But that’s how the civil service works, in practice. Each department is controlled by the people who it’s supposed to be controlling… Why, for instance, do we have comprehensive education? Who wanted it? The pupils, the parents? The National Union of Teachers wanted it. They’re the chief client of the Department of Education, so the DES went comprehensive. You see, every department acts for the powerful sectional interest with whom they have a permanent relationship. The Department of Employment lobbies for the TUC, whereas the Department of Industry lobbies for the employers. It’s rather a nice balance. Energy lobbies for the oil companies, defence lobbies for the armed forces, the Home Office lobbies for the police, and so on.
— Yes, Minister. Series three, episode five. “The Bed of Nails”