On the taking of minutes…

Great commenter’s post over at Mark Devenport’s blog (number 4) with this cracking quotation (below the fold) from Yes Minister. Can’t find the episode online, but here’s another one that also deals with the vexed issue of minute taking within the Civil Service: Is your conscience better now?.

It is characteristic of all committee discussions and decisions that every member has a vivid recollection of them, and that every member’s recollection of them differs violently from every other member’s recollection; consequently we accept the convention that the official decisions are those and only those which have been officially recorded in the minutes by the officials; from which it emerges with elegant inevitability, that any decision which has been officially reached would have been officially recorded in the minutes by the officials, and any decisions which is not recorded in the minutes by the officials has not been officially reached, even if one or more members believe they can recollect it; so in this particular case, if the decision would have been officially reached, it would have been recorded in the minutes by the officials and it isn’t so it wasn’t.

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  • sms

    The minutes backed Robinson’s version of events, an objective view was sought from Reg.Empey who was asked to consult his own notes on the previous meeting to establish who was right . He refused to consult his notes but instead threw his lot in with Margaret Ritchie. two things here (1)its highly unlikely that the DUP would have asked Empey to check his notes if the minutes had been deliberately altered (2) the fact that Empey refused to consult his notes but threw his lot in with Ritchie would suggest that he had decided to make a statement, not on the accuracy of the minutes but against the overriding supremacy of the two larger parties. The fact that Margaret Ritchie lost the run of herself on Hearts and Minds on the issue, striking out at politicians and Civil Servants alike, suggests to me that her version of events was wrong.

  • Comrade Stalin

    its highly unlikely that the DUP would have asked Empey to check his notes if the minutes had been deliberately altered

    Do you consider it more likely that Ritchie was lying about it then ?

    the fact that Empey refused to consult his notes

    Where does it say he “refused” ? To do so he would have had to have gone home.

    Why did the DUP insist on getting the minutes approved quickly ?

  • fourwinds

    Interesting how this phrase “lost the run of him/herself” is being bandied about.

    Wasn’t Mark Durkan the first to use it when talking about Peter Robinson’s attacks on Margaret Ritchie?

    robo-has-lost-the-run-of-himself

    It was then pinched by Martin McGuinness and used against Margaret Ritchie after an executive meeting.

    ritchie-has-lost-the-run-of-herself

    Sms above thinks Ritchie lost the run of herself on Hearts on Minds.

    Who has lost the run of themselves?
    Everyone???

  • mchinadog

    I posted this on another blog but is quite revelant here. It will be interesting when the full legal advice given to Minister Ritchie gets leaked and leaked it will, if only, to show how wrong she was from a legal point of view as I am sure no one disputes the moral stance she took.. Never mind her breaking her Ministerial Code and whatever other things she breached, regarding the minutes of the meeting would it not be interesting to see the note takers writings or even Reg’s own notes of that meeting perhaps then Reg & Michael’s memory would be a bit accurate. If I was in the civil service I would take a case against her and that may still happen and also if I was Farset I would take her on too for I am convinced she would lose. Do not get me wrong I am totally behind the decision not to hand money to the URPG/UDA it is the excuse and the reason for stopping the money I find very disturbing. There is no moral or legal reason why the money could not have went to one side of the community that was a little feeble. Millions has gone to the national community for single identity schemes and not a word about it.

  • mchinadog

    Apologies for spelling mistake should read “relevant”

  • The Penguin

    My eyes glaze over every time I see or hear, “Now don’t get me wrong, I support what she is trying to do” preceding or following an attack on Margaret Ritchie.
    Bollix they do.
    Who do they think they are kidding?

    They support the new axis of evil of the DUP/SF/UDA.

  • Comrade Stalin

    as I am sure no one disputes the moral stance she took..

    Yet you’re busy attacking it.

    If I was in the civil service I would take a case against her

    If I was in the civil service, I’d keep quiet for now. The story about a senior civil servant attempting to physically block Ritchie from entering the chamber is extremely disturbing. What’s even more disturbing is Sinn Fein defending them.

  • mchinadog

    Penguin

    I think you need to learn to read what is written not what you think was written

  • more questions than answers

    Where does it say he “refused” ? To do so he would have had to have gone home.

    Was he afeared they wouldn’t wait for him to get back?

  • Briso
  • The Penguin

    “Millions has gone to the national community for single identity schemes and not a word about it.”

    This little line at the last of your contribution told me all I needed to know about your “support for her decision”.

    Why don’t you just come out and say it, “The UDA might be bastards, but at least they’re our bastards”.

  • Mekong

    Penquin,

    Your attempts to portray this episode as the SDLP v the UDA are becoming ever more pathetic. It is clear that the SDLP had already conceded that the UDA would getting the money, their strategy was to try and absolve themselves of the blame, therefore Ritchie was to announce the ending of the funding in the full legal knowledge that this would be overturned in court, but at least they could claim well it wasn’t us guv. A political stunt from start to finish.

    Standing up to the UDA my a**e, this was an attempt at a face saving exercise gone awry.

  • Rapunsel

    mchinadog

    Millions has gone to the national community for single identity schemes and not a word about it.

    Bullshit.

    In all my years dealing with the allocation of public funds I have never yet seen an application from within the nationalist community that described a “single identity” project. Some may be de facto because of geography. But so called single identity projects. Which in reality are usually( not exclusively) an attempt to avoid dealing with the reality of living in a mixed community come exclusively ( in my experience) from within the protestant community.

  • runciter

    The shamelessness of those who have lined up to attack Ritchie is breathtaking.

    It is particularly astonishing to watch SF act as the attack dogs of the NIO.