Saturday, March 24, 2012

Awards, God and Politicians

The Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George is a British order of chivalry founded in 1818 and is awarded to men and women who render extraordinary or important non-military service in a foreign country. It can also be conferred for important or loyal service in relation to foreign and Commonwealth affairs

The order has 3 classes:

  1. Companion of St Michael and St George (CMG)

  1. Knight Commander (KCMG) or Dame Commander (DCMG)

  1. Knight Grand Cross or Dame Grand Cross (GCMG), the highest class of the award.

Which is all by way of introduction to a great quote from the British TV sitcom Yes, Minister, which was produced between 1980 and 1984. (It was followed by Yes, Prime Minister from 1986-1988).  In one episode Principal Private Secretary Bernard Wolleey tells British Member of Parliament Jim Hacker what the initials of the honours jokingly mean:

Woolley: “In the service, CMG stands for ‘Call Me God’. And KCMG for ‘Kindly Call Me God' ".

Hacker: “What does GCMG stand for?”

Woolley: "God Calls Me God".

James Bond was decorated with the CMG in the novel From Russia with Love.  He was later offered the KCMG in The Man with the Golden Gun but declined in that he did not wish to become a public identity.

Some more quotes from Yes, Minister:

"'The matter is under consideration' means we have lost the file. 'The matter is under active consideration' means we are trying to find the file."

"The Prime Minister doesn't want the truth, he wants something he can tell Parliament."

"The Letters JB in capitals are one of the highest Commonwealth honours. They stand for Jailed by the British. The order includes Gandhi, Nkrumah, Makarios, Ben Gurion, Kenyatta, Nheru, Mugabe and many other world leaders."

"It is only totalitarian governments that suppress facts. In this country we simply take a democratic decision not to publish them."

"The Common Market: We went into it to screw the French by splitting them off from the Germans. The French went in to protect their inefficient farmers from commercial competition. The Germans went in to purge themselves of genocide and apply for readmission to the human race."

"It was a good idea to partition countries like India and Cyprus and Palestine and Ireland as a part of their independence. It keeps them busy fighting each other so we don't' have to have a policy about them."

"Diplomacy is about surviving to the next century. Politics is about surviving until Friday afternoon."

"The public aren't interested in foreign affairs. All they want to know is who are the goodies and who are the baddies."

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