Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Sir Martin Donnelly special edition)

Written by Civil Service World on 28 April 2017 in Feature
Feature

Civil Service World's regular guide to the very best in Whitehallese

If I May...

Let me dig you out of this hole, you blithering idiot


An interesting choice of phrase

Thank God you’re a politician and not a diplomat


Perhaps I might have a word first

For goodness’ sake, don’t go jumping in feet first, you fool


That’s an interesting thought...

I knew you would get it eventually


Temporary permanent secretary

A contradiction in terms, and a job title that could only be found in the civil service


DISCLAIMER: The translations above represent the views of international trade secretary Liam Fox and his team. Like a true professional, Sir Martin Donnelly has never said whether he agrees or disagrees with these interpretations.

To submit your own examples of Whitehallese, email editorial@civilserviceworld.com. Visit ukcivilservant.org for more of the best civil service jargon


More in the series:
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. I)
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 2)
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 3)
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 4)
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 5)
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 6)
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 7)
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 8)
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 9)
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 10)
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 11)
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 12)
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 13)
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 14)​
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 15)
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 16)
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 17)
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 18)

Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 19)
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 20)​
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 21)
 

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