JIM HACKER MP: What is the purpose of government if not for doing good?
SIR HUMPHREY: Government isn’t about good and evil. It’s about order or chaos.
JIM HACKER MP: It’s in order for Italian terrorists to get British bombs?
SIR HUMPHREY: *shrugs*
JIM HACKER MP: You don’t care?
SIR HUMPHREY: It’s not my job to care. That’s what politicians are for. My job is to carry out policy.
JIM HACKER MP: Even if you think it’s wrong?
SIR HUMPHREY: Almost all government policy is wrong, but … frightfully well carried out!
JIM HACKER MP: Have you ever known a civil servant to resign on a matter of principle?
SIR HUMPHREY: I should think not! What an appalling suggestion!
JIM HACKER MP: For the first time, I fully understand that you are purely committed to means and not ends!
SIR HUMPHREY: As far as I’m concerned, and all my colleagues, there is no difference between means and ends.
JIM HACKER MP: If you believe that, Humphrey, you will go to hell.
SIR HUMPHREY: Minister, I had no idea you had a theological bent.
JIM HACKER MP: You are a moral vacuum.
SIR HUMPHREY: If you say so, Minister.
SIR HUMPHREY: What’s the matter, Bernard?
BERNARD: Nothing really, Sir Humphrey.
SIR HUMPHREY: You look unhappy.
BERNARD: I was wondering if the minister was right.
SIR HUMPHREY: Very unlikely. What about?
BERNARD: About ends and means. Will I end up as a moral vacuum, too?
SIR HUMPHREY: Oh, I hope so, Bernard. If you work hard enough.
– Yes Minister, “The Whisky Priest” (1982)
On a long journey home passing through south west Sydney yesterday, I was startled to see giant billboards on the M7 sternly warning that, “If he wins, you lose”:
You see, I have been avoiding the mainstream media — especially TV — even more than usual during this election campaign. Frankly, it turns my stomach.
So I was not aware that our governing political party — the one whose former leader recently returned to the leadership, and pointedly pontificated from the heights of his self-erected moral pedestal about ending the “politics of negativity”, with “A New Way” that would transcend “3 word slogans” — had proclaimed to the world their complete and utter moral vacuity, by launching a 100% negative attack advertising campaign:
If you cast a ballot in favour of a political party that is so clearly and repulsively hypocritical, that is so obsessed with ends that it is no longer capable of distinguishing between means and ends, then perhaps you are well on the way to becoming a moral vacuum too.