A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).



Australian Speakers Agency


The nerds have the numbers on precious metals investments on the ASX

The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper


Yes Minister – A Tsar is Born

Bloody Brilliant. :- )   Enjoy.

H.t Jim Simpson who says: For those on a ‘short fuse’ Click here for the executive summary (of just 2.35 minutes), or for those with a little more time to spare, engage your laughing gear (again), sit back with a beer or two or three or more and let this 27 minute full version of ‘A Tsar is Born’ wash over y’all!  [That’s the one above – Jo]

9.1 out of 10 based on 48 ratings

36 comments to Yes Minister – A Tsar is Born

  • #
    Joe Lalonde

    Thanks Jo!

    It is a world problem of after elected, going by way of what the US wants and NOT what is good for our countries.


  • #

    So let me get this right. You promote and agree with Co2 global warming and you get paid lots of money. Who would have guessed this? I hope our scientists, research departments and major companies don’t find out, just think about how much this would cost us.


  • #
    Owen Morgan

    Henry Goodman is one of the best British actors in the business, these days, possibly even the best, but I don’t think anyone can match the late Nigel Hawthorne in the Sir Humphrey role. The original “Yes, Minister” episodes were filmed in front of a live studio audience. They were edited, but the BBC/beebyanka didn’t have money to burn, back then, so the “Yes, Minister” crew had to get it right, pretty quickly. Nigel Hawthorne had to deliver a very rapid patter, Gilbert & Sullivan style, in every episode and famously dreaded it, although he was utterly brilliant at it.

    He is one of the many British actors to have played an American President (Martin van Buren, in his case, opposite Anthony Hopkins, as John Quincy Adams) on film.


    • #

      … anyone can match the late Nigel Hawthorne in the Sir Humphrey role


      This new version has some very funny lines but appears too histrionic when compared with the original

      There is an apocryphal, and likely untrue, story about PM Thatcher and her Cabinet Secretary watching episodes of the original series together, but laughing at different times


      • #
        Owen Morgan

        Definitely apocryphal. Margaret Thatcher had no sense of humour, at all. She had great qualities, but her ability to “‘ave a giraffe'” definitely wasn’t one of them.


  • #

    Brilliant satire, but close to the truth; the Maldives, Zimbabwee etc. all with their hands out.


  • #

    Very funny, didn’t even know there was a new YM, Cheers.


  • #
    Ted O'Brien

    Is that prescience? What year was it made?


  • #
    Peter C

    “NEW: Yes Prime Minister 20…” The YouTube account associated with this video has been terminated due to multiple third-party notifications of copyright infringement.


    The massage appears at the end of the summary video. It does still play, for the moment.


  • #
  • #

    Regular denizens @jonova would be aware of my predilection for re-posting links to archeology.

    imho, Humanity has been around for a lot longer than we currently think.
    And was much more sentient than we also ‘think’.

    If the ancients did build precession into the stone monuments situated around the planet to observe the sun and the heavens, it would require many observations, and an ability to pass this information through time.

    Well, I’m excited.
    ~ ~ ~
    February 10, 2016:
    40,000-year-old bracelet made by extinct human species found

    In what is quite an amazing discovery, scientists have confirmed that a bracelet found in Siberia is 40,000 years old.
    This makes it the oldest piece of jewelry ever discovered, and archeologists have been taken aback by the level of its sophistication.

    Until now, scientists had believed that such skills had only evolved among humans in the Neolithic period, which began at about 10,000 BC.
    Indeed, originally, they believed that the bracelet had somehow become mixed up with materials dating from a later period.

    However, experiments have now definitely ruled that out, and they confirm that it could not have been made by homo sapiens or Neanderthals.

    After 7 years of analysis, the scientists are confident that the piece was made 30,000 years before the beginning of the Stone Age.

    What is incredible is that the craftsman who made the adornment, seems to have used something similar to a modern drill.

    Read on


    • #

      Timeline‘ anyone?


      • #

        yes here is one. 40000years ago is not 30000 before the beginning of the stone age but 30,000 years before the END of the stone age. With that sort of statement not being picked up by the editors…


    • #

      May I add, outside the ‘certainty’ of being able to date the item, everything else in this article can be considered speculation.

      “the Denisovans must have interbred with an as yet unknown and undiscovered species of humans beings.”

      Whoa right there!


      • #

        Incase anyone else is interested:

        BBC, 22 December 2010: Ancient humans, dubbed ‘Denisovans’, interbred with us

        According to the researchers, this provides confirmation there were at least four distinct types of human in existence when anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens) first left their African homeland.

        Along with modern humans, scientists knew about the Neanderthals and a dwarf human species found on the Indonesian island of Flores nicknamed The Hobbit. To this list, experts must now add the Denisovans.


        • #

          and presumably they had an ancient version of Makita drills as well….

          Along a similar vein, I saw a test from the 1890s vs today for year 7 kids – modern kids would have struggled ( so much touchy feely nonsense these days…). I was trying to explain Log tables to my 10 yo last night – couldnt remember how to use them….oops….

          I think the ancients had a level of intellect equal to ours, just not the modern tech to make the mosty of it….


          • #

            IIRR, the sum of the logarithms of the multiplicands is equal to the log of the product. I once did a least squares fit involving 26 data points using logarithms. I made a mental note never to do anything like that again, and I’ve been most fortunate not to have to do so, thanks to modern technology.


          • #
            Graeme No.3

            A bow drill? Might still be used in China for drilling jade. Obviously it is intermittent with drill bit going in one direction, then the other, but it smooths the cut.


          • #


            Don’t feel bad. I picked up a sliderule a while back and didn’t know where to start. I hadn’t touched one since my last year at high school.

            When I started uni the next year calculators had suddenly become readily available and much much cheaper. Nobody used a sliderule.

            Incidentally, what was the nature of the test you refer to?


        • #
          el gordo

          I just finished reading Paabo’s Neanderthal Man (In Search of Lost Genomes) and its a riveting read.

          My take on this, the Denisovans interbred with anatomically modern humans and as the planet cooled they traveled south to Bosnia around 30,000 years ago to avoid becoming extinct.


          Pseudo archaeology? I’m in no position to judge, but it would make a terrific Hollywood blockbuster.


  • #

    Nice one. Let’s hope Turnbull doesn’t see it and gets more silly ideas.


  • #

    great episode. surprised no-one posted it before.

    what a difference a few days make!

    10 Feb: NYT: Coral Davenport: Supreme Court’s Blow to Emissions Efforts May Imperil Paris Climate Accord
    The Supreme Court’s surprise decision Tuesday to halt the carrying out of President Obama’s climate change regulation could weaken or even imperil the international global warming accord reached with great ceremony in Paris less than two months ago, climate diplomats say…

    the charming Maddie!

    15 Feb: Gizmodo: Maddie Stone: Scalia’s Death May Have Saved the Planet
    The United States’ commitment to combatting climate change will affect the entire world. Last week, the Supreme Court froze Obama’s plan to uphold that commitment, sparking fears that the Paris climate agreement would fall apart. But the death of justice Antonin Scalia over the weekend changes everything.
    Scalia might have been surprisingly progressive on technology, but when it came to climate change, the justice was a staunch defender of the proud American tradition of doing nothing…
    Scalia popularized this use of the “I’m not a scientist” line, always followed by some shady deductive reasoning that makes him therefore absolved of any responsibility to help save our planet.
    And on February 9, along with four other Supreme Court justices, Scalia voted to put a stay on Obama’s Clean Power Plan…
    ***With his death, the odds of that plan surviving—along with the Paris climate agreement and, inevitably, humanity—just got a lot better…
    Navroz K. Dubash, a senior fellow at the Center for Policy Research in New Delhi said the United States potentially backing out (LINK) would be “the proverbial string which causes Paris to unravel.” That’s precisely the scenario that was beginning to look very likely last week…
    In his death, Scalia has scored a win for the planet. But the battle for Earth is far from over.


  • #

    “Youth, women, indigenous communities, southern citizens, and people of color everywhere” will unite to fight for “climate justice” because they are more “vulnerable” to CAGW?
    Identity Politics in action…mere pawns in the game:

    15 Feb: Thomson Reuters Foundation: Why 2016 will be the best year yet for climate justice
    Author: Kari Malkki, Brown University Climate and Development Lab
    (Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation)
    Historically, the climate movement has been dominated by those at the forefront of climate science and policy, rather than those on the frontlines of climate change impacts…
    The climate justice movement has made itself into a space for communities around the world who have been systematically silenced and oppressed and are thus more vulnerable to climate change. The movement has made it possible for these communities to not only join together, but to take the megaphone and lead.
    “There is definitely a call for colored people, especially those from vulnerable groups,” Kimberly Lopez Castellanos of [Earth] explained of the climate justice movement. “We want their voices to be heard, their stories to be told and their energy to be passed onto big groups of people.”…
    Ashley Franklin of the Labor Community Strategies Center, a labor rights, human rights, environmental justice organization based in Los Angeles, affirmed that her identity has been an integral and beneficial part of her involvement in the climate justice movement…
    In the past, “the climate space has not been a black space, but we now understand that the climate struggle IS the black struggle,” she said…
    Youth, women, indigenous communities, southern citizens, and people of color everywhere are being united around a common goal and building on each other’s strengths in order to lead a movement of the people, by the people, and for the people — despite the silencing of their voices at the negotiating table or in the halls of Congress.
    Their power lies in their numbers, their solutions are rooted in science (not in corporate coercion), and the message they preach will only become more convincing as climate disasters become more severe…


  • #

    Excellent. Make sure you see it all the way through!


  • #

    14 Feb: NYT: Adam Liptak: Scalia’s Absence Is Likely to Alter Court’s Major Decisions This Term
    But Justice Scalia’s death is also a vivid reminder of the vast consequences that follow from a single change in the court’s makeup, and of how much timing can matter. On Tuesday evening, for instance, the Supreme Court’s five-member conservative majority blocked Mr. Obama’s ambitious effort to combat climate change. Had the justices waited until their next regular conference, this Friday, to vote on the request for a stay, the regulation would have remained in place.
    “No less than the viability of the historic climate change agreement reached in Paris may well be in peril,” said Richard J. Lazarus, a law professor at Harvard. “And without Justice Scalia’s vote, that stay would have been denied.”…
    (A version of this article appears in print on February 15, 2016, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Missing Voice Is Likely to Alter Major Decisions of This Term)

    15 Dec: CarbonBrief: Simon Evans: How death of US Supreme Court judge might affect Clean Power Plan
    The outlook for President Obama’s Clean Power Plan has plunged and then soared in the space of four eventful days for the US Supreme Court…
    Scalia’s death will “likely spur a tectonic shift in environmental law”, says Greenwire. Scalia did not believe carbon was an “environmental pollutant”, notes Andy Revkin’s Dot Earth blog. Instead, Scalia said carbon was an atmospheric pollutant, arguing the EPA had no authority to regulate the atmosphere. That’s why he dissented in 2007, when the Supreme Court ruled that the EPA had authority to regulate CO2…MULTIPLE LINKS


    • #
      Howie from Indiana

      If I remember correctly, it was this same SCOTUS that ruled that the EPA had the authority to declare carbon dioxide a pollutant. I applaud this recent decision but I wonder if litigation in a lower court might change things in favor of Obama.


  • #
    michael hart

    Nice one, Skippy.
    As Arlo Guthrie could have sung,

    “You can get anything you want at the global-warming restaurant.”


  • #

    Thank-you Jo, another episode that may, or may not, expose some finer details of British politics within government administration of policy.

    That is to say, in far as it relates to reality, the proper execution of government policy as delineated between responsibility for any policy of administrating and the administration of climate change policy. 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.

    These conflicts are evident in the current rounds of the administrative policy vis-à-vis climate change policy administration within the UK government, and the delicate matter of administering the economical revelation of the actualité to the electorate.

    I hope this clarifies the current British government’s position on this matter.



  • #
  • #
    Leo Morgan

    I have a quote that is so absolutely perfect, so pellucidly true, you must read it.
    Sir Antony Jay, one of the script writers of the original “Yes Minister”, “Yes Prime Minister” and this series, “Yes Prime Minister Re-Elected” was also a BBC producer. He said of his time there:

    “we were not just anti-Macmillan; we were anti-industry, anti-capitalism, anti-advertising, anti-selling, anti-profit, anti-patriotism, anti-monarchy, anti-Empire, anti-police, anti-armed forces, anti-bomb, anti-authority. Almost anything that made the world a freer, safer and more prosperous place, you name it, we were anti it.” In particular he criticised how the opinions of BBC staff “were at odds with the majority of the audience and the electorate“.[4]
    Antony Jay 2007

    Those of us who’ve read the books know that Eddington and Hawthorne were magnificent actors, to be able to turn those scripts into comedy. The dialogue is a series of mordant, painful truths.

    Sir Jay shows in that quote, and in the script above, that he still has his keen eye for human idiocy, and ability to tell us truths we don’t want to hear.