During the Second World War, Winston Churchill wanted the British ambassador to Spain – the somewhat unfortunately named Samuel Hoare – to press General Franco to release British pilots who had been shot down but escaped across France to Spain and were detained there. The ambassador protested that to do so would ruin his relations with Franco. “Stuff your relations with Franco,” Churchill is reported as having replied. “What do you think they are for!”In everyday conversation, to be ‘diplomatic…


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