On today's PM programme on Radio 4, Eddie Mair interviewed a US military official (or some such like) regarding the death in Iraq of Lance Corporal Matty Hull, who died when the convoy of armoured vehicles he was travelling in came under fire from US aircraft. The US official began the interview by offering his sincere condolences to Matty Hull's family. To which Mr Mair replied, quite bizarrely, "fine words butter no parsnips." There was a pause, before the US official admitted that he had never before heard this particular phrase. The correct response was, of course, "Mr Mair, you are nobbut a donkey's whippet." But we couldn't expect him to have known that.