In many respects, the brilliant series "Yes Minister" resembles a documentary, rather than the comedy it purports to be.
Throughout the century or so in which I have covered politics, there have been umpteen points of conjunction between Hacker, Sir Humphrey et al and what affects to be real life.
Remember this definition?
"The matter is 'under consideration' means we have lost the file. The matter is 'under active consideration' means we are trying to find the file."
Simply brilliant - and familiar to those who are aware that most senior political and governmental careers are spent in a glorious spree of uncertainty and confusion, with rival issues competing for inevitably limited attention.
(For the avoidance of doubt, journalism is the same.)
There is an episode where Jim, Sir Humphrey and the chief whip are discussing the prospective succession at Downing Street.
None of the three wants to be too specific - or to offer any ideas.
So each assures the other sententiously that the matter is "serious". With "serious repercussions". Of "the utmost seriousness."
In short, they are agreed. It is serious.
This, of course, is a totemic Yes Minister satire, applicable to other situations.
All will agree that the matter is grave. Serious.
But somehow there is seldom a proposal for addressing the problem other than the customary subterfuge and guile.
This vague recollection floated to the surface as I contemplated these present Holyrood elections.
Do the voters really want blunt talking? Do they really want political leaders to tell it like it is? Really?
Or do they, perhaps, prefer, to some extent, comforting obfuscation, a contented smudge?
Folk will insist that they want the hard truth. Tell me straight. OK, there's absolutely no money left and your kid's school is going to close.
And about that public sector job you have . . .
You can appreciate the problem. Such straight talking may be fine in generality. Indeed it may be regarded as an admirable characteristic.
But in the particular . . .
The Tories have made a relative virtue of bluntness in these elections, arguing for example for a graduate levy to fund universities and for the resurrection of prescription charges.
Further, they insist that their plans are costed on the basis of available funds - and are not predicated upon further efficiency savings being found.
However, it is not all austerity. They are not daft.
So, at the same time, they stress areas where they have directed and fostered public spending, arguing for example that it was their pressure which ensured the recruitment of 1000 police officers during the last parliament.
And they are supporting individual give-aways such as their proposed discount on council tax for all pensioners.
To varying degrees, the other parties are all offering a mixed ensemble; hair shirt and party frock. For example, their talk of a tough public sector pay freeze is sweetened by the promise - from each, in different ways - of more jobs in the economy.
To be clear, I do not remotely blame them. Any of them.
There are distinct limits to the quota of "courageous decisions" which it is sensible to deploy when seeking to attract popular support.
Why is that?
Is it because, for all the emphasis upon blunt speaking, a worried and fretful electorate tends to welcome a degree of reassurance?