Harry Potter, mugwumps and a man called Boris dominate first week of electioneering in Britain

Source: Xinhua| 2017-04-30 02:05:19|Editor: xuxin
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LONDON, April 29 (Xinhua) -- The first full week of campaigning ahead of Britain's June 8 snap general election has ended with the headlines being dominated by a quirky insult hurtled by foreign secretary Boris Johnson at main opposition leader, Labour's Jeremy Corbyn.

Brexit, the state of the NHS and Scottish devolution were never far away, but many important matters of state took second place to a dissection of the term Mugwump.

It came after Eton-educated Johnson, noted for his eloquent use of English language, referred to Corbyn as a "mutton headed old mugwump".

It had political commentators and linguists searching for its proper meaning, and also similar insulting or unusual terms suitable during a war of words as politicians battle it out over votes.

The esteemed Daily Telegraph told its readers: "Its strict dictionary definition is: A person who remains aloof or independent, especially from party politics. But as it rhymes with chump, it can be used to mean idiot."

Johnson used the expression in an article in the tabloid Sun newspaper when he wrote that British voters should not be fooled by Corbyn's "meandering and nonsensical questions."

He wrote: "They say to themselves: he may be a mutton-headed old mugwump, but he is probably harmless."

The rival tabloid Daily Mirror told its readers Friday that fans of J.K. Rowling's wizard character Harry Potter, will recall the term "Supreme Mugwump", one of the titles held by the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Professor Dumbledore. It was also used in one of the stories by the children's writer Roald Dahl.

The Mirror said in its commentary: "The Foreign Secretary loves to show off his classical knowledge and is known for using bizarre and archaic language."

The Mirror offered its readers a collection of "Boris style" expressions: a throttlebottom (an innocuously inept and futile person in public office), a cumberworld (a useless waste of space), a foozle (an old fogey or someone who is behind the times).

Johnson's use of mugwump had the nation searching the internet for similar words.

Meanwhile back on the election trail, British Prime Minister Theresa May, Corbyn and the other party leaders, have spent the week criss-crossing Britain hoping to gather support in the June 8 election.

That criss-crossing took May north of the border Saturday to address a rally of Conservative supporters in Scotland. Although Scottish politics is dominated by the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) led by Nicola Sturgeon, the Conservatives have been picking up support in Scotland and are now ahead of third-placed Labour.

May, who earlier this week visited Wales on the election trail, pressed her message to the people of Scotland: "if you vote for me, it will strengthen my hand in the Brexit negotiations. It will strengthen the Union, strengthen the economy, and together the UK and Scotland will flourish. Because when Scotland is flourishing, the rest of the United Kingdom is flourishing too."

Scotland, however, voted remain by 62 to 38 in last year's EU referendum, unlike the UK-wide result which showed 52-48 in support of leaving the EU bloc.

Scotland boasts Britain's highest mountain, Ben Nevis, and May's Conservatives may well have a mountain to climb. In the 2015 general election the SNP swept to power, wining 56 of the 59 Scottish seats in the House of Commons. Labour, Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats were left with just one seat each.

Five years earlier, the SNP had won just six seats, Labour gathered 41 and the Lib Dems 11. The Conservatives only had one MP in Scotland, though even that was better than the 1950s when it didn't have a single MP.

Paul Nuttall, leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) announced Saturday he will stand for election in the British town with the highest support for Brexit.

Nuttall will contest the seat of Boston and Skegness at the general election, where support for Brexit in last June's referendum was 75.6 percent. Earlier this year Nuttall was runner up in a by-election in Stoke on Trent. UKIP currently have no serving MPs in the House of Commons, despite being the party that spearheaded the leave campaign over nearly 30 years.