I was watching an episode of Yes, Minister last night and Sir Humphrey’s stalling technique put me in mind of much of the activity of the Better Together campaign.
I’ve underlined the techniques. See if you can think of the stories you’ve seen that would go with each technique.
In the comments if you fancy…
Jim: Stalling technique?
Tom: Yeah, comes in five stages. First of all he’ll tell you that your administration is very new and that there’s lots of things to be getting on with.
Jim: Told me that this morning.
Tom: Eh, quite. Then if you still persist whatever your idea is he’ll say something like, er yes Minister I quite appreciate the intention certainly something ought to be done but are you sure this is the right way to achieve it.
Jim: I must make a note of this.
Tom: Now if you are still unperturbed he will shift his ground, he will shift from telling you how to do, to when you should do it, you know I mean he’ll say now Minister this is not the right time, for all sorts of reasons.
Jim: What and he expects Ministers to settle for that.
Tom: Well lots do and if you don’t he’ll simply say that the policy has run into difficulties.
Jim: Such as?
Tom: Technical, political, legal. Now legal are the best sort because he can make these totally incomprehensible and with any luck this stalling technique will have lasted for about three years and you’ll know that you’re at the final stage where he says now Minister we’re getting very close to the run up to the next general election are you sure you can get this policy through.