It’s not just Members of Parliament that have a language of their own.
Bag-carriers have their own subtle and nuanced dialect which is often deployed to devastating effect, whether it’s being used to soothe ruffled constituents, dissuade MPs from mad undertakings, or in simply chatting up the intern in the bar after-hours.
Here at alt.guides we decode some of best known phrases used by staffers, and explore the deeper meanings behind such seemingly innocuous phrases.

Hey Boss, I’m just checking in.
It’s 5pm on a Friday and the Boss is safely tucked away in the constituency. I’ve spent all afternoon reading crap blogs and messing around on Facebook and am now contemplating a cheeky pint of Spitfire in the Sports and Social, but first I need to call the constituency office to create the impression that I’ve actually achieved something today.
Great idea, Boss! Do you mind if I just finish this first?
Much as I am sure that Girls Aloud would be delighted to attend the AGM of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Spores and Fungi, I rather think that explaining this to their agent without using the words “basically, he wants to cop an eyeful of Cheryl Cole now she’s single,” is going to be a tough one. I’ll leave this a few days, hope he gets another “great idea” in the interim, and pray it isn’t more insane than this one.
Ah yes, you’re the gentleman who wrote that fourteen page letter in green ink on how Mossad were behind the Spanish Inquisition and the failed Spice Girls tour. I’m afraid the MP isn’t here at the moment, but can I help?
I’ve jumped on the grenade big time here; the bonus season better be a bountiful one.
[When taking a message from the spouse of the MP] He/she has just left for the Chamber and won’t be back until late.
He/she has just left for the Strangers’ Bar and won’t be back until inebriated.
Politics is a game. You gotta play to win.
I’ve watched too many BBC political dramas.
He/she is in a meeting at the moment I’m afraid.
“Meeting” being a useful euphemism for any activity ranging from “gone to ground in the Tea Room” to “I’ve no idea where they are or what time they’ll be back. If ever.”
As I was saying to Gordon/David/Nick…
As chat up lines go, this ranks somewhere behind “get your coat, darlin’ you’ve pulled,” but after six pints I’m game for anything.
Obviously, I was closely involved in the recent leadership campaign.
After several months of unseemly begging and hanging around outside HQ like a pathetic sort of besuited Miss Havisham, somebody took pity on me and I was allowed in to make the tea.
I am the Senior Parliamentary Advisor to my MP.
I do the photocopying.
His piece is protected by powerful players on the board. For now. Muhahahahaha!
I co-write BBC political dramas.
Oh, he/she isn’t at his/her meeting? Well, that’s odd. I’ll check with my colleague and get back to you, but I’m sure there’s a good reason for him/her not being there.
Start scouring the tea-rooms people, the Boss has gone AWOL! We’ve got a runner, repeat: we’ve got a runner.
Dean Trench

Added: 28 February 2008