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Part Two of 'The principle of the thing' - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
wemyss
wemyss
Part Two of 'The principle of the thing'

 

 

SCENE 3.

INT., MINISTER FOR MAGIC’S OFFICE.

DRACO MALFOY, CABINET SEC’Y:         Minister.  Pursuant to your instructions, I have here the preliminary notes towards an initial proposal for a working guideline for a first consideration of the preparatory outline of the programme you have adumbrated with reference to the intended canvassing of the possibility of a change in trade status with the current government of Transylvania.

RT HON NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM:           Veal and mutton must be a Knut for the pound, man!  There’s less parchment than yon in Ormskirk Wizarding Archive!

DRACO MALFOY, CABINET SEC’Y:         You did request these rough notes, Minister.

RT HON NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM:           Nay, lad, I wanted programme drawn up. Ernie?  See to it.  And what of the proposed visit by that Transylvanian bugger, eh?

DRACO MALFOY, CABINET SEC’Y:         Minister, I implore you to reconsider that issue.  There is the distinct possibility of an international incident of the utmost gravity.

ERNIE MACMILLAN, PPS:                           Or levity.

DRACO MALFOY, CABINET SEC’Y:         Ernie!

RT HON NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM:           There’ll be no reconsideration, Draco.  It’s the principle of the thing.  The man was an unabashed supporter of the Death Eaters.

DRACO MALFOY, CABINET SEC’Y:         Not unabashed, Minister.  Indeed, since they lost, he’s been quite remarkably abashed.

ERNIE MACMILLAN, PPS:                          To the point of rewriting his personal history, actually.

RT HON NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM:           Thank you, Ernie, that will do.  No.  He is simply not the sort of person whom we can possibly allow to come here.

DRACO MALFOY, CABINET SEC’Y:         As a matter of principle, Minister?

RT HON NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM:           Precisely that.

DRACO MALFOY, CABINET SEC’Y:         Well, of course, Minister, the decision is yours entirely.

RT HON NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM:           Hah.

DRACO MALFOY, CABINET SEC’Y:         But I must counsel you that, as Ernie has indicated, he has of late publicly and politically – shall we say, rediscovered? – his part-Veela heritage, which he discreetly suppressed during the days of the prior regime in his country, who were open supporters of the Death Eaters.

RT HON NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM:           And in which he was a minor functionary.

DRACO MALFOY, CABINET SEC’Y:         But not openly in support of the Death Eaters, Minister.

RT HON NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM:           Nonetheless, the man’s tainted by the association.

DRACO MALFOY, CABINET SEC’Y:         Oh, quite, Minister.  I merely advert you to the principle of the thing.  Should it appear, or be made to appear, that he is persona non grata, not because he is tainted by his past politics, but because, as he will allege, he is being treated as tainted by his ancestry –

RT HON NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM:           Balls.  Not even the Great British Public are that daft.

DRACO MALFOY, CABINET SEC’Y:         Ernie, I thought I had clearly instructed you to make certain that the Minister saw the Prophet regularly.

RT HON NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM:           Owdonabit.  I’ve talked matter over with my Chief Political Advisor –

DRACO MALFOY, CABINET SEC’Y:         Minister!  Really.  The estimable Mrs Weasel –

RT HON NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM:           Weasley –

DRACO MALFOY, CABINET SEC’Y:         Our dear Frau Doktor Professor Hermione … how shall I say this?  Granger – Hermione, I mean, of course – is – quite admirably – an idealist, an academical person, if you will, transcending the dreary realities of politics and policy.  She is hardly the person whose wand is on the public pulse, or who is a sure guide to matters of, ah, purely pragmatic concern, Minister.  I’m quite certain that her advice is coloured by her lofty approach to principle.

RT HON NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM:           And this is a matter of principle.

DRACO MALFOY, CABINET SEC’Y:         No, Minister, with respect, that is precisely what it is not.  Or, rather, if I may make a fine distinction, it is at once a matter of principle and a matter of practical politics.  Now, the purpose of a political party is to gain office.

RT HON NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM:           But the only proper purpose of gaining office is to act upon principles.

DRACO MALFOY, CABINET SEC’Y:         Oh, naturally, Minister.  No government ever came into office seeking power for its own sake.

RT HON NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM:           Rubbish.  What daft bugger says so?

DRACO MALFOY, CABINET SEC’Y:         Each successive government, upon coming into office.

ERNIE MACMILLAN, PPS:                          In fact, I believe that was somewhere in your party manifesto, Minister?  Sorry.

DRACO MALFOY, CABINET SEC’Y:         Whereas the purpose of the Sibylline Service is simply to implement policy – naturally, the policy of our political masters, based upon their principles, of course, in accordance with the will of the people.

RT HON NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM:           In my experience , ’s been the purpose of the Sibylline Service to obstruct policy.

DRACO MALFOY, CABINET SEC’Y:         I’m afraid, Minister, that you fail to grasp the principle.

ERNIE MACMILLAN, PPS:                          What he means, Minister, is that ‘implementation’ is different to ‘execution’.

RT HON NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM:           Aye.  The only time the Sibylline Service actually implements a policy is when they are threatened with execution.

DRACO MALFOY, CABINET SEC’Y:         Really, Minister!  I must protest.  It is a necessary and indispensable element of the implementation of policy, should one wish to eschew the unintended and indeed unforeseen consequences of the policy to be implemented, so far as it is possible to foresee such consequences, to be attuned to the subtle nuances –

ERNIE MACMILLAN, PPS:                          I don’t think, really, that a nuance can be anything other than subtle –

DRACO MALFOY, CABINET SEC’Y:         Attuned to the subtle nuances of the potential handicaps, indeed, pitfalls, inherent in executing policy without a careful consideration of long-term effects, predicated upon a long view of the subject and drawing upon the precedential value of the institutional memory of the Sibylline Service – who, I remind you, Minister, with respect, are not the ephemeral creatures of the passing hour, elected and as soon defeated before they can possibly have played themselves in, but, rather, are the cultivated flower of lengthy growth in the deep soil of their subjects and tasks, and possessed of a wealth of accumulated, institutional, nay, immemorial experience in –

RT HON NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM:           In blocking the implementation of policy.

DRACO MALFOY, CABINET SEC’Y:         Minister!  I am shocked.  Indeed, I must on behalf of the Sibylline Service deprecate, most strongly deprecate, such a remark.

RT HON NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM:           Aye. But you can’t deny it.  No; my mind is made up.  Soil or no soil, and however well-dunged the Sibylline Service may be, you’re potted.  And if I want well-rotted dragon manure, Draco, I’ll find it at t’ garden centre, I don’t need it from you.

SCENE 4.

INT., TRANSYLVANIAN LEGATION.

CHAMBER MUSIC, SOUNDS OF CROWD MINGLING, SOUNDS OF GLASSES CLINKING, AMBIENT SOUNDS OF DIPLOMATIC RECEPTION.

ALEXANDRU GHICA:                                  My dear Mr Malfoy – or is it Sir Draco?

DRACO MALFOY, CABINET SEC’Y:         Not as yet.

ALEXANDRU GHICA:                                  Ah, it will come in time.  How delightful to see you here, graciously gracing with your graceful presence the National Day reception of my so grateful nation.

DRACO MALFOY, CABINET SEC’Y:         Yes, well.  Awfully gracious of you to have me.

ALEXANDRU GHICA:                                  Ah, we know well who is the eminence grease behind the ministerial throw.  No, no, ‘throne’, of course.  Forgive if I am not fully apprised of the manners – I should say the new manners, post-War – of your wondermous country.  These have changed much since I knew your late lamented father….  I hope I do not overshot my marks if I propose a matter.  There is I believe a matter of interest to your family since the War?  Yes.  It would be so easy to regularise the difficulty, to adjust the position.  Yet this cannot be done just now, of course, until we have some better idea of whether it will be trade and peace between our nations, or – the other.  If only we could know this thing.  Then, you understand, the obstacles that stand in the way of settling your personal matter, these would be removed.

DRACO MALFOY, CABINET SEC’Y:         Do I understand you to be offering me a bribe?

ALEXANDRU GHICA:                                  Heavens, no!  It is I am sure the fault of my tongue in struggling with your so complex language. 

DRACO MALFOY, CABINET SEC’Y:         My principals would never approve.

ALEXANDRU GHICA:                                  Your principles?

DRACO MALFOY, CABINET SEC’Y:         Naturally.  I am what you would call a civil servant.

ALEXANDRU GHICA:                                  Yes.  That is why I am perstounded to hear that you have principles.

DRACO MALFOY, CABINET SEC’Y:         My dear fellow, if I were in office rather than in my own humble sphere, I’d not have principals to consult.

ALEXANDRU GHICA:                                  Yes, that is true in my country as well.

DRACO MALFOY, CABINET SEC’Y:         As matters stand, however, I am simply the agent of my principals in all these matters.

ALEXANDRU GHICA:                                  Oh!  Principals.  I thought you were claiming to have principles.

DRACO MALFOY, CABINET SEC’Y:         What?

SCENE 5.

INT., CABINET SECRETARY’S OFFICE.

ERNIE MACMILLAN, PPS:                          Draco.  Do you seriously believe that the Transylvanians would respond to an embargo with war?  Or that an embargo would hurt us at all, let alone more than it would hurt them?

DRACO MALFOY, CABINET SEC’Y:         Naturally it would mean war, Ernie, with my luck.  And then Potty and the Weasel and that lot would swoop down upon the scene, heroically, defeat the enemy, heroically, leave with the laurels – again heroically – and leave the Sibylline Service to be blamed for starting the bloody war instead of negotiating a deal in the first sodding place!  And just to salt the wound, it would put paid to any chance I have of getting Gringotts’s corresponding Goblins in Transylvania finally, after twenty years, to release the three vaults my idiot father secreted half our wealth in, during the War.  I’d be blamed and beggared, which means I’d be buggered!  I’m not interested in the Ministers’ absurd principles –

ERNIE MACMILLAN, PPS:                           Just in your principal and interest?

DRACO MALFOY, CABINET SEC’Y:         Get out, Macmillan!

 

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Comments
tudorpot From: tudorpot Date: February 10th, 2008 06:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
"DRACO MALFOY, CABINET SEC’Y: Not unabashed, Minister. Indeed, since they lost, he’s been quite remarkably abashed."

Clever.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: February 10th, 2008 06:49 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you, m'dear.

How's the snow?
tudorpot From: tudorpot Date: February 10th, 2008 07:06 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thank you, m'dear.

Thank you- I love Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister- what a great crossover choice.

We had few more inches last night- cringes at the thought of more snow. I can't recall a winter with as much as we've had this year, and it started early and stayed. There is a new storm coming on Monday night and it feels like -28 C outside. It has been running about -10C lately, which isnt' too bad. The good thing is I really enjoy it when the weather is warm. I do love the woodfire.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: February 10th, 2008 07:24 pm (UTC) (Link)

Hmm.

Has Mr Gore been spotted in the vicinty by any chance?
tudorpot From: tudorpot Date: February 10th, 2008 08:42 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Hmm.

He'd be chased away. shakes fist
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