obscure metaphor

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Jeepster

Senior Member
The grip ran out at 40, it accelerated like a Greek afternoon, and I’m willing to bet its spark plugs stop working whenever there’s an idiot in Number 10

J. Clarkson. The Top Gear Years, Penguin Books Limited 2012
That's where you can read the full text

Is Number 10 the Number 10 on downing-street? And so whenever there’s an idiot in Number 10 means too often ?

Or what?
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Yes, very probably: he's implying that whoever's running the country is an idiot, so the spark plugs are always going wrong.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    If it does accelerate at all, then evidently the sparking plugs do work.
    Given Clarkson's outlook, I would read the meaning as 'whenever a Labour government is in office'.
    This expresses a view often heard at the lounge bar that nothing works properly under Labour.
     
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