Jonathan Lynne - one of the co-writers of the series was apparently a former civil servant, and always said the books were thinly-veiled truths.
I have the two books of Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister, and when the words are in front of you, it is very easy to relate them to any 'official' documentese.
I wonder if others who have spent time 'on the ground' in foreign countries have also seen the incredible ignorance of Diplomats about their countries of station? Cocooned in their cotton-wool Embassies, and being the original 'mushroom kids', who seem to be absolutely amazed every time a situation occurs (I do refer mainly to the Middle East in this regard).
Any and every expat. in the streets knew more than they ever do, but they are yet another symptom of civil service mentality in my experience. I had just one occasion to deal with them in a business sense, when I asked about a certain law/rule in the country and I was told 'We are not here to help British citizens, but to represent the Country'. Thanks very much? Who exactly pays their salaries?
These sorts of attitudes are entrenched in ALL Governments in ALL countries I would suggest, and just form part of the 'them and us, and never the twain shall meet' problems we all have, no matter where we come from.
It isn't just a French or British or even American thing in my experience, it's just part of the system which creates the mentality. Governments and Civil Servants of all stripes and colours have simply lost sight of what their jobs are really all about. In many ways the French description of 'functionaires' is more honest than most.
Nobody is denying we need these people (not all of them) what we need is a new (old?) mindset, as to why they sit in certain chairs and what their responsibilities should be, and not the old 'jobsworth' mentality that is so prevalent.
Obviously this is a blanket statement, and equally obviously there will be those who do the best they can under the systems, but 'rules is rules', and often in France at least, confusing to all concerned.
Someone mentioned the UK Border Agency. Many moons ago, some may recall that an official entry point to the UK was Brighton? Britain was in the EU, and I recall with astonishment as the clown at the desk, refused my French wife entry, and we couldn't figure out why. I was young, big and bolshie at the time, and could be incandescent, which I was. I was duly hauled off to an 'interview room' with three non-uniformed idiots, who were physically threatening - and I kid you not.
My wife was taken to another interview room, and in a short period of time, I was presented with a piece of paper to sign, on which I noted the phrase 'arrived in the UK with a young French lady'. When I pointed out that she was my legal wife, and although married in Australia, we were both EU citizens, an she had both French and British passports, there was a silence, and then without one word of apology, or explanation were told 'we could go' as if it were some great favour on their behalf!
Customs Officials are amongst the most cretinous of all Civil Servants in my books and I have never been to the USA where I am told they are even worse, but the British ones are easily the most offensive I have ever met, and that includes former Soviet ones, with whom I never had scrap of trouble other than their slowness.
Of course one speaks as one finds, and I am sure that others would rush to their defense, but these examples have powers above and beyond the police and are indeed the basis of a dictatorship in my view. The last thing they represent is any Democratic country.
But what can we the 'sheeple' do about it? Precisely nothing. It is almost certain that each and every day we transgress some archaic or unknown law or regulation. Now with every single move we make is, or can be, docuented recorded and used against us, we haven't got a hope in Hell.
We can rail against it,write letters, use blogs such as this, take up marches, vote UKip or any Political Party, but sorry folks it won't make a scrap of difference.
And wait until Sharia Law takes hold, and then it will get a whole lot worse. In one of the great ironies this will happen first in Belgium, home of the EU and EC, where Moslems now are 42% of the population (source Al-Jazeera) I will try and find the link if I can. In ten years or less it will become the first Islamic State of Europe. Now THAT will be something to see don't you think?