, so he’s got nothing to complain about. (E.g. he is certainly guilty of the crime of telling the audience “I love you all” when doing his utmost to serve the interests of big business, saying any old cr*p so long as he doesn’t blurt out the truth that “the public administration is totally corrupt”. In other words he is rather like 99% of politicians who hold public office. Oh diddums! Did one of them get jailed for assuming that any woman who found herself alone with him welcomed his physical advances because she knew he was such a great man? If he’s short of a few bob, perhaps he can crowdfund an internet mob to bake him a metal file in a cake and send it to him in Barlinnie.) And yes, my position that “whatever happened, he’s got it coming to him” is EXACTLY what the rich and much of the middle class, and the police, say about working class people who find themselves up in court. That is one way that the police “justify” their habitual perjury. Funny ol’ world.

        • terence callachan

          You said this

          “Frankly when a right-wing politician who has held high office for years gets into trouble, I don’t much care whether he’s innocent or guilty. If he goes to jail for these offences but he was innocent, then he was still obviously guilty of many other crimes, so he’s got nothing to complain about”

          Read it again
          Think about it

          Then admit it’s just wrong to think this way

          If you can’t
          You are an idiot

    • Ort

      Oh, I found it funny– not broad-comedy “laugh out loud” funny, but “it’s funny because it’s true” funny.

      But then, I have a very… oops, I suppose one can’t call it a “black” sense of humor any more.

      At any rate, Craig, you have future writing TV satire; I haven’t watched the show in years (I have the full DVD set), but I can easily visualize the original and sadly departed cast members performing this dialogue exactly as written! Thanks for the thought-provoking amusement.

    • Cynicus

      Ronnie: “ Sorry Craig but it’s not ver funny”

      Craig: “ It certainly isn’t.“
      Oh yes it is.

      Humour is a most effective weapon against a mockery of justice.

  • jmg

    Craig Murray wrote:
    > Exactly, Minister. Like Julian Assange.

    Nils Melzer, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture:

    “How do you break a political dissident, a promoter of truth and transparency? Well, first you attack his reputation and credibility, and destroy his human dignity.”

    “In the end it finally dawned on me that I had been blinded by propaganda, and that Assange had been systematically slandered to divert attention from the crimes he exposed. Once he had been dehumanized through isolation, ridicule and shame, just like the witches we used to burn at the stake, it was easy to deprive him of his most fundamental rights without provoking public outrage worldwide. And thus, a legal precedent is being set, through the backdoor of our own complacency, which in the future can and will be applied just as well to disclosures by The Guardian, the New York Times and ABC News.”

  • Cubby

    Craig, I was sorry to hear you were ill and hope you get back to full fitness soon. Out of kindness I will give you the benefit of doubt that your judgement has been impaired by your illness in posting this article. I listened to your speech last Saturday and I did notice it was missing your normal level of energy. In summary I think you are wrong to post – post I repeat – this article at this juncture. I have no idea of the accuracy of what you post but I am aware of your bias so I will reserve my opinion for now on the contents.

    The jury will soon be out on all involved in this story and that includes you posting this article.

    • Jarek Carnelian

      Cubby – I don’t, I repeat don’t get what you are on about, really. at this juncture. Did you intend to be funny?

      • Cubby

        Jarek Carnelian

        No I did not mean to be funny and I won’t be posting any more on this article. Or on any other comments.

    • Cubby


      The National newspaper said on its front page that everyone who went on last Saturdays march was a hero. Anyone with an illness such as yours and others in wheelchairs or with disabilities who attended is doubly a hero. So I may not agree with everything you say and you did say to me once you don’t always agree with everything you post yourself ?? but hats of to you for taking part in the AOUB march in Glasgow and making a speech at the end.

      I hope you will be fit to take part in the next march in Glasgow in early May or perhaps even the very special one in Arbroath to commemorate the 700 year anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath. It is appalling that some historians actually write History of Scotland books and do not even mention this important Declaration. Poltical bias is probably the reason. Anti Scottish independence propaganda is everywhere.

      • MBC

        The Declaration of Arbroath – a letter to the Pope by the community of the realm of Scotland – has assumed importance in retrospect as a document reflecting the ethos of the Scots’ political culture and outlook as early as 1320. At the time it did not have much impact domestically or internationally and that is generally why historians looking purely at political events have tended to ignore it. Later historians interested in political culture have found it significantly important not so much for any impact it had but for what it said about ideas of government, particularly as Scots continued to behave in such ways as to believe in councils rather than sovereigns. For instance Scots clerics were the last to leave the Council of Basle and the conciliar movement. They were the last to have archbishops imposed on them preferring a simple council of the church rather like the Protestant General Assembly that succeeded it. The community of the realm idea continued to have currency during interregnums including the signing of the National Covenant.

        • Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh

          For image, text and translation of the Declaration of Arbroath document, readers are referred to the following ‘National Archives of Scotland’ pdf:

          For contextualisation, I commend the following Royal Society of Scotland youtube audio of a lecture delivered by Professor Alexander Broadie in his own enjoyably idiosyncratic and slow-burning style. Broadie (sic) argues that the startling democratic sentiments of the Declaration of Arbroath were essentially informed by the thought of the recently deceased philosopher John Duns Scotus:


          Broadie echoes some of the above in the following text:


          A quote from the foregoing source:

          “I wish now to take the first steps towards arguing that Scotus’s political doctrine impacted on the content of at least two major Scottish documents, the Declaration of the Clergy (1310) and the Declaration of Arbroath (1320), which were penned during the twelve years that followed his death in 1308. […] My conclusion is that while Wallace was fighting for Scottish independence, Scotus was developing precisely the intellectual framework that the Scots within a few years would deploy in the chief documents that defined that independence. I also believe it possible that the documents in question were compiled with Scotus in mind. There remains an intriguing thought, which I have not pursued, that Scotus was actively engaged in the development of Scottish thinking on the matter of Scottish independence through discussions that he might have had with Scots whom he met at the great centres where he worked. If such discussions did indeed take place, then my suggestion, made some years ago, that the relation of Scotus to the Wars of Independence was one of theory to practice, is false. Scotus may, after all, have been on the side of practice as well as theory by working to the same end as the Scottish military leaders even although by utterly different means.“ (Extract from ‘John Duns Scotus and the Idea of Independence’ by Alexander Broadie)

        • Jeff

          “At the time it did not have much impact domestically or internationally…”

          Bollocks. This document was a reflection of how Duns Scotus came up with the revolutionary idea that Kings could be chosen by a people.How do you think scotland got rid of Edward’s puppet John Balliol?

    • R.A.

      Craig, I’m an American who has never seen the show you were satirizing, yet I still enjoyed this post very much. It sticks the needle in some targets that really need popping, if you follow me. You probably won’t be offered a script-writing position for the next popular sit-com, but if your writing this helps you recover your health, I’m all for it.

  • Alan G

    “It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,” the Queen remarked.

    “What sort of things do you remember best?” Alice ventured to ask.

    “Oh, things that happened the week after next,” the Queen replied in a careless tone. “For instance, now,” she went on, sticking a large piece of plaster on her finger as she spoke, “there’s the King’s messenger. He’s in prison now, being punished, and the trial doesn’t even begin till next Wednesday: and of course the crime comes last of all.”

    “Suppose he never commits the crime?” said Alice.

    “That would be all the better, wouldn’t it?” the Queen said, as she bound the plaster round her finger with a bit of ribbon.

    (The Mad Hatter imprisoned by the white queen in anticipation of a future crime.)

    • Tom Welsh

      I knew your comment reminded me of soemthing. And here it is!

      “Only the future is certain. The past is always changing”.
      – Paul Flynn, Labour Member of Parliament for Newport West in South Wales, talking about Tony Blair’s Government.

  • jake

    Sorry, Craig, you’re really not at your best doing comedy fiction.
    I’m not suggesting the plot line is derivative and unoriginal, it’s just that it has already been done.

    • George McI

      “I’m not suggesting the plot line is derivative and unoriginal, it’s just that it has already been done.”

      Now THAT’S funny – though probably not intentionally.

  • A C Bruce

    Politicians never fail to disappoint.

    Sailing a bit too close to the wind with this, I think.

  • SA

    “…and I felt so guilty at being a self-inflicted drain on the NHS that I declined their offer to take me into hospital and decided to recover at home.”
    That is so wrong. Early effective treatment is always better for everyone than letting things fester. Anyway the self inflicted bit was in a good cause and there are many more things that are more harmful in inflicting self harm that many people indulge in without conscience.
    What You wrote could also be easily tweaked a little bit to reflect allegations of a certain type of racism against a lifelong anti-racism politician that have recently been played out with a full supporting cast in public.

    • Muscleguy

      All they would have done was take him into hospital for observation. Lying there with leads all over your chest, pulse oximeter on your finger and like a drip ‘just in case’ getting no sleep vs resting comfortably at home with your loved ones. I’m only a Physiology PhD not a clinician but I think Craig made the right decision.

      If the paramedics had thought he was in real danger they would have bundled him into the ambulance no questions asked.

      • nevermind

        And we must not forget squeaky trolley wheels, fellow patients wheezing/coughing/ or dreaming of dragons, dreams ubduced as a side effect of their medicine/ kosh.
        That said, my operation would not be able to be carried out at home, but thdete are plenty of arguments I could come up with to cut out the various infection possibilities and foreign getms inside a hospital for the germs and bacteria I’m used tp at home.
        It is not impossible to create a sterile room within a room and operate within it with sterilised equipment and the machinery which is mobile, as in field hospitals. As long as you have the right equipment moved into a house/room, with surgeons/ doctors and nurses coming in, you should be able to carry out surgery outside hospitals.

        I am glad you are getting over it. Might be time to eat more veg and fruit, get a warmer coat and a warm hat, you have a very busy summer coming.
        My best to all.

    • Tom Welsh

      What Mr Murray wrote is simply a devastatingly honest insight into how the minds of political leaders work, that’s all. Like all the best satire, its true value is quite independent of the specific scenario (if any) that gave rise to it.

      Kritias, Julius Caesar or Richelieu would find it just as penetrating and just as witty.

      “If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged”.
      – Cardinal Richelieu

  • Ken Dornan

    The series had a profound influence on my political views, I was a very fond of the series, yes minister and yes prime minister, I still have the book.
    I find it difficult to think of politicians in any other light and your work of fiction is only too near the truth.
    My hope for the future is an independent Scotland where because we are closer to the centre we can hold politicians to account. I live in hope,
    PS AF is a bastard.

    • Muscleguy

      What makes you think the minister concerned is in London? Read it again and think. NS did NOTHING to help AS and NOTHING to sanction the misbehaving civil servants who defied their own rules and the court orders. How they are still in post is beyond me.

      If iScotland is going to be a gender rights paradise with only unisex facilities and every man is controlled by the threat of a sex complaint I’m not sure that’s a country I want to live in. I have an out, I’m a NZ citizen. What’s yours?

  • Alyson

    The fact that Assange is a decent man shows, in that he did not go on the attack, and call her a slag or slut or asking for it, like real rapists do. In fact, once real rapists or wife killers have screamed their abuse at their victim, they can rape, or kill, and the woman has to go to Court and prove that the verbal abuse was unfounded. That is why so few cases get prosecuted. It is because misogynistic stereotyping is a valid Defence in Court. The judge will decide in the violent mysogynist’s favour, and the woman is irreparably violated by the British Legal System. PTSD is guaranteed. The woman learns her place. Gender based stereotyped verbal abuse ought to be unlawful, but the police would find their job much less enjoyable and less titillating without the sport of punishing the victim. The events in Cyprus are an extreme example of a well entrenched pattern. Decent men don’t realise how power is entrenched with the language of abuse. Assange could have gone on the attack and destroyed the woman’s reputation. It would have been the thing to do, if he had been guilty of the Charge.

      • Alyson

        Attacking a victim is evidence of entrenched power. There ought not to be anyone that it is lawful to rape. Not a prostitute, not a rent boy, not a pretty teenager. Mysoginist terms of abuse must not be allowed as Defence for such crimes – maybe one day all women will have access to justice. But not yet and not just in Cyprus

  • Kempe

    I think you should’ve gone to hospital Craig. They may have been able to identify any underlying cause and sort out some kind of treatment . I think though you know that the consultant would’ve had some comments to make about your weight and your drinking, both of which are identified as factors.

    • craig Post author

      Thanks. I have been on drug regimes for it for 15 years now. If I went to hospital, they would have just used beta blockers to try to get back rhythm then discharged me with an appointment to see the consultant in five months time. Been round that block several times.
      I am a devout opponent of the new puritanism. Have no desire to live for ever, and a life without fry ups, St Emilion and Lagavulin would turn me into a miserable bastard.

      • Shatnersrug

        Craig, perhaps just one fried breakfast a month? Your wife and boy would sure be sad if you popped off on them, as we all would.

      • Squeeth

        Tesco genuine fermented-in-the-plastic-dustbin-for-at-least-three-weeks Côtes du Rhône for me, a steal at £4.50.

      • Tom Welsh

        “…fry ups, St Emilion and Lagavulin…”

        Actually, according to everything I have been able to ascertain, this is a large part of the recipe for health and happiness. A surprising number of centenarians testify to a lifetime of fry-ups, bacon and egg, fried chicken and the like. Not to mention regular moderate consumption of good wine and spirits.

        What will make you sick and eventually kill you – unless you have a cast-iron constitution – is grain products, excessive sugars and vegetable oils. (And of course smoking, excessive alcohol or other drugs and excessive stress).

        • jmg

          Tom Welsh wrote:
          > What will make you sick . . . is grain products, excessive sugars . . .

          Yes, it’s effectively official now that the ubiquitous food pyramid from the US government was wrong, and it’s currently replaced with the not perfect but improved 2011 MyPlate, now including vegetables and fruits as half of the daily diet. You know, the 1992 USDA Food Guide Pyramid gave the largest portion of the diet to white flour products, because of lobbying pressures.

          Luise Light, former USDA Director of Dietary Guidance and Nutrition Education Research, on the 1992 Food Guide Pyramid:

          “As I later discovered, the wholesale changes made to the guide by the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture were calculated to win the acceptance of the food industry. For instance, the Ag Secretary’s office altered wording to emphasize processed foods over fresh and whole foods . . . it also hugely increased the servings of wheat and other grains to make the wheat growers happy. . . .
          “I vehemently protested that the changes, if followed, could lead to an epidemic of obesity and diabetes — and couldn’t be justified on either health or nutritional grounds.”

          Do you know what the “food pyramid” underwent before its 1992 release?

          Apart from the new USDA’s MyPlate, there is an even further improved mainstream diet now, the current research-based Harvard’s Healthy Eating Plate:

          “The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate, though it has been revised to reflect some key findings, still doesn’t offer the most complete picture when it comes to basic nutrition advice.
          “The Healthy Eating Plate is based exclusively on the best available science and was not subjected to political or commercial pressures from food industry lobbyists.”

          Healthy Eating Plate vs. USDA’s MyPlate | The Nutrition Source | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

          In general, natural unprocessed food is much better. For example, most oils are chemically processed, so it’s advisable to avoid them. A good exception is extra-virgin olive oil, from cold-pressed olives. And again, fresh vegetables and fruits should be half of the daily diet at least, according to research.

          And you know, also very important are deep breathing aerobic exercises such as walking, biking, and swimming, which are very common in long-lived people. A great plan is two or three short times a day, biking 15 minutes or walking 30 minutes between home and work in the early morning and evening, and swimming 15 minutes or biking 30 minutes at midday or another time. For example with family and friends.

          The most bike-friendly country is of course the Netherlands but, by British standards, Craig’s Edinburgh is said to be a very cycle-friendly city.

          If one thinks there is no time, then walking with earphones — in mostly car-free zones such as parks or quiet streets — can be study time as well by listening to audiobooks, text-to-speech, videos, courses, etc.

          Take care!

      • Tatyana

        wonderful! I was just going to comment
        “oh, fiction! The content is becoming more and more diverse here. If this continues in the same way, so this site will soon replace all the others for me. But there are still not enough kitchen recipes and memes with cute cats”

        And a recipe appears already:
        “…a life without fry ups, St Emilion and Lagavulin would turn me into a miserable bastard.”
        Thank you Mr. Murray 🙂

      • Kempe

        OK but I was assuming you wanted to live long enough to see Scotland become independent and watch young Duncan(?) grow up.

        What would frighten me more would to be left vegetated after a stroke.

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    The upcoming Broontervention is more federal UK pish. Pity the journalists sent to cover this non-event. Like a Joe Dolce greatest hits tour.

  • Iain Orr

    I hope you’ll be celebrating Burns night – and the start of the Year of the Rat – with a large glass of Lagavulin.

    • Tom Welsh

      “…the Year of the Rat…”

      Nice to see our beloved politicians and captains of commerce getting the recognition they deserve at last.

  • Republicofscotland

    Get well soon Craig, I hope its nothing a bit more sinister thats caused your recent ailment, as for the script its very funny.

    Who knows maybe you missed your true calling, as a Hugh Dennis or Terry Jones or Terry Gilliam.

    There’s still time though after independence that is. ?

  • Dave Humphreys

    We had the 20 year reunion for the first Raleigh Internationals expedition last year. You would be pleased to know you came upon conversation around the camp fire and the girls in particular reminiscing on your superb entertaining and ambassadorial qualities! Oh and this blog too! Cheers Craig!

  • Brian c

    Those who uphold a corrupt status quo are always going to be unscrupulous in the extreme, prepared to smear and character assassinate any and all dissidents. This week’s victim has been Bernie Sanders, accused in the face of all evidence of being a misogynist.
    The problem is how to combat such smears once they have been circulated a thousand times in establishment media. A few hundred blog readers or people on twitter may know the facts do not support the allegation. But in the mind of the public at large the person or group being targeted will likely be dismissed forever as bullies, anti-Semites, misogynists/ rapists or nutjob, and whatever anti-establishment agenda they have been pursuing will be tarnished by association. The professional liars and smear artists never face any commupence, bit simply move onto the next target.

  • Crispa

    It is virtually impossible for anyone to have a fair trial today when faced with allegations of sexual offences. Members of juries are also members of the public and carry their beliefs formed by the media’s love of sex and scandal into the jury room. The police also rely on the “more of” principle in their “trawling” or “fishing” strategies to encourage “victims” to come forward in the hope that this will give them enough corroborative evidence to stand up in court. The “more of” idea is also reflected in that of “concept creep” in which the range and forms of sexual behaviours that are considered abusive has increased to the point where no sexual interaction is potentially not abusive.

    Sexual abuse finding has developed on an industrial scale that shows no sign of slowing down despite such as the Carl Beech case which showed how easy it is for authority – in his case the police and Tom Watson – to be to be taken in by someone’s phantasies.

    An interesting feature of the actual witch trials is not just the numbers who were convicted, which of course were many, but the number that did not end in a conviction, which were mainly because of the healthy scepticism of some local magistrates who did not buy into the phantasy and who were unconvinced about the suspect methods of gathering evidence. More healthy scepticism is needed to sort the wheat of actual sexual abuse from the chaff of flaky and false allegations, but there is no sign of it as yet.

  • Cubby

    BBC Scotland Politics Scotland this morning

    BACKGROUND – the Scottish branch of the Conservative and Unionist party go from 13 seats out of 59 in Scotland down to 6 seats – approx 10% of seats – losing more than half the seats in last months GE. The Tories have never ever won any election in Scotland not just General Election but Scot Parliament election or Council election.

    Gordon Brewer host of the show to deputy political editor of the Scottish Daily Mail – “The reality of the REVIVAL of the Tories in Scotland is it is entirely based on saying we’re the proper party of unionism …….

    Now how does losing more than half your seats constitute a revival? Nice bit of pro British Nationalism by Brewer.

    The Deputy political editor of the Scottish (joke) Daily Mail says ” they (being the Conservative party) went down SLIGHTLY in the General Election” – is this comment challenged by Brewer – not at all – so on BBC Political programmes the presenter is misleading the position re the Tories fortune in Scotland and the presenter let’s the Daily Mail guest get away with a blatant misrepresentation. Slightly in the world of the Daily Mail and the BBC is losing more than half your seats.

    Non stop propaganda is the norm in Scotland. If the media is controlled by the state you know you are not in a democracy.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    I once wrote a spoof job application for a senior civil servant job. One of the required questions to answer was:

    ‘How do you as a civil servant address your loyalites to your Minister?’ or the like (it is about 11 years ago that I wrote the offensive job application).

    I answered thus: ‘Whilst I undoubtedly intend serving my minister loyally, wholeheartedly and devotedly in principle, there may emerge certain challenges to this underlying principle in practice, which may cause me to inform my more senior Principals in practice, that my Minister’s unprincipled practices caused my practice of principled principles the sort of ethical and principled difficulties that render the principled principle of loyalty in principle to be stretched beyond the point of practical loyalty in practice’…

    Of course, having described previously in the job application how I had told a former colleague who had plotted to oust me (and who had inherited my vacant position after I resigned on principle) and now sought free advice on how to win the tenders I had lined up, to ‘Fuck off, you obnoxious cunt!’

    In a woke culture, there is no behaviour of a feminist that can justify a man calling her an obnoxious cunt, after all. Not refusing to report to him on day 1 of a new relationship imposed not by me but by a Chairman. Not having access to a presentation I had not shared with her nor had any intention of sharing with her. Nor having her tell me repeatedly that I did not want the job I held. I did not want it with her under me, that was for sure…

    First lesson of UK criminal culture: keep all your criminality behind closed doors and never swear.

    Be the most obnoxious cunt in one to one conversations, but never be anything but a woke feminist in public.

    Oh: and think you have more rights sponging for an MBA funding than those who paid for their own education.

    That gets you to the top.

    Along with embracing organised spying and surveillance as a perverted little psychopath……..

  • Alex Birnie

    If this is true, then the SNP (and independence) are finished. If the central thrust of this isn’t true, then you’ve done exactly what you are accusing others of ……. making insinuations that can’t be disproved.

    Like Cubby, I am going to suspend judgement until after the trial……

    • Alex Birnie

      I respect your sources of knowledge, Craig, but this accusation is so explosive, that it will blow the indy movement apart, if it turns out to be true. From your certainty, I can only assume that you have spoken personally to the “predecessor”, and that he will speak about it at the trial. If the “predecessor” confirms this accusation in court, I’ll be resigning my membership of the party immediately, and I’m fairly sure that I’ll be one of tens of thousands who do so. It will possibly mean the end of the SNP and therefore the indy movement, because too many people like me revere the “predecessor”.

      If he IS guilty, then it would be a case of another hero proving to have feet of clay – a disappointment – but you shake yourself down and carry on. If THIS is true, then it is an act of such utter perfidy on the part of the “minister”, that it could never be forgiven.

      The only hope for repairing the indy movement in that case, would be for the “predecessor” to be found not guilty, and to form a new indy party. Now THAT party would win regional votes at an election, in a way that Solidarity, RISE and the putative “Wings” party never would.

      In terms of Scottish independence, this is the most explosive blog you’ve ever written……

    • Tom Welsh

      Well, that’s two votes for Dr Kendrick so far.

      But to my mind it’s also important that his attitude to life is so much like Craig’s. They are even alike in having been blacklisted and blackguarded on social media for that quintessentially Scottish vice – telling the truth.

  • patrick kerrigan

    Brilliant but unfortunately a realistic outcome. The corrupt Establishment will do anything to maintain the Status Quo.

  • mike cassidy

    Your inexperience at writing fiction shows, Mr Murray.

    For this to be convincing

    You have to reveal as early as possible why the Minister would like to trash the reputation of their predecessor

    Then the accumulative effect of the trashing scenario works

    In the comedic sense

    Just saying!

  • pete

    Nice post. It is in the nature of satire that it not necessarily be funny, Swift’s modest proposal is not funny and 1984 even less so. The fact that this fan fiction seems to wryly reflect reality is just coincidence, nothing like this could happen in the real world, thanks to all the safeguards we are told about, that and our free press.

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