Sunday, June 26, 2016

Yes Prime Minister on Britain's attitude to Europe

As so often with this series and its predecessor Yes Minister, there is a lot of truth in this clip.

It reminds us that it was the Conservatives who promoted the expansion of the European Union after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

In part this was out of a wholly creditable desire to embed democratic institutions in the newly liberated nations of Eastern Europe.

And in part it was due, if not to cynical motives laid out by Sir Humphrey, then to a hope that a wider Europe would prove shallower and there would be less of a desire for direction from the centre.

In the event this hope was dashed. It turned out in those heady, optimistic days that Eastern nations would accept any amount of direction if membership of the EU was the prize.

The other night I was listening to an interview with Derek Fowlds (Bernard in the clip above) - as you do when you can't sleep.

Fowlds, a working-class lad, was daunted by the prospect of playing a Civil Service high flyer and turned up for the first rehearsal with a posh accent and a pair of spectacles.

Paul Eddington had little time for these gimmicks and advised him: "Just talk to me the way you did to Basil Brush."

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