How to beat slippery Sir Humphrey, by the man who knows him bestBy Caroline Davies
One of the creators of the scheming civil servant Sir Humphrey Appleby in Yes Minister has written a bible on how to beat bureaucrats. It is aimed at the Not In My Back Yard brigade, or Nimbys.
Sir Antony Jay, a staunch Nimby who helped prevent a cement plant from being built in his Somerset village, hopes to help others take on supermarkets, retail parks, wind farms and other projects threatening their communities.
Sir Antony, 75, has written two similar books in 30 years. But he said that "with John Prescott trying to concrete over the South East and wind farms springing up everywhere" he felt the need to return to the subject.
The result is: Not In Our Back Yard - How to run a protest campaign and save the neighbourhood.
He said: "My village had a company that wanted to build a factory to process cement 24 hours a day, every day of the year. It would have been terrible."
So he lent campaigners a copy of his first book on Nimbyism, which was published in 1970.
"They followed it to the letter and they won," he said.
Sir Antony, who wrote Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister with Jonathan Lynn, said his latest book was more than an updated version of the others.
It included tips on how to use the internet, how to become media savvy and how to frighten off big corporations or bullying councils by drawing on the talents of local experts.
"Sir Humphrey would hate the book, of course," he said. "He would have been entirely in favour of annihilating our village. Anything for an easy life. But I think everybody is a Nimby at heart. If somebody was going to do something that would knock £100,000 off the value of your house, would you say, 'Mustn't complain'?"
Sir Antony said: "I am fascinated by how organisations behave and how people behave in organisations. During my own experiences I saw how an awful lot of animal behaviour, particularly primate behaviour, comes up in the modern corporation."
The book is due to be published on Oct 3 by White Ladder Press (www.whiteladderpress.com).
One person who will not be receiving a preview copy is Mr Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister.
"He really shouldn't have it because then all the bureaucrats will know what to be ready for," Sir Antony said.