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Fridge / Yes, Minister

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Fridge Brilliance

  • In "The Smoke Screen", Dr. Thorne's anti-smoking proposals are viewed as impractically radical and impossible to implement, and he is eventually Kicked Upstairs into a job in the Treasury to get him out of the way. While convincing him to accept the Treasury job, Hacker — who has simply been using Thorne's proposals as leverage for some less expensive but equally unpopular proposals of his own — argues that the problem with getting Thorne's policies implemented would be with the Treasury, not the Department of Health, and frames the new job as a way of getting them implemented via the back door. Fast-forward thirty years, where Dr. Thorne's seemingly ridiculous proposals are now, in the real world, widely accepted as government policy towards smoking. Apparently Dr. Thorne was more successful in the Treasury job than anyone expected...

Fridge Logic

  • Since it's the Department of Administrative Affairs (rather than a ministry), surely Hacker should have been a Secretary of State for all of the first three seasons.
    • No. And Yes. 'Minister' is a title used for both Ministers and Secretaries of State in informal discussions. The transition to all departments having a Secretary of State started in the '60s and was not complete until the '90s.
    • The Doylist answer is probably that Yes, Minister as a title / catchphrase is more catchy than Yes, Secretary of State. As for an in-universe answer, it's possibly just one of those little quirks of the British cabinet system (sort of like the minister in charge of the Treasury being known as the Chancellor of the Exchequer rather than, say, the Treasury Secretary).
      • The Watsonian answer is that the Department of Administrative Affairs is a Kicked Upstairs position by all accounts as Hacker, despite becoming Prime Minister through a combination of Xanatos Gambit and sheer dumb luck, is shown to have very little real power. He's constantly dealing with petty crises and the few real crises he deals with are usually footballs which have landed in his lap. The vagueness of the title, of course, is due to the fact Hacker can and does deal with everything the writers want him to do without any according respect.
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    • While most departments today are headed by a Secretary of State, this wasn't really the case in the 1980s; the process to streamline things this way only began with Harold Wilson in the 1960s but, like most things with the British political system, it took its sweet time. Presumably no one had gotten around to changing the official title of the person who headed up the Department of Administrative Affairs when Hacker was put in charge.