Quotations by Lynn, Jonathan


BERNARD: But surely the citizens of a democracy have a right to know.
SIR HUMPHREY: No. They have a right to be ignorant. Knowledge only means complicity in guilt; ignorance has a certain dignity.

Jonathan Lynn (b. 1943) English actor, comedy writer, director
Yes Minister, S1E1 “Open Government” (25 Feb 1980) [with Anthony Jay]
Added on 25-Feb-20 | Last updated 25-Feb-20
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SIR HUMPHREY: Well, Minister, if you ask me for a straight answer, then I shall say that, as far as we can see, looking at it by and large, taking one thing with another in terms of the average of departments, then in the final analysis it is probably true to say, that at the end of the day, in general terms, you would probably find that, not to put too fine a point on it, there probably wasn’t very much in it one way or the other. As far as one can see, at this stage.

Jonathan Lynn (b. 1943) English actor, comedy writer, director
Yes Minister, S1E5 “The Writing on the Wall” (24 Mar 1980) [with Anthony Jay
Added on 3-Mar-20 | Last updated 3-Mar-20
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BETTY OLDHAM: Look, Sir Humphrey, whatever we ask the Minister, he says is an administrative question for you, and whatever we ask you, you say is a policy question for the Minister. How do you suggest we find out what is going on?

SIR HUMPHREY: Yes, yes, yes, I do see that there is a real dilemma here. In that, while it has been government policy to regard policy as a responsibility of Ministers and administration as a responsibility of Officials, the questions of administrative policy can cause confusion between the policy of administration and the administration of policy, especially when responsibility for the administration of the policy of administration conflicts, or overlaps with, responsibility for the policy of the administration of policy.

BETTY OLDHAM: Well, that’s a load of meaningless drivel. Isn’t it?

SIR HUMPHREY: It’s not for me to comment on government policy. You must ask the Minister.

Jonathan Lynn (b. 1943) English actor, comedy writer, director
Yes Minister, S2E7 “A Question of Loyalty” (9 Apr 1981) [with Anthony Jay]
Added on 10-Mar-20 | Last updated 10-Mar-20
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SIR HUMPHREY: A cynic is what an idealist calls a realist.

Jonathan Lynn (b. 1943) English actor, comedy writer, director
Yes Minister, S3E4 “The Moral Dimension” (1982) [with Antony Jay]
Added on 28-Jan-20 | Last updated 28-Jan-20
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You mean, your statistics are facts, but my facts are just statistics.

Jonathan Lynn (b. 1943) English actor, comedy writer, director
Yes, Prime Minister, S1E3 “The Smokescreen” (23 Jan 1986) [with Anthony Jay]
Added on 11-Feb-20 | Last updated 11-Feb-20
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BERNARD. It’s one of those irregular verbs, isn’t it: I have an independent mind, you are eccentric, he is round the twist.

Jonathan Lynn (b. 1943) English actor, comedy writer, director
Yes, Prime Minister, S1E7 “The Bishop’s Gambit” (1986) [with Antony Jay]
Added on 24-May-10 | Last updated 28-Jan-20
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