Thank you doesn’t butter my bread

“Thank you doesn’t butter my bread.”

Not THAT sort of brown envelope.
Not THAT sort of brown envelope.

That’s just one of the phrases which the Russian government is attempting to phase out because – apparently, though I can’t believe this is true – they are often used as codewords for corruption and bribery. Or, as the Russian government more gently put it, “behaviour that could be perceived by others as a request for a bribe.” I think that’s what’s known as passing the buck; pun very much intended.

The document also advises officials not to mention in conversation “the need for one’s children to be admitted to an educational institution” as apparently some ignorant members of the public could interpret that as meaning, “Give me enough money to get my children into a good school.” Unthinkable.

In fact, it recently came to light that young Russians are willing to pay upwards of £22,000 to secure a position in the police force because the job offers an unparalleled opportunity to obtain, erm, donations from the locals.

The Kremlin’s list of forbidden words, which reminded me very much of when my parents bribed a policeman in India, can be a source of boundless fun if you read the entries in a strong Russian accent:

  • “The question is difficult to solve, but possible.”
  • “We need weightier arguments here.”
  • “So what are we going to do?”
  • “We’ll sort it out.”
  • “Who is to say whether this is horse or cow?” (You just made that up. -Ed.)

It’s interesting to contrast this list of phrases with a similar list of terminology banned by the UK Local Government Association:

  • Can do culture
  • Pathfinder
  • Thinking outside the box

I wish I lived somewhere exciting and corrupt like Russia. Or do I?

You’re nicked! (And Karened.)

The Apprentice hit the headlines this week, with Lord Sugar being sued for unfair dismissal by former apprentice Stella English.

She claims that the legendary promised job “with a six-figure salary” (£100,000 to be exact, so actually the lowest possible six-figure salary!) simply made her an ‘overpaid lackey’, and she was relegated to performing dull administrative tasks such as making sausages, modeling beachwear and posing in shop windows.

Picture the trial scene; the two competitors are gathered around a table. The judge walks in, flanked by two clerks. He receives the parties’ greeting and takes a seat. And then he interrogates them mercilessly, in public, in order to reach a decision.

Does that stir any memories in you? Yes, it’s:

alan sugar unfair dismissal

10 Milibands = 1 Centiband

mugshotI had the privilege of hearing the Leader of Her Maj’s Loyal Opposition, Mr Ed Miliband MP, address the Board of Deputies last Thursday.

In the Royal College of Surgeons (where, in a small exhibition just outside the meeting room, there were several fragments of a Neanderthal skull found in Israel: surely the first time there’s been a dead Israeli anywhere near a Board of Deputies event?) around 300 people gathered to hear the self-proclaimed “potential Prime Minister” speak.

One lady in the audience asked a question about the housing shortage, and claimed that many 20-somethings were forced to live at home with their parents. “Isn’t that what every Jewish mother wants?” asked the potential Prime Minister, “I know mine does.”

After some hostile questions by some ultra-Zionist extremists who thought that the Labour Party should invade Iran immediately and then release a press statement saying that they hate Palestine, the evening came to an end with a presentation to Ed.

The presenter explained that they had considered giving him a mezuzah to put on his door “but he may be moving house in 2015!” (what shameless toadying…) so instead he was given a Passover haggaddah, with which he promptly posed for a photo – with the Hebrew book held upside down. What a nice Jewish boy!

“Extra omnes!”

top of the popesAnd with those words, the Vatican’s College of Cardinals has been locked away in the Sistine Chapel, where they will remain until they reach a decision about the next pope.

The papal election process has been re-started after the previous College of Cardinals were discharged after failing to reach a decision. (Is this right? -Ed.)

A set of ‘one size fits all’ robes has been prepared so that the successful candidate, whoever he or she is, can appear on the balcony straight away without embarassment. I actually think this is a bit of a swizz; in the past, papal miracles have included reviving dead grass, curing cancer and killing terrorists.

Surely altering a hem can’t be beyond these divine powers?


So you want name in the credits, yes? So what are we going to do?
In tonight’s episode, the Kremlin’s language directive was political correctness gone mad. The potential Prime Minister was played by Ed Miliband. This was an Gabrielquotes production.

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