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  • hi welcome to engvid i'm adam in today's  video i'm going to talk to you about some  

  • expressions and idioms from the world of politics  now the reason i want to go over these is not so  

  • much because you will hear these or expressions  use everyday conversation but for those of you who  

  • are interested in politics and want to discuss  politics or want to read about politics you  

  • will see a lot of these expressions in newspaper  articles and you might not really understand what  

  • they're talking about okay these are meant for  people like native speakers who are used to these  

  • expressions and they know what's going on so it's  important for you to understand them so you can  

  • read high quality articles that use these often so  for example we're going to look at past the buck  

  • and the buck stops here and very similar meaning  idiom kick the can down the road so i put this  

  • together because they mean almost the same thing  a political hot potato to be full of hot air  

  • to get on or to get off your soap box and to press  the flesh okay so let's start with this when we  

  • pass the buck we pass pass pass pass basically  we're not taking ownership of something it could  

  • be a topic it could be a decision it could bereaction we don't want to do it we pass it on to  

  • somebody else to do it's very similar to kick the  can down the road so here's the can i don't want  

  • to deal with it i don't want to pick it up sojust kick it down the road maybe somebody else  

  • will get to it or i'll get to it later when  i reach that spot down the road so basically  

  • i don't want to take responsibility for something  today now i think it was fdr roosevelt a president  

  • who said i'm not going to pass the buck around the  buck stops here so he was a leader he was going to  

  • make decisions he was going to take responsibility  for his position and now every time somebody says  

  • the buck stops here it means that they're going  to take responsibility they're going to show  

  • their leadership again a lot of politicians would  rather pass the buck than take the buck hold the  

  • buck take responsibility be accountable okay  a political hot potato so this again a little  

  • bit related if you have a very controversial  controversial controversial topic or issue

  • so if something is controversial means there's a  lot of argument about it there's a lot of debate  

  • there's very little agreement okay or it's  a very sensitive topic so for example in the  

  • states the issue of guns and gun control is  a con controversial topic it's a hot potato a  

  • political hot potato because if you decide that  you're for gun control you will anger a lot of  

  • the voters if you say you're against gun  control you will anger a lot of different  

  • voters so it's a hot potato now imagine i'm sure  all of you have at some point cooked a potato or  

  • have eaten a cooked potato especially one  in a fire you put it in a fire you let it  

  • cook when you pull it out it's very hot if  you hold on to it you will burn your hand  

  • so you juggle it nobody wants to actually hold on  because if you hold it you will get burned okay

  • get burned now in politics getting burned means  making a mistake and basically getting elected  

  • out of office okay so a political hot potato  is something you have to be very careful with  

  • you don't want to make a quick decision  you don't even want to make a decision  

  • if possible now i don't want to be too general but  from my perspective most politicians are a little  

  • bit cowardly okay they're always afraid everybody  wants to keep their position everybody wants to  

  • keep their jobs they're always looking at the  next election and they don't want to anger their  

  • constituents their voters so they don't want  to make any big decisions that might get them  

  • burnt might get them hurt in the next election so  political hot potato something very controversial  

  • and nobody wants to take hold of now to be  full of hot air if we're talking about again  

  • politicians politicians like to talk and talk  and talk so a politician who talks a lot but  

  • doesn't actually say very much we say about him  or her that they're full of hot air okay they're  

  • full of hot air and it all comes out because  hot air comes out it doesn't stay inside so  

  • they talk talk talk talk talk and say nothing  it all goes up in the air and disappears okay  

  • it doesn't stick to get on or off one soapbox  so in the old days if you had a political  

  • opinion and you wanted to share it with other  people there wasn't an internet there wasn't  

  • even a tv or radio i'm talking aboutlong time ago so people would take the  

  • wooden box that actually carried soap before to  deliveries they would take it to the town square  

  • they would put it down they would stand on it so  they're a little bit higher than all the people  

  • and then they start talking and expressing their  opinions so that that's where the expression comes  

  • from to get on your soapbox to express very strong  opinion opinions and share them with somebody with  

  • people so if you get on your soapbox means you  start talking a lot and expressing opinions these  

  • days it basically means you're complaining about  something usually something political but still  

  • so if somebody tells you to get off your soapbox  it means stop complaining nobody wants to hear  

  • it anymore nobody cares about your opinions  just you're full of hot air stop talking okay  

  • and then press the flesh so  again what do politicians do  

  • the election is coming up so now they can't hide  in their office and pretend nothing's going on and  

  • they can't avoid the hot potato they can't pass  the bug they need to go out and press the flesh  

  • press the flesh well i can't do it here but press  this is flesh skin right meat press the flesh  

  • shake hands so they go around they shake  everybody's hands they kiss all the babies  

  • they take photo ops they get elected they  go back to their offices and hide there okay  

  • so these are five we're going to look at five more  that you might see in your political adventures  

  • okay so now we have a few more we have toe the  line politically correct or politically incorrect  

  • the red tape or cut through the red tape drag  someone's name through the mud and carrot and  

  • stick approach okay so let's start with toe  of the line so toe is like toe on your foot  

  • right you have ten toes ten fingers toe the line  basically you have a line all everybody's toes  

  • should be on the line basically means everybody  has to be going in the same direction everybody  

  • in a team or a group needs to be working towards  the same target okay everybody needs to conform

  • conform means don't try to be different  don't argue with the team do what everybody  

  • else is doing toe the line okay this is not  only in politics we have this in business  

  • especially this is what the team is doing  whether you disagree or not if even if you  

  • disagree i should say you start to toe the line  you still have to do what you're told do what  

  • the rest of the team is doing even if you think  it's wrong because if you don't toe the line you  

  • probably will get fired okay now i'm sure you've  heard this expression many times politically  

  • correct politically incorrect political  correctness if you want to do it without the  

  • and then just add the nest political  correctness now basically what this means  

  • is speaking or expressing opinions  in a way that doesn't offend anyone

  • so if you're politically correct  means you're not offending anyone  

  • you're not saying anything that somebody  will find hurtful or insulting or whatever  

  • if you're politically incorrect you just don't  care you say you express your opinions whatever  

  • they are if somebody gets offended too bad  now a lot of people think that these days  

  • we have or at least western liberal democracies as  they're called have become too politically correct  

  • nobody expresses an opinion nobody is allowed to  say anything because somebody will be offended  

  • okay it's become a problem in many cases but  at the same time you don't want to be insulting  

  • anybody like if you are if you allow political  incorrectness you're basically allowing racists  

  • and misogynists like people who hate women men  who hate women to say so to say negative things  

  • that will hurt people and create a bad environment  so people try to be politically correct but again  

  • there is such a thing as too much political  correctness red tape is basically bureaucracy

  • it's basically all the paperwork that you have  to do so governments these days have become so  

  • bureaucratic that nothing gets done you need  to for example you want permission to build a  

  • new building in this street so you have to go to  this department of the government and get a form  

  • and fill it out once it's filled out you have  to take it to that department and get a stamp  

  • once you have that stamped you take it to that  department and they give you a license to do  

  • something then you have to take that license go  hire the people you need then you have to go to  

  • the government make sure that they approve of  those people then once you get that approval you  

  • go to another department and get this stamp that  stamp that snap that stuff so if you cut through  

  • the red tape means you go straight from pointto point b without too much bureaucracy so a lot  

  • of governments have become so bureaucratic again  that nothing gets done so a lot of new leaders  

  • new elected leaders are trying to cut through all  the red tape and get the government working again  

  • okay government has become too big nothing gets  done it's time to cut through the red tape now  

  • to drag someone's name through the mud it's  basically like it sounds you know mud like if  

  • if it rains on the ground and the ground is  like dirt it becomes mud right like very brown  

  • liquid if you drag someone's name through the  mud you are basically hurting their reputation

  • maybe you're embarrassing them maybe your humility  humiliating them you're causing other people to  

  • lose respect for them you are hurting their  reputation and basically their careers could  

  • be over again not only in politics this happens  a lot in the entertainment industry in the music  

  • industry people say bad things about each other  and they drag each other's names through the mud  

  • but generally speaking if you try to  drag someone's name through the mud  

  • it's very difficult for you not to get any mud on  your shoes as they say which means you're going  

  • to be hurt by this as well because you did  this to somebody it doesn't look good on you  

  • either so keep that in mind lastly carrot and  stick approach so when it comes to diplomacy

  • for example one country is trying to get another  country to do something there are two ways to do  

  • this you can offer them a carrot or you can  offer them the stick so basically this comes  

  • from a mule like a donkey an animal looks like  a horse but not they're very stubborn animals  

  • if you want the the mule to move and it doesn't  want to move you have two options you can put a  

  • carrot on a stick and put it on a string again in  front of the donkey and the donkey wants to eat it  

  • so it will start moving towards the carrot but the  carrot keeps moving but there's an incentive okay

  • so you can offer an incentive or you can offer  a reward for doing something or you can use the  

  • stick so if the donkey doesn't move and the carrot  doesn't work then you take that stick and you hit  

  • the donkey on the bum and the donkey  starts to move because it's in pain so

  • there's punishment or at least the threat of  punishment so carrot and stick you can offer  

  • them incentives to do something you want  or you can offer them punishments threaten  

  • them with punishments if they don't do  something you want and both approaches  

  • have their time in place sometimes the carriage  will work sometimes the stick will work sometimes  

  • you'll need to use both okay so that's the carrot  and stick so again you're not going to hear these  

  • expressions in everyday conversation necessarily  but if you are interested in politics and you do  

  • want to read washington post the new york times  cnn fox whatever your political leanings are  

  • you're going to need to know these expressions  because you're going to see them and you're going  

  • to hear them in political discussions quite often  okay so it's good to know them if you want to test  

  • your knowledge of them go to engvid.com there's  a quiz there that you can take and test your  

  • understanding if you have any questions about  this lesson please ask in the comments section  

  • of english and if you like this video please  subscribe to my youtube channel and come back  

  • for more helpful lessons to help you improve your  everyday english and i'll see you again soon bye

hi welcome to engvid i'm adam in today's  video i'm going to talk to you about some  

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B1 hot potato carrot political potato buck red tape

Learn 10 English Expressions from Politics

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    Summer posted on 2020/11/05
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