My favorite television show of all time is Yes Minister and its sequel, Yes Prime Minister. This 1980s comedy, produced by the BBC, offers on-going and deep lessons in public choice. Here’s one of my favorite scenes; this scene features the P.M.’s chief permanent secretary (Sir Humphrey) seeking advice, over lunch, from his predecessor in that secretarial role, Sir Arnold .
Humphrey wants to persuade parliament to approve a 43-percent pay raise (or “rise,” as the Brits say) for the civil service. But the U.K. is in the midst of a financial crisis. So how to get such a large pay raise? Simple: trickery and deceit. Tune in starting at about the 8-minute mark to see how Arnold (seated to the viewer’s left) teachs Humphrey one of the fine arts of political legerdemain.