Thursday, 27 April 2017

The Mystery of the M Word.

Boris Johnson, the Clown Prince of British politics, caused quite a stir today when he referred to the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, as a mugwump.

This is interesting because I’d heard the word, but only in connection with a song by the Mamas and Papas. I didn’t actually know what it meant. Neither, it seems, did Boris Johnson (I read somewhere that he was confusing mugwump with oompa-loompa), so everybody is now laughing at him as usual. When BBC Radio Derby asked the Prime Minister in an interview whether she knew the meaning of mugwump, she replied ‘I am conscious of the fact that the country needs strong and stable leadership.’ (Well, we all know that rats are capable of slithering through seemingly non-existent spaces, don’t we? I’ve seen them do it. Or maybe she didn’t hear the question. Or maybe Radio Derby was unwittingly connected to a recorded announcement.) Best of all, Word doesn’t have mugwump in its dictionary, at least the UK version doesn’t.

And that, it seems, is the point: mugwump is an American word. So I looked it up.

I was informed that a mugwump is a person who remains aloof and independent, especially from party politics. (Which doesn’t mean that a mugwump can’t side with a Socialist if that Socialist is trying to make the country a nicer and fairer place to live in.) As such, it appears that I’m a mugwump, too.

So hooray for me and Jeremy. And thank you, Boris, for entertaining us with the custard pie that missed.

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