Re: President Schuster: Not just another chicken in the box [Editorial, Vol. 5 No. 22, June 7-13, where The Slovak Spectator erroneously quoted UK Ambassador to Slovakia David Lyscom as saying that the election of President Rudolf Schuster on May 29 was another "chicken in the box" for Slovakia - ed note].
I have heard it said that the main thing which divides British and America is their common language. Now I believe it.
In British pubs we serve chicken in a basket. In America you have Kentucky Fried in a bucket. But I have never come across chicken in a box, and certainly not in connection with politicians. The image of President Schuster deep fried in bread crumbs is not one that comes easily to me!
I am not surprised that both you and your journalist were puzzled by my supposed use of this expression. If either of you had checked back I could have explained that what I said was that Slovakia had a list of actions which needed to be taken to remedy the democratic deficiencies identified by the EU. The democratic election of the President was another "tick in the box," that is to say another task completed. My remarks did not refer to President Schuster specifically, but to the successful completion of the democratic process.
As to the other "Lyscomism," I am afraid I cannot help you. The quote you give ["knock-on effect"] is only partial and I cannot recognise the context. My staff tell me I usually make some sort of sense when I give interviews. So, again, please get back to me next time you need an official interpretation from English English into American English.
Have a nice day now y'all, as I believe you say on your side of the pond.
British Enbassy, Bratislava
21. Jun 1999 at 0:00