What a strange title you may be thinking. First of all better start with an explanation of the expression ‘Porky Pies’.
Years ago and probably still to this day, in certain parts of London (the east in particular), they speak a local dialect called ‘Cockney Rhyming Slang’. The idea is that you give something a name that rhymes with something else. For those of you who have visited places like Portobello Road and the Docklands (despite the fact that it is a very trendy place to live these days), may or may not have seen the Pearly Kings and Queens. An old tradition where men and women dress up in black suits covered with pearl buttons.
Yes, probably you are now thinking something along the lines – always thought the English were strange! Maybe so, but it is just a tradition. This dialect is complicated and even for native speakers, like me, hard to understand. You just have to use your imagination…
So if you think about what you would think a’ whistle and flute’ might be, well I will help you it’s a suit. You would say to someone that you like their ‘whistle and flute’ if they appear in a new suit. Same goes for someone who might say ‘I’ll take the apples and pears’ which means stairs. As opposed to going up in a lift for example.
Anyway, that it the theory behind cockney rhyming slang! One of my favourites is then ‘porky pies’. Not only do I love Melton Mowbray Pork Pies, which is a delicious pie with a water crust pastry and filled with pork and a sort of jelly snack and so typical in England, but ‘porky pies’ can also be lies.
And so this week, the news in Holland has hit the world stage. One of our politicians, well our Minister of Foreign Affairs (Halbe Zijlstra) to be exact has been caught out telling ‘porky pies’ (lies). It is not so much about what he said, but more about the fact that he said something that has made him the laughing stock of the entire world. How can a Minister in such a position be taken as credible when he just tells lies? This actually happened in 2016 and it was not something that was so terrible, just a silly stupid mistake that someone with his education and upbringing should have known better.
Of course we all love to exaggerate. This is something a bit different. Think about anglers when out fishing, they love to tell a little untruth about the size of the fish they caught, bigger than anyone has ever seen or even exists in some cases. This is harmless. It is also considered to be ok to tell a ‘little white lie’ to maybe a dear friend who asks you if you like their new car, new house, new dress or such like and you think it is awful, but for the status quo, you may say, ‘er yes its lovely’ when you might preferred to have used the word ‘ghastly’. You just don’t want to hurt their feelings so you take the easy way out.
Well said Minister of Foreign Affairs suddenly found himself in the position that the only way to get out of a very embarrassing situation was just to resign. Strange but true. There was no way back, once you have lost your credibility in the world that is it. No one will ever believe another word you say. And the World Press had a hay-day about it, not to mention the numerous jokes on social media. Would you ‘Adam and Eve’ it? (Believe it?)
But don’t feel sorry for him, it was after all his own fault and by the way, even though he has resigned and become jobless, he will be able to survive on a huge amount of money every month he receives from the authorities, just because he was a Politician.
Seems a bit unfair doesn’t it when you compare it to people who lose their jobs in industry and spend years literally scraping the barrel to survive?
I wonder what Halbe Zijlstra’s ‘trouble and strife’ thought about it all? (Try and work this one out for yourself!