By Civil Service World

28 Apr 2017

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 civilservant.org.uk 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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