Yes Minister is a highly regarded 1980s BBC satire on politics and politicians. In this brilliantly done episode, minister Jim Hacker learns that the British government is selling arms to Italian Red Brigade terrorists. Suffering from the delusion that he is a man of principle, he confronts his permanent secretary, Sir Humphrey Appleby, about the matter. In the conversation that follows (from 7:40 to 16:40 minutes in the youtube below) the insufferably self-assured civil servant explains the facts of life to the naive politician—and to us. When I began watching this series I felt that the pervasive cynicism and lack of principle was being exaggerated for comedic effect. By the time I got to the end I suspected that it was understated compared with the reality. In any case, the dilemma that the minister finds himself in for listening to his conscience is informative as well as amusing.
Yes Minister, Season 3, Episode 6: The Whiskey Priest
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