Words of wisdom

I THINK it’s time I came clean. A Freedom of Information request has been received for the memo below, so I figured I would simply publish it now rather than allow it to come out at some later date. I wrote it on the day I was appointed as a minister and I reckon the advice to civil servants has stood the test of time.




Filed under Department for Transport, Government, Parliament, Whimsy

26 responses to “Words of wisdom

  1. I might not like your party (at all, in fact if I got in power I’d be asking the CPS to draw up some charges for some of your colleagues to answer, maybe some at The Hague like crimes against humanity. Pray that I don’t.) or your government’s rule (I look in dismay as I see my country has turned into a failing Police State), but I must admit I like your sense of humour, and I am genuinely sorry you’re no longer in the Government. I daresay you’d do a better job than GB (although lets face it, few could do worse) as PM, although I’d hope you’d have sense enough to scale back CCTV, scrap ID cards, revoke the anti-terror laws you’ve brought in and numerous other things….

    Here’s hoping you stay in Scotland after independence, your party could do with someone who has your charisma, humour (not to mention pulse) in Holyrood.

  2. John

    No mention of staff having to dress up in Dr Who alien figures every second Tuesday or keep their sonic screwdrivers sharp then? 🙂

  3. very good Tom – love number 6

  4. Johnny Norfolk

    You have missed off the coffee. Or is it not drunk in Scotland.

    Q. Who said ” We are the masters now” ?

    A. Clement Attlee on becomming Prime Minister.

    Sounds familiar. !!!!!

  5. So that was a wig you were wearing at all those railway conferences where you gave the keynote address?

  6. Daniel W. Simon

    Very funny indeed. I particularly liked the bit about using the Red Box to pretend to be Chancellor. It honestly cracked me up. Like a Ministerial version of playing “house.”

  7. Madasafish

    13 is very apt. Pity your Party leaders did not see it before they “dispensed” with your services.

    Superb post.

    Keep up the humor, keeps us sane.. well sort of…

  8. Brilliant, pity there aren’t more politicians like you around.

    I do hope some second rate hack doesn’t use it in a negative way.

    The roasting I got from The Herald after I used an expletive on my blog was bad enough. Goodness knows what some humourless clown would make of your memo.

  9. John

    Thanks for my first Chrismas Card of the year, Tom.

    Well, it is from you….indirectly….the UK Government does wholly own The Post Office ..and that’s who it is from. Proper one too, in an envelope, bet it cost quite a bit to design it.

    I assume they will be despatching this to every household in the country ’cause I’m not usually on their Christmas list.
    Wonder how much that’ll cost.

    Can’t send you one back though Tom, the local Post Office is about to close down, losing lots of money I hear. and it’s 4 miles to the next nearest one to buy a stamp.

    I can be the first one to wish you, on your blog, a Happy Chhristmas though 🙂

  10. AngryVoter

    I laughed the whole way through. Much better written than Mister Byrne’s…

  11. Hope you passed this briefing note over to Adonis before you left?

  12. Johnny Norfolk

    PS Tom

    It was very funny. I printed it and passed it round at lunch today. we were at the Belgium Monk in Norwich very good. all Belgium beer no other place like it.

  13. Charles Foster

    Johnny Norfolk should get both his quotes and his Labour politicians right. The quote he uses is frequently attributed to Hartley Shawcross, but in fact what he said was:
    “We are the masters at the moment and shall be be for some considerable time.”
    see http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Hartley_Shawcross

  14. Toker

    I had a card too! But I cut mine up to make roaches.

  15. Danus McKinlay

    Ha Ha Ha – Tom if you ever think it’s not your cup of tea anymore being an MP you really should try stand up that memo was fantastic I am still laughing at it – Number 12!!!!

    You are a legend Mr Harris an absolute legend

    Looking forward to seeing you very soon, hopefully before christmas the city party should arrange some social – I think I may suggest that one!


  16. That’s rather amusing Tom, well done.

  17. Jim Baxter

    ‘Goodness knows what some humourless clown would make of your memo’.

    Sad to say, I think we already know the answer to that.

  18. Chris

    Johnny Norfolk:

    Q. Who said ” We are the masters now” ?

    A. Clement Attlee on becomming Prime Minister.

    No no, dear boy. Attlee would never have been so vulgar. It was Sir Hartley Shawcross, Oldlab’s Attorney-General in 1945, and what he said was, ‘We are the masters at the moment, and for a very long time to come.’ He was aka Sir Shortly Floorcross, thanks to Bernard Levin, and floor cross he did, being fundamentally sensible. Did a bang-up job prosecuting the Nazis war criminals at Nuremburg, too.

    Like the memo, Mr Harris. I guess you have to have either a well-developed or absolutely no sense of humour to be a member of the Labour Party.

  19. Livened up an otherwise stressful day. Thank you.

  20. El Toro

    Fairplay Tom.

    Critical of the political but amused by the banter.

  21. Tacitus

    Not as good as Liam Byrne’s :-). He must be fun to work for, and he certainly has a very high opinion of how important he is.


    Who is he, anyway?

    Here’s a taste …

    He tells his officials: ‘We need to produce a grid . . . outlining [the] story of the week. Once something has been slotted into a grid, my expectation is it will be delivered. Moving something from a grid slot is a very, very big deal.’

    No more spin. Quite so. How many of these lowlifes are we now paying for, Tom?

  22. Martin Cullip

    That is really funny Tom, fantastic. 🙂

  23. This is absolute genius!! Though I wish I had read it in private – people in internet cafés don’t seem to like being disturbed by a lone man’s hysterical laughter…

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