Boris Johnson on Jeremy Corbyn: What is a mugwump, and is it actually a bad thing?

Mugwump - Boris Johnson's colourful insult to Jeremy Corbyn defined

'Mugwump' might not actually have the negative connotations Johnson intended

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Boris Johnson has called Jeremy Corbyn both a "benign Islingtonian herbivore" and a "mutton-headed old mugwump."

We can say the Foreign Secretary's attack on the Labour leader is...colourful, to say the least, maybe even creative. 

But what does 'mugwump' actually mean? is it really an insult?

The fact is, even though it was meant to be insulting, BoJo's choice of literary weapon might not have the intended purpose. 

In the Oxford English Dictionary, a mugwump is defined as a person who remains independent or aloof - especially from the politics which surround parliamentary parties. 

It's a word which can only loosely be used to describe Jeremy Corbyn, granted he is the leader of the Labour Party.

However, the word is perhaps better known because of JK Rowling's Harry Potter series. 

In the series, the 'Supreme Mugwump' is the head of the International Confederation of Wizards - the wizarding world's equivalent to the United Nations.

Hogwarts Headmaster and key figure Albus Dumbledore held this title for a great part of the series. It was stripped from him in the 5th book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

So it seems that Bozza has actually called Jezza a wizard - which might not strike many people as a bad thing.

Cynics might argue that the only magical power Corbyn has demonstrated as Labour leader so far is the ability to turn everything he touches into a steaming mess. But that probably wasn't what Johnson was getting at.