un joujou qu'on agite

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Can someone tell me the literal meaning of the phrase and also if there is an English equivalent

"Les retraites, ce n'est pas un joujou qu'on agite en fonction des circumstances politiques"

the context is a quote from a trade union leader on reforming the retirement age in France.

so far I've come up with " retirement cannot be played with in political circumstances"

It's awful I know, that's why I need your help!

Thanks in advance :)
  • Michelvar

    French / France

    it's not a set expression in French. If I understand well, the idea is that politicians use retirement policy like a rattle when they want to give citizens, like if they were babies, something to keep them busy so that they don't take care of other problems. And he thinks retirement policy is to important to be used as a rattle.

    But I don't know if there is an English expression for that.


    Thank you Michelvar,

    does this sound more accurate:

    “Retirement policy is not a rattle toy to be used as a contingent in political circumstances"


    Uncle Bob

    Senior Member
    British English
    Would one use "rattle toy"? A rattle is a toy so one would use one or the other, or misterk's plaything (I mean the word:)).
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