The Grand Design

‘Humphrey’s enthusiasm for Trident knows no bounds. ‘But don’t you see Prime Minister – with Trident we could obliterate the whole of Eastern Europe.’

I don’t want to obliterate the whole of Eastern Europe. I told him so. He nodded impatiently. He knew that. He thought I was missing the point. ‘It has to be an effective deterrent, Prime Minister.’

‘But it’s a bluff,’ I told him, ‘I probably wouldn’t use it.’
‘They don’t know that you probably wouldn’t use it,’ he argued.
‘They probably do,’ I said.
He was forced to agree. ‘Yes… they probably know that you probably wouldn’t. But they can’t certainly know.

He’s right about that. But they don’t have the certainty to know. ‘They probably certainly know that I probably wouldn’t,’ I said.

‘Yes,’ he agreed, ‘but even though they probably certainly know that you probably wouldn’t, they don’t certainly know that although you probably wouldn’t, there is no probability that you certainly would.’

Bernard was taking careful minutes. It’s lucky he does shorthand and was able to reconstruct this conversation for me in writing by the end of the day.’

– Lynn J., Jay A. 1986. The Complete Yes Prime Minister London, Great Britain: BBC Books (1989) p. 79-80


Literally: Restructuring. Perestroika was a political movement within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union during 1980s, widely associated with the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

A USSR Stamp from the time of Perestroika

Perestroika is often argued to be a cause of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the revolutions of 1989 in Eastern Europe, and the end of the Cold War.

It refers to major changes initiated by Mikhail Gorbachev to the structure and function of both political and economic controls in the Soviet Union. Perestroika allowed more independent actions from the various ministries and introduced some market-like reforms. The intention of perestroika, however, was not to dismantle communism but rather to make communism work more efficiently to better meet the needs of Soviet consumers.

The process of implementing perestroika arguably exacerbated already existing political, social and economic tensions within the Soviet Union and no doubt helped to further nationalism among the constituent republics. Perestroika and resistance to it are often cited as major catalysts leading to the breakup of the Soviet Union.