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Biffos and Buffalos

- April 14, 2008

The concept of “BIFFO,” long known to those of us from a small island on the western periphery of Europe, hits the “political science blogosphere”:http://fruitsandvotes.com/?p=1635. As Matthew Shugart notes:

Ireland’s new Taoiseach will be a “Big ignorant fellow from Offaly.”

This explanation of the acronym very nearly accords with the more usual explanation that I’ve heard back home, with the prominent exception of the third word. More usually “fellow” is replaced by another word beginning with ‘f.’ Matthew fails to mention that the new Taoiseach, Brian Cowen1 is also a BUFFALO, or Big Ugly [Fellow] From Around Laois-Offaly. Important to know should you ever meet him and wish to preserve the diplomatic niceties of appropriate nomenclature &c.

1 No relation to Tyler, who was bemused when I told him a few years back that an Irish politician shared his surname; apparently it is a quite unusual name when it is spelled with an ‘en’ at the end rather than an ‘an.’