While watching HIGFNY and watching them make jokes about the Daily Mail, as per usual, I remembered hhertzof telling me, unsurprisingly, that she didn’t get some of the things they talked about. And I thought of the bit in Yes, Minister where they explain the different British newspapers:
The Daily Mirror is read by people who think they run the country
The Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country
The Times is read by people who actually do run the country
the Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country
the Financial Times is read by people who own the country
The Morning Star is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country
The Daily Telegraph is read by people who think it is
Sun readers don’t care who runs the country, as long as she’s got big tits
(there’s a clip with this info in it on youtube)
My favourite bit is from Yes, Prime Minister, I think, where Sir Humphrey explains to Bernard how market research works:
Humphrey:You know what happens: nice young lady comes up to you. Obviously you want to create a good impression, you don’t want to look a fool, do you? So she starts asking you some questions: “Mr. Woolley, are you worried about the number of young people without jobs?”
Humphrey:”Are you worried about the rise in crime among teenagers?”
Humphrey:”Do you think there is a lack of discipline in our Comprehensive schools?”
Humphrey:”Do you think young people welcome some authority and leadership in their lives?”
Humphrey:”Do you think they respond to a challenge?”
Humphrey:”Would you be in favour of reintroducing National Service?”
Bernard:Oh…well, I suppose I might be.
Humphrey:”Yes or no?”
Humphrey:Of course you would, Bernard. After all you told her you can’t say no to that. So they don’t mention the first five questions and they publish the last one.
Bernard:Is that really what they do?
Humphrey:Well, not the reputable ones no, but there aren’t many of those. So alternatively the young lady can get the opposite result.
Humphrey:”Mr. Woolley, are you worried about the danger of war?”
Humphrey:”Are you worried about the growth of armaments?”
Humphrey:”Do you think there is a danger in giving young people guns and teaching them how to kill?”
Humphrey:”Do you think it is wrong to force people to take up arms against their will?”
Humphrey:”Would you oppose the reintroduction of National Service?”
Humphrey:There you are, you see Bernard. The perfect balanced sample.
(this one you can listen to on this site)
For anyone who doesn’t know what Yes, (Prime) Minister is, it’s a very clever comedy from the early 80s about Ministers trying to stay sane in the face of civil servants. It’s also apparently very true to life on often on BBC7 since most of it is just three men in a room talking, but still manages to be very funny. And if you’re not cynical about government before you watch it, you certainly will be by the time you’ve seen an episode.