Sir Humphrey lives in Kingston

I attended a meeting organised by Tolworth and Hook Rise Conservatives on Friday evening. The hot topic was the Council’s plans for the improvement of Tolworth Broadway.

Much discussed was the consultation questionnaire the Council had put out to selected roads. It hadn’t been warmly received and, on reading it, I could see why. One was presented with a series of ‘yes/no’ questions to which it was almost impossible for a rational person to answer ‘no’.

I could almost hear, as I read, the conversation this would have provoked between James Hacker and Sir Humphrey Appleby:-

Hacker: I’m not very happy with this questionnaire, Humphrey.

Appleby: Oh really Minister. Why ever not?

H: Reading the answers I’m no wiser as to what people think of the scheme!

A: (smiling) Really Minister? Thank you, I’ll pass on your compliments to the Circumlocution Department. They will be pleased!

H: (indignant) It wasn’t meant as a compliment! Consultations are supposed to tell the Administration what people think………aren’t they?

A: Why ever should we want to know that?

H: So we can respond to their wishes and give them something they’d like!

A: (shocked) Really Minister – there are times…….(smiling again) We already know what they want better than they do. Consultation is about getting them to agree that they want what we know they want – or ought to want. It’s not about finding out their views, it’s about persuading them to either agree with us or keep quiet.

H: But that’s really all just a confidence trick on the public…….isn’t it?

A: (exasperated) Yes Minister!


About pauljohnston

Elected as Conservative councillor in Surbiton Hill, Kingston upon Thames in 1998. Re-elected 2002 and 2006. Former parliamentary candidate in Lancashire and Birmingham. Ceased to be a Councillor (temporarily?) in 2010. Active among Residents' Associations in Surbiton Hill and among residents in social housing generally. Former teacher of History at St. Brendan's College Bristol and Head of History and Politics at the London Oratory School. Worked with Sutton Trust running summer schools for sixth formers at Oxford University from 1997-2000 aiming to improve uptake of places from pupils from state schools which sent very few applicants to Oxbridge.
This entry was posted in Campaigning, Conservatives, Environment, Politics, Ward. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Sir Humphrey lives in Kingston

  1. I might just say man, your page is one of the best. I found it by scouring around Bing and imo I am without a doubt grateful that I did. Keep it up.

  2. Just stumbled upon the post – I didn’t realise you had two blogs! Well said! This is exactly my view of the second stage consultation – residents have the choice between backing the scheme, or fully supporting it. Democracy inaction!

  3. pauljohnston says:

    Yes Rob – I have two. You’ve heard of Two-Brains Willetts and Two-Jags Prescott? Well this is Two-Blogs Johnston! I tend to use this one for commenting in detail on political matters that interest me but aren’t aimed just at Surbiton Hill

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