Posted by ESC on July 27, 2004
In Reply to: Business as usual. posted by James Briggs on July 26, 2004
: : : I've been trying to track down the origin of this phrase with no luck as of yet - any ideas out there? Thanks...v
: : Perhaps it was a remark made by a lady of the night when told to "F-k off!"
: : Tat is, after all, the oldest business...
: It was a very common sign in bomb damaged shops in Britain in WW2, and used to indicate that, in spite of the damage, they were still open for trade.
One reference traces it back to World War I:
"business as usual -- complacency; unconcern for imminent danger; or, determination to carry on despite danger. Winston Churchill, speaking at the Guildhall in London in the opening days of World War I, said, 'The maxim of the British people is 'Business as usual.' This carried the same kind of bravery-in-adversity message that he restated more eloquently in the early days of World War II..." From "Safire's New Political Dictionary" by William Safire (Random House, New York, 1993).