04 2009

Depression

Published by under Word by Word

今天首相布朗在“首相答问时间”(PMQ)上,说了这个 D-word: depression

We should agree, as a world, on a monetary and fiscal stimulus that will take the world out of depression.

虽然英国已经正式进入“衰退”(recession),到目前还没有人用“大萧条”(depression)。什么是 depression,没有明确的定义,但一般用以形容长期的经济衰退、高失业率、和对经济前景的信心低迷。上次的 depression 是美国30年代的大萧条 The Great Depression。

我今天在PMQ现场,但就完全没有听到这个词。但在事后,保守党影子财相 George Osborne 要求首相府澄清布朗对这个词的使用,首相府发言人马上回应说是布朗“说漏嘴了”(a slip of the tongue),布朗想说的是 recession。

对一个 depression 用词的计较,反映了英国对经济前景的担忧。

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30 2009

Daily Quote: student politics

Published by under Daily Quote

英国众议院每周三中午有30分钟的 Prime Minister’s Question Time (PMQ – 我过去曾用过“首相提问时间”和“首相答问时间”两种译法,显然后者更好)。现在的趋势,根据一些议会专门报道议会辩论的记者(他们的职业称呼是 sketch writer – 议会写生员),似乎是越来越粗鲁没礼貌。原因是工党首相布朗(Gordon Brown)容易动怒又不会开玩笑骂人,而保守党领袖卡梅伦(Cameron)倒是严辞锋利,但为了避免显得夸夸其谈太轻飘,不得不时时做出激愤状。两人你来我往谁也收不住,有时弄得大家都下不了台,身后的议员们就表现得像是一群看人打架在一边拍手叫好的看客,常常裁判--Common Speaker (众议院主席)不得不介入拉架。所以本周三双方互骂对方 student politics 就显得挺应时:

The Prime Minister tried to be rude in return by accusing Mr Cameron of playing “student politics“, but the Tory leader batted this straight back: “Mr Speaker, only one of us was a student politician and he’s never grown out of it.”

Mr Brown was obsessed by student politics at Edinburgh: Mr Cameron kept out of student politics at Oxford.

Andrew Gimson on Telegraph: Sketch: Gordon Brown feels the pain of creating a brave new world

《泰晤士报》上的 Ann Treneman 则更多地感叹在世界经济危机面前,别人都团结一致,英国的议员们却东奔西散:

Student politics? We should be so lucky. This may even be sub-playground. I have seen pre-schoolers behave better. What is strange is that, in the country, the recession has brought us together. As a people, we are hunkering down, trying to ride it out. But, at Westminster, the recession has driven our politicians farther apart. Now, as surreal as a dream, they are screaming into the wind across an ever-growing abyss.

Ann Treneman on the Times: No end in sight to Gordon Brown’s global nightmare

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24 2008

Daily Quote: floored

Published by under BBC,Daily Quote

Simon Hoggart described the strangeness of last week’s Prime Minister’s Question Times (PMQ) in the Guardian:

It was a question time full of jollity. David Cameron floored Gordon Brown by agreeing with him. In private they probably concur on many things, but it doesn’t do to say so in front of the children, so this came as a surprise.

他用了两个比喻,floored 和 in front of the childre,形象地解释了 PMQ 的意义。

Prime Minister’s Question Time (PMQ) 是英国首相每周一次来到议会辩论厅,面对全体议员回答问题的时刻。PMQ 的作用,让我想起我们看古代演义小说时,常出现的两军对阵,主将出马单挑的情形。如果一方主将被“斩于马下”,马上全军“阵脚大乱”、“望风而逃”。当然我们知道仗不是这么打的,将军们只要坐阵指挥,无需单挑比武功。但是演义小说如果没了武将单挑,便少了一大乐趣,现代政治也是一样。于是 PMQ 虽然名义上是给予所有议员质询首相的机会,但看点其实是反对党领袖如何单挑首相,连回合都规定好了,有6次机会。上周 David Cameron 把布朗打翻在地 (floored),保守党这边自然是“旌旗招展”、欢声雷动。

Simon Hoggart 接着又用反喻,把 PMQ 比作夫妻吵架--原应回避孩子们,但 PMQ 时,众议员们象是一群习惯了父母吵架的孩子,看着父母和和睦睦反而莫明其妙了。

It doesn’t do 是一种因为老式而有趣味的表达方法。在 BBC 的古装剧 Cranford 中,古板的 Deborah 就爱用这种表达方法,特别是当她觉得某种行为不合礼仪的时候。

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27 2008

Daily Quote: where are the decisions made

Published by under Daily Quote

今天早晨几个抗议者爬上议会大厦屋顶,挂起横幅,投下纸飞机,在屋顶上向媒体打手机接受采访。警察也不用强,耐心劝导抗议者自动“下台”。

这已经不是第一次有抗议者爬上议会大厦,为今天的抗议增加一点意味的是,当3个抗议者还在议会大厦屋顶的时候,首相布朗来到议会大厦,照常出席每周三的 Prime Minister’s Question Time。

Gordon Brown:

The message should go out today clearly that decisions in this country should be made in the Chamber of this House and not on the roof of this House.

这是Gordon Brown 在 PMQ 上迄今最为精彩的一句。

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十二 06 2007

Daily Quote: conviction politician

Published by under Daily Quote

在昨天的 Prime Minister’s Question Time (PMQ)上,保守党议员 Greg Hands 也来嘲笑 Gordon Brown:

With three different police investigations under way, two members of his cabinet … falling foul of the law, and his general secretary facing charges, is this what he meant when he called himself a ‘conviction’ politician?”

Simon Hoggart’s Guardian sketch: The cruel spectacle of Brown at bay.

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十二 03 2007

From Stalin to Mr Bean

Published by under Buzzword

在上周的“首相问答时间”(Prime Minister’s Question Time, PMQ)中,临时担任自由民主党魁的 Vince Cable 抛出了首相布朗“从斯大林变成憨豆先生”这么一个说法,引起众议院满堂哄笑。他说:

The house has noticed the prime minister’s the remarkable transformation in the last few weeks – from Stalin to Mr Bean.

你可以在路透社的网站上看到这段录像

所谓 Gordon Brown 是斯大林的说法,来自前内阁秘书 Lord Turnbull。他在 Brown 即将上任时,对《金融时报》说:

You cannot help admire the sheer Stalinist ruthlessnes of it all.

“你不得不佩服其(指布朗的运作班子)斯大林式的强悍与冷酷”,这真是明捧暗讽的典型了。从斯大林式的铁腕,到憨豆先生笨手笨脚、时时可能出差错的形象,反差十分可笑,难怪各家媒体纷纷引用,成为城中谈资。

From Stalin to Mr Bean – The Daily Telegraph

Not so much Stalin as Mr Bean: Gordon Brown is made to play the fool in stage farce – The Times

对于政客来说,如果被认为是铁腕,那还好办;成为众人讥讽嘲笑的对象,不仅尴尬,而且十分危险,因为这意味着权威的丧失。好在布朗长得还不象憨豆--至少他一点不好笑。

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