An Englishman’s self-assurance is founded on his being a citizen of the best organised state in the world. - Tolstoy 1869 The Civil Service is a bit like a Rolls-Royce—you know it's the best machine in the world - Rab Butler Conservative Minister In popular culture Britain’s permanent civil service has been imagined as a supremely competent organisation of intellectual men. This can be seen in fiction, with civil servants, like Sherlock’s brother Mycroft Holmes or Sir Humphery Appleby from Yes Minister, being defined by their wit. This impression lies in the historic use of tough and prestigious examinations to join the Civil Service. As such, it has employed the best and brightest. Despite being an excellent academic, John Maynard Keynes left his graduate study in Economics to apply to join the civil service. And even then, Keynes was second place in the exams forcing him to join the Colonial Office instead of His Majesty’s Treasury.