Tag Archives: Expressions

Snowplough, helicopter and curling parents

In Sweden over-protective mums and dads who do their best to remove all the obstacles for their sprogs are known as “curling parents.” Curling is a winter sport that the Swedes are rather good at. This clip from the Vancouver Olympics which shows the track being cleared by two players with brushes illustrates where the image comes from.

I was thus interested to see this interview with the headteacher of St Paul’s School who refers to them as “snowplough parents.” You don’t often see snowploughs on the streets of London.


My pal Pia in Canada tells me that over there they are known as “helicopter parents.”

Election pork and porky pies

The General Election here  on Sunday, has meant that valfläsk has been on the menu a lot this week. Literally, that means “election pork”: the rather airy promises that politicians make to get votes. Back in the day, political parties actually used to bribe the electorate with meat.

I can’t think of an equivalent to this expression in British English.

Americans talk about “pork-barrel politics.” That’s the ear-marking of funds to carry out projects which will benefit one particular group in society such as a new bridge or a road. The politician behind such an initiative hopes to be rewarded by the votes of those who have benefitted.

This trend has become so prevalent that certain right-wingers and libertarians have set up a movement to expose the more flagrant examples of government money being used in this way. It’s called (wait for it!): Porkbusters.

UK politicians may not offer election pork but their opponents would argue they are not averse to telling a few porkies.

Porkies?  It’s truncated rhyming slang. Porky pies are lies.