Brexit bad language, tigers and French-speaking dogs

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Welcome to Declassified, a weekly column looking at the lighter side of politics.

“Life is sailing on the sea of time, but only the sea remains” — haiku by European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, 2009.

“Ready to put a tiger in the tank but not to buy a pig in a poke” — tweet by European Council President Charles Michel, 2020.

Yes, if the quality of language coming out of European Council HQ is anything to go by, then the Brexiteers were right and the European project is indeed doomed. Michel committed his crimes against idioms after a meeting with Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Parliament President David Sassoli and occasional British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to assess progress on the Brexit talks, and borrowed the first part of that tweet from Johnson, who said both sides should “put the tiger in the tank” — a throwback to old adverts for petrol giant Esso, meaning to refuel with something powerful.

Old-school slogans aside, Declassified can reveal the rest of the discussion in full:

“Any progress on Brexit?”


“OK. Bye.”

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