to be caught in a flip-flop

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brascooo

Senior Member
French
Hi !

While reading an article over the recent mayhem in Jamaica, I bumped into this expression : to be caught in a flip-flop... and I can't think of a correct translation of it.

Here is the context : " The risk of such mayhem is precisely why the prime minister had stalled on Mr Coke’s case, ever since the United States filed its extradition request last August. He only acted after being caught in a flip-flop over the hiring of Manatt, Phelps and Phillips, an American law firm, in the case. "

Could it mean "être pris la main dans la sac" ? (to get caught red-handed)
Thank you for helping :)
 
  • ljosalfar

    Senior Member
    English - Southern England
    I don't think it means 'caught red-handed'. It's actually pretty hard to tell exactly what it means, as the phrase gets used in all kinds of ways! It could mean simply a brouhaha - but it's more likely to mean something like 'conflict of interests'. I'm really just guessing here. 'flip-flop' generally seems to get used to mean 'up-and-down' in financial markets and suchlike, or a funny way of saying 'getting in a flap' as in brouhaha.
     

    Uncle Bob

    Senior Member
    British English
    I did wonder if it refered to the Prime Minister's state of dress. In the West Indies "flip flops" (tongs) are worn at home in private and being caught wearing them could be like "being caught with his trousers down" - pris au depourvu.
    (Yes, I am not unaware that my suggestion depends on the Prime Minister only wearing one 'flip flop' !)
     

    roi2verlan

    Senior Member
    United Statesian English
    My reading of this makes me think of politicians who "flip-flop" on thier ideals or what they say. For instance, a government official takes a stand on an issue and then, at a later date, perhaps because of a change in public opinion, changes his/her stance. Hard to say without more context.
     

    seadew

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    I agree with roi2verlan. It means the Prime Minister's reaction contradicted what he had said or done previously. He was caught reversing his own polilcy or stance. Cheers
     

    wordloom

    Member
    English - Canada
    My reading of this makes me think of politicians who "flip-flop" on thier ideals or what they say. For instance, a government official takes a stand on an issue and then, at a later date, perhaps because of a change in public opinion, changes his/her stance. Hard to say without more context.
    I also agree with roi2verlan and seadew. The "flip-flop" was the decision to stop resisting and begin taking steps to comply with mounting US pressure to extradite the gentleman in question. A flip-flop is a very common US journalistic term for a change in policy on the part of a politician. It is highly pejorative, and is used without regard to any changes of circumstance that might have occasioned the reversal. The term is much rarer in Canada, and I suspect in other parliamentary democracies, perhaps because here more policies are determined collectively by parties or cabinets, rather than by individual politicians.

    BTW, an imbroglio or brouhaha is a "flap", not a "flip-flop" in US "headlinese."
     

    brascooo

    Senior Member
    French
    Thanks a lot of all your help !

    Although it seems to be a common journalistic expression, I've never seen it before or it didn't draw my attention :eek:
     
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