Old clip from 'Yes, Minister' sees viewers draw parallels with today's politics

Not for the first time, a clip from Yes Minister has gone viral since it perfectly encapsulates the state of British politics in the present day.

The sitcom, which ran for three series on BBC2 in the early 1980s before becoming Yes Prime Minister between 1986 and 1988, concerned the ministerial career of Jim Hacker and his work in the fictional Department of Administrative Affairs.

The show’s genius, like Armando Iannucci’s The Thick of It a couple of decades later, lay in the fact that its depiction of venal, self-serving politics interested in little more than power for its own sake would never date.

The gags in topical panel shows can be difficult to decipher just a few years after airing but these sitcoms deal with more fundamental truths about those in power than berating specific politicians.

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In the video, shared by literary agent Jonny Geller, Principal Private Secretary Sir Bernard Woolley is informed that his “master”, Hacker, could be the next prime minister.

Clearly staggered by the suggestion, the man checks to make sure it’s not April Fools’ Day before stumbling over his words at the sheer shock of the idea. The scene concludes with Sir Humphrey instructing:

"So we trust you to make sure that your Minister does nothing incisive or divisive over the next few weeks… Expresses no firm opinion about anything at all.”

And the reply?

“Yes, well, I think that is probably what he was planning to do anyway.”

Time is clearly a flat circle. While it can be tempting to believe vacuous politicians without convictions are a relatively new phenomenon, clearly they have been around for decades.

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