the organ grinder's monkey
organ grinder's monkey
One who acts for or does the bidding of someone much more powerful. Following the announcement, many are accusing the prime minister of being an organ grinder's monkey for the US president. Don't hurl abuse at these companies' PR representatives; they're just the organ grinders' monkeys, after all.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
the organ grinder's monkeyBRITISH
If you call someone the organ grinder's monkey, you mean that they are doing what a powerful person wants them to do, but have no real power themselves. He's the organ grinder's monkey, his only role in life to get money for his boss. Note: People use the terms organ grinder and monkey in many different structures to mean the powerful person and the person who does what they want. Why bother with monkeys when you can deal with the organ grinder? Some will say that I focus too much attention on the monkey, whilst allowing the organ grinder to get off free. Note: This expression is often used to show a lack of respect for both of the people you are talking about, but especially for the `monkey'. Note: In former times, organ grinders were street entertainers who played barrel organs. Sometimes they had a monkey that performed to the music.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012