Minister: So Sir Humphrey, what did you think about my appearance on Newsnight?
Sir Humphrey : I’d rather not minister
Minister: I thought that I got my points across rather well.
Sir Humphrey: Indeed minister, you got your points across, but the question is, were they the right points?
Minister: what do you mean?
Sir Humphrey: well minister, housing is one of those perennially difficult areas that senior ministers find impossible to deal with and junior ministers (turns steely eyes to minister who flinches) would do well to stay away from entirely. If they ever expect to become senior ministers, that is.
Minister: but I am the planning minister, I have to have a view on housing!
Sir Humphrey: no, no, no, minister, that is not the case at all, why if every minister had a ‘view’ on every aspect of their portfolio, we would never get anything done. Best leave this one to the experts.
Minister: who are they?
Sir Humphrey: well, we usually turn to our friends at the HBF in times like this.
Minister: The House Builders Federation? But they’re the ones carpeting the countryside with ‘pig’ ugly housing, we can’t do that.
Sir Humphrey: well they do donate generously to party coffers minister, so unless you have an alternative source of funding for your next election campaign (looks at watch) coming along shortly, I’d be a little nicer to them. Of course you could always go back to your, ahem, career instead.
Minister: well maybe ‘pig’ ugly was a bit harsh.
Sir Humphrey: Yes Minister!