‘Operation Save Large Canine’ to ‘The Pork Pie Plot’: Westminster’s Phrase Salad Defined

Westminster is a place full of jargon at the best of times (hello to ‘laying a legislative instrument’). But in recent days British political observers could be forgiven for being utterly confused by the salad of words casually served. Here’s our best attempt at explaining what they mean.

The idea is to limit the damage caused by Sue Gray’s much-anticipated report at the numerous allegedly foul Westminster and Whitehall parties during lockdown. The boozy gatherings were fueled in various ways “A case of wine” and “Wine Time Friday”.

Dan Rosenfield, Johnson’s chief of staff, and his private secretary Martin Reynolds, the man behind the infamous “BYOB” party email, were considered possible falls.

The Independent reported: “The ‘Save Big Dog’ plan includes a communications ‘grid’ leading up to the completion of the investigation and beyond.”

Operation Red Meat

If rescuing “Big Dog” is the overarching goal, then “Operation Red Meat” is the set of guidelines (into the aforementioned “grid”) set by ministers that underpin the mission. By offering Tory MPs ‘red meat’, they aim to distract them from allegations by the Downing Street party and discourage a coup attempt.

Initiatives aimed at pleasing disgruntled conservative voters as well as the backbenchers include notify the BBC that the royalty could be replaced after the current deal ends in 2027 (although that already appears to be on the way out). However, Culture Minister Nadine Dorries has confirmed that the annual payment will be frozen at £159 until 2024.

Johnson confirmed that on Wednesday End England’s Plan B measures, including mask-wearing and guidance on working from home, on its current expiry date of January 26. They were warmly welcomed in the Conservative benches by lockdown-skeptical MPs and the move avoided another massive rebellion when it tried to renew them.

Newspapers have reported on Tory’s kites flying tougher crackdown on canal crossings, which the military tasked with reducing the number of small boats risking the voyage. The Times reported that plans are being drawn up to send migrants, including asylum seekers, to countries like Rwanda and Ghana for processing.

Senior Cabinet Secretary Michael Gove was reportedly preparing for the release of his report Leveling Up Plans to improve life in neglected areas across the country.

New plans are also intended to mitigate the threat Cost of Living Crisis and further Tackling the workload in healthcare caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

But not everyone read the script.

Some Tory MPs were not so impressed by the Ministry of Defense’s assumption of command of the English Channel and warned the Royal Navy would run a ‘taxi service’ for migrants. Conservative MP Philip Hollobone said in the House of Commons: “This isn’t Operation Red Meat, it’s Operation Dog’s Dinner.”

Meanwhile, the Ghanaian government has denied any suggestion that it is involved in the repression of migrants. In a tweet, the country’s foreign ministry denied that talks were underway with the UK to house a migrant processing facility.

The Ghanaian government not only slammed the idea that it was a stake, they even dubbed the flood of ideas “Operation Dead Meat.”

It said: “The Department for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration would like to state categorically that Ghana has not engaged in any such plan with the UK and has no intention of considering such an operation in the future.”

Albania has also denied claims that the country is involved in offloading asylum seekers, with the country’s ambassador telling The Independent that this was “against international law” and “completely contrary to (his) country’s position”.

Despite attempts to rally MPs behind their leader, the Tories’ wounds appeared to be worse than healed. Eight Tory MPs have publicly called on Johnson to leave (including one who defected to Labor on Wednesday) and feel the conspiracy to oust Johnson is widening.

Around 20 MPs from the 2019 election campaign called on Tuesday “2019’s” by many blue tickers on Twitter – are said to have met to discuss Johnson’s future. The peak received the nickname “Pork Pie Plot” (see also: “Pork Pie Putsch”) because it was reportedly being held in the office of MP Alicia Kearns, whose Melton Mowbray constituency is the home of the traditional meat pie.

It’s unclear where the pastry-themed rebellion fits in Operation Rinka, a Tory counter-attack on Operation Save Big Dig, named after the dog killed in the Jeremy Thorpe Affair in the 1970s, according to the Guardian.

Sky News deputy political editor Sam Coates reported that an “ally” of Johnson had described the MPs, elected three years ago, as “gray wolves … because they have not been socialized in Parliament during the pandemic.”

Another senior MP told Politico: “Some of them pork pie-rs get high on the adrenaline of change instead of thinking about the implications for the party and government.”

The Mirror and The i reported on an MP who joked that the riots were not being quelled. “It’s not Operation Big Dog, it is Operation Massive Cock‘ they mused.

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