History Headscratchers / TheThickOfIt

25th Apr '17 2:27:55 AM DoctorNemesis
Is there an issue? Send a Message


*** There's also the fact that ''The Thick of It'' focusses mainly on political ''communication'', whereas ''Series/YesMinister'' focussed on political ''administration''. The conflict in the earlier show was between politicians trying to set policy and get civil servants to carry it out, and civil servants trying to block policy that they thought was impractical / ill-advised / works against their best interests. ''The Thick of It'', however, is more about spin, messaging and politicians trying to control how information is released to the public, and how their advisors / civil servants help or hinder with this. A Permanent Secretary is an important figure in terms of the overall administration of a government department, but when it comes to the message that would be handled more directly by a Director of Communications.

to:

*** There's also the fact that ''The Thick of It'' focusses mainly on political ''communication'', whereas ''Series/YesMinister'' focussed on political ''administration''. The conflict in the earlier show was between politicians trying to set policy and get civil servants to carry it out, and civil servants trying to block policy that they thought was impractical / ill-advised / works against their best interests. ''The Thick of It'', however, is more about spin, messaging and politicians trying to control how information is released to the public, and how their advisors / civil servants help or hinder with this. A Permanent Secretary is an important figure in terms of the overall administration of a government department, but when it comes to the message that would be handled more directly by a Director of Communications.Communications like Terri or Malcolm.
25th Apr '17 2:24:35 AM DoctorNemesis
Is there an issue? Send a Message


*** Well, this one's simple; there probably was a Permanent Secretary, we just didn't see him or her because the show wasn't about him or her, it was about political communications more than political administration, and focussed on more junior civil servants / advisors and their interactions with the minister. So we just assume he / she exists somewhere else running the overall department and focus on the other characters instead. After all, there's already been a show about Ministers and Permanent Secretaries, why do the same thing twice?
*** Agreed, until Robin shows up the department appears to consist entirely of Hugh, Glenn, Ollie and Terri. There must be more people in a government department and presumably the Permanent Secretary is somewhere among the rest of them. Terri's role appeared to be doing what the Minister told her (as the Director of Communications, she was naturally frequently needing to take directions from him in regards to what would be communicated) whereas presumably the Permanent Secretary was off being in charge of the other civil servants and acting largely autonomously. As much as the classic comedy lover in me would have loved to see a conversation between a Sir Humphrey expy and Malcolm Tucker (SesquipedalianLoquaciousness vs. SirSwearsALot), it's really no more unusual that the role didn't appear on TheThickOfIt than the fact that there were really no equivalents to Glenn and Ollie on YesMinister.

to:

*** Well, this one's simple; there probably was a Permanent Secretary, we just didn't see him or her because the show wasn't about him or her, it was about political communications more than political administration, and focussed on the more junior civil servants / advisors and their interactions with the minister. So we just assume he / she exists somewhere else running the overall department and focus on the other characters instead. After all, there's already been a show about Ministers and Permanent Secretaries, why do the same thing twice?
*** Agreed, until Robin shows up the department appears to consist entirely of Hugh, Glenn, Ollie and Terri. There must be more people in a government department and presumably the Permanent Secretary is somewhere among the rest of them. Terri's role appeared to be doing what the Minister told her (as the Director of Communications, she was naturally frequently needing to take directions from him in regards to what would be communicated) whereas presumably the Permanent Secretary was off being in charge of the other civil servants and acting largely autonomously. As much as the classic comedy lover in me would have loved to see a conversation between a Sir Humphrey expy and Malcolm Tucker (SesquipedalianLoquaciousness vs. SirSwearsALot), it's really no more unusual that the role didn't appear on TheThickOfIt than the fact that there were really no equivalents to Glenn and Ollie on YesMinister.YesMinister.
*** There's also the fact that ''The Thick of It'' focusses mainly on political ''communication'', whereas ''Series/YesMinister'' focussed on political ''administration''. The conflict in the earlier show was between politicians trying to set policy and get civil servants to carry it out, and civil servants trying to block policy that they thought was impractical / ill-advised / works against their best interests. ''The Thick of It'', however, is more about spin, messaging and politicians trying to control how information is released to the public, and how their advisors / civil servants help or hinder with this. A Permanent Secretary is an important figure in terms of the overall administration of a government department, but when it comes to the message that would be handled more directly by a Director of Communications.
24th Apr '17 11:51:38 PM DoctorNemesis
Is there an issue? Send a Message


*** Well, this one's simple; there probably was a Permanent Secretary, we just didn't see him or her because the show wasn't about him or her, it was about political communications more than political administration, and focussed on more junior civil servants / advisors and their interactions with the minister. So we just assume he / she exists somewhere else running the department and focus on the other characters instead. After all, there's already been a show about Ministers and Permanent Secretaries, why do the same thing twice?

to:

*** Well, this one's simple; there probably was a Permanent Secretary, we just didn't see him or her because the show wasn't about him or her, it was about political communications more than political administration, and focussed on more junior civil servants / advisors and their interactions with the minister. So we just assume he / she exists somewhere else running the overall department and focus on the other characters instead. After all, there's already been a show about Ministers and Permanent Secretaries, why do the same thing twice?
24th Apr '17 11:51:22 PM DoctorNemesis
Is there an issue? Send a Message


*** Well, this one's simple; there probably was a Permanent Secretary, we just didn't see him or her because the show wasn't about him or her, it was about the more junior civil servants / advisors and their interactions with the minister. So we just assume he / she exists somewhere else and focus on the other characters instead. After all, there's already been a show about Ministers and Permanent Secretaries, why do the same thing twice?

to:

*** Well, this one's simple; there probably was a Permanent Secretary, we just didn't see him or her because the show wasn't about him or her, it was about the political communications more than political administration, and focussed on more junior civil servants / advisors and their interactions with the minister. So we just assume he / she exists somewhere else running the department and focus on the other characters instead. After all, there's already been a show about Ministers and Permanent Secretaries, why do the same thing twice?
16th Jan '17 8:59:51 PM ApeAccount
Is there an issue? Send a Message


*** Well, this one's simple; there probably was a Permanent Secretary, we just didn't see him or her because the show wasn't about him or her, it was about the more junior civil servants / advisors and their interactions with the minister. So we just assume he / she exists somewhere else and focus on the other characters instead. After all, there's already been a show about Ministers and Permanent Secretaries, why do the same thing twice?

to:

*** Well, this one's simple; there probably was a Permanent Secretary, we just didn't see him or her because the show wasn't about him or her, it was about the more junior civil servants / advisors and their interactions with the minister. So we just assume he / she exists somewhere else and focus on the other characters instead. After all, there's already been a show about Ministers and Permanent Secretaries, why do the same thing twice?twice?
*** Agreed, until Robin shows up the department appears to consist entirely of Hugh, Glenn, Ollie and Terri. There must be more people in a government department and presumably the Permanent Secretary is somewhere among the rest of them. Terri's role appeared to be doing what the Minister told her (as the Director of Communications, she was naturally frequently needing to take directions from him in regards to what would be communicated) whereas presumably the Permanent Secretary was off being in charge of the other civil servants and acting largely autonomously. As much as the classic comedy lover in me would have loved to see a conversation between a Sir Humphrey expy and Malcolm Tucker (SesquipedalianLoquaciousness vs. SirSwearsALot), it's really no more unusual that the role didn't appear on TheThickOfIt than the fact that there were really no equivalents to Glenn and Ollie on YesMinister.
5th May '16 8:40:51 AM DoctorNemesis
Is there an issue? Send a Message


*** Well, this one's simple; there probably was a Permanent Secretary, we just didn't see him or her because the show wasn't about him or her, it was about the more junior civil servants / advisors and their interactions with the minister. So we just assume he / she exists somewhere else and focus on the other characters instead.

to:

*** Well, this one's simple; there probably was a Permanent Secretary, we just didn't see him or her because the show wasn't about him or her, it was about the more junior civil servants / advisors and their interactions with the minister. So we just assume he / she exists somewhere else and focus on the other characters instead. After all, there's already been a show about Ministers and Permanent Secretaries, why do the same thing twice?
5th May '16 8:34:48 AM DoctorNemesis
Is there an issue? Send a Message


**
*** I understand, but my real concern was that there didn't even seem to ''be'' a Permanent Secretary. It's not that the character is in the background, or even that the job has been left vacant for a long time (as I know to happen in some government departments), it's that the position doesn't seem to exist at all!

to:

**
*** I understand, but my real concern was that there didn't even seem to ''be'' a Permanent Secretary. It's not that the character is in the background, or even that the job has been left vacant for a long time (as I know to happen in some government departments), it's that the position doesn't seem to exist at all!all!
*** Well, this one's simple; there probably was a Permanent Secretary, we just didn't see him or her because the show wasn't about him or her, it was about the more junior civil servants / advisors and their interactions with the minister. So we just assume he / she exists somewhere else and focus on the other characters instead.
31st Jan '16 12:48:18 PM TommyR01D
Is there an issue? Send a Message


* Who is the new Sir Humphrey? We see directors of communications and plenty of special advisor but the Permanent Under-secretary of State for Social Affairs and Citizenship never appears (nor, for that matter, do there ever seem to by any junior ministers at DoSAC prior to the coalition).

to:

* Who is the new Sir Humphrey? We see directors of communications and plenty of special advisor advisors but the Permanent Under-secretary of State for Social Affairs and Citizenship never appears (nor, for that matter, do there ever seem to by any junior ministers at DoSAC prior to the coalition).



** There's also apathy to consider. Humphrey might not have have many convictions, but the few he did have mainly centred around the idea that the Civil Service as represented by him -- i.e. an elite of well-bred and privileged upper-to-middle class Oxbridge types with classical education, knowledge of Latin and plenty of gongs -- were the best people to govern Britain. He was, for all his cynicism, strangely idealistic in a way, since he genuinely seemed to believe -- or at least had deluded himself -- that his actions, no matter how self-serving, weren't just right, but were necessary for Britain. Hence, he was more dedicated and devoted, and thus was a bigger part of the story. Terri, however, lacks these convictions / delusions. She's got the self-interest bit, but she is under no pretensions that she's in it for Britain -- she's in it because she wants a decent civil service position with excellent security and benefits which she can basically kill time in until retirement, at which point she gets a decent pension. While the Civil Service might have had more Humphreys back in the day, in the 21st century environment of corporate-management-bullshit-style government I'm willing to bet that most civil servants are generally more like Terri, who are just happy to keep their heads down, muddle through, not cause any huge cock-ups or scandals and basically just ride the gravy train as long as they can. Hence, they're more in the background.

to:

** There's also apathy to consider. Humphrey might not have have many convictions, but the few he did have mainly centred around the idea that the Civil Service as represented by him -- i.e. an elite of well-bred and privileged upper-to-middle class Oxbridge types with classical education, knowledge of Latin and plenty of gongs -- were the best people to govern Britain. He was, for all his cynicism, strangely idealistic in a way, since he genuinely seemed to believe -- or at least had deluded himself -- that his actions, no matter how self-serving, weren't just right, but were necessary for Britain. Hence, he was more dedicated and devoted, and thus was a bigger part of the story. Terri, however, lacks these convictions / delusions. She's got the self-interest bit, but she is under no pretensions that she's in it for Britain -- she's in it because she wants a decent civil service position with excellent security and benefits which she can basically kill time in until retirement, at which point she gets a decent pension. While the Civil Service might have had more Humphreys back in the day, in the 21st century environment of corporate-management-bullshit-style government I'm willing to bet that most civil servants are generally more like Terri, who are just happy to keep their heads down, muddle through, not cause any huge cock-ups or scandals and basically just ride the gravy train as long as they can. Hence, they're more in the background.background.
**
***I understand, but my real concern was that there didn't even seem to ''be'' a Permanent Secretary. It's not that the character is in the background, or even that the job has been left vacant for a long time (as I know to happen in some government departments), it's that the position doesn't seem to exist at all!
25th Oct '15 7:19:41 AM DoctorNemesis
Is there an issue? Send a Message


** The "thesis" of ''Yes, Minister'' was that unelected career civil servants (like Sir Humphrey) were too powerful because they held an information advantage over elected legislators/cabinet ministers (like Jim Hacker), and that was why the latter could never get anything done. The "thesis" of ''The Thick of It'' is different: It's that, in the new media environment, both permanent civil servants (like Terri) and elected legislators/cabinet ministers (like Cliff Lawton, Hugh, and Nicola) are at the mercy of spin doctors and image-makers (like Malcolm, Jamie, initially Stewart, and "the Fucker"). Terri is the closest equivalent to Sir Humphrey in this new scenario, and like him, she has job security, isn't accountable to the electorate for getting things done, and can be a "blockage" (or at least the ministers and advisors find it easy to scapegoat her for this). But in terms of power to set things in motion (or stop them), she's obviously got much less than Malcolm.

to:

** The "thesis" of ''Yes, Minister'' was that unelected career civil servants (like Sir Humphrey) were too powerful because they held an information advantage over elected legislators/cabinet ministers (like Jim Hacker), and that was why the latter could never get anything done. The "thesis" of ''The Thick of It'' is different: It's that, in the new media environment, both permanent civil servants (like Terri) and elected legislators/cabinet ministers (like Cliff Lawton, Hugh, and Nicola) are at the mercy of spin doctors and image-makers (like Malcolm, Jamie, initially Stewart, and "the Fucker"). Terri is the closest equivalent to Sir Humphrey in this new scenario, and like him, she has job security, isn't accountable to the electorate for getting things done, and can be a "blockage" (or at least the ministers and advisors find it easy to scapegoat her for this). But in terms of power to set things in motion (or stop them), she's obviously got much less than Malcolm.Malcolm.
** There's also apathy to consider. Humphrey might not have have many convictions, but the few he did have mainly centred around the idea that the Civil Service as represented by him -- i.e. an elite of well-bred and privileged upper-to-middle class Oxbridge types with classical education, knowledge of Latin and plenty of gongs -- were the best people to govern Britain. He was, for all his cynicism, strangely idealistic in a way, since he genuinely seemed to believe -- or at least had deluded himself -- that his actions, no matter how self-serving, weren't just right, but were necessary for Britain. Hence, he was more dedicated and devoted, and thus was a bigger part of the story. Terri, however, lacks these convictions / delusions. She's got the self-interest bit, but she is under no pretensions that she's in it for Britain -- she's in it because she wants a decent civil service position with excellent security and benefits which she can basically kill time in until retirement, at which point she gets a decent pension. While the Civil Service might have had more Humphreys back in the day, in the 21st century environment of corporate-management-bullshit-style government I'm willing to bet that most civil servants are generally more like Terri, who are just happy to keep their heads down, muddle through, not cause any huge cock-ups or scandals and basically just ride the gravy train as long as they can. Hence, they're more in the background.
25th Aug '15 8:23:49 AM molesborough
Is there an issue? Send a Message


** Was this really out of character? OK, Glenn is the most moral character on the show in the sense that he actually HAS some principles (which many TTOI characters, e.g. Ollie and Adam, plainly lacked). But he wasn't above lying or insincerity, and his principles always took a back seat to the priority of keeping his job, at least until [[spoiler: he resigns in the last episode and delivers his [[http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheReasonYouSuckSpeech "The Reason You Suck" Speech]] to his colleagues]]. His switch to a new party in Season 4 is seemingly motivated by job security concerns. At the time of the e-mail scandal, keeping his own job meant helping Hugh keep his, even if it meant shifting blame for something Hugh said to someone like Terri, whose reputation he didn't have a stake in. He didn't even stay mad at Hugh for cynically using his own son as an example to get out of a tight spot at an inquiry; in the Specials, he's right back in Hugh's corner, trying to secure a place for him in the new cabinet. If he's willing to make moral compromises like this in matters affecting his own family, why should we expect him to go out of his way (or defy Hugh) for Terri? In later seasons, we see him shamelessly sucking up to Nicola, Fergus, and the Goolding inquisitors, [[spoiler: and even lying under oath.]] He may have enough scruples to feel remorse about these compromises of integrity, but still goes through with them.

to:

** Was this really out of character? OK, Glenn is the most moral character on the show in the sense that he actually HAS some principles (which many TTOI characters, e.g. Ollie and Adam, plainly lacked). But he wasn't above lying or insincerity, and his principles always took a back seat to the priority of keeping his job, at least until [[spoiler: he resigns in the last episode and delivers his [[http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheReasonYouSuckSpeech "The Reason You Suck" Speech]] to his colleagues]]. His switch to a new party in Season 4 is seemingly motivated by job security concerns. At the time of the e-mail scandal, keeping his own job meant helping Hugh keep his, even if it meant shifting blame for something Hugh said to someone like Terri, whose reputation he didn't have a stake in. He didn't even stay mad at Hugh for cynically using his own son as an example to get out of a tight spot at an inquiry; during the Select Committee's questioning; in the Specials, he's right back in Hugh's corner, trying to secure a place for him in the new cabinet. If he's willing to make moral compromises like this in matters affecting his own family, why should we expect him to go out of his way (or defy Hugh) for Terri? In later seasons, we see him shamelessly sucking up to Nicola, Fergus, and the Goolding inquisitors, [[spoiler: and even lying under oath.]] He may have enough scruples to feel remorse about these compromises of integrity, but still goes through with them.
This list shows the last 10 events of 54. Show all.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Headscratchers.TheThickOfIt