Mugwump mania and memes take over Twitter

By Lamia Estatie
BBC News

Image source, Twitter/@jpjanson

It's not everyday you get called a mugwump.

But it's a top online search and social media trend in the UK after Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson accused Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn of being a "mutton-headed, old mugwump".

And social media users are speculating whether the term was an insult or a compliment by sharing all the mugwump memes and references they can think of.

Some are even capitalising on the term to garner support for Corbyn in the coming general election, by creating memes of an alien-like species called Mugwump from the 1991 film adaptation of the novel Naked Lunch.

Others made reference to Roald Dahl's books, with one user tweeting: "There's #mugwump, but there's also #mugglewump, a character from Roald Dahl who wants to turn the Twits upside down. Either could work."

While some cited a mention of the word in Dahl's sequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.

Image source, Twitter/@JoeMurphyLondon

Despite Johnson's intentions, supporters of Corbyn said that the "mugwump" label was in fact a "compliment".

"FYI: in Harry Potter #mugwump is the head of the International Confederation of Wizards. So makes sense - Jezza is pretty magical :)," one user tweeted.

Harry Potter creator, JK Rowling hasn't commented on the matter as yet.

Image source, Twitter/@Booktrust

Highlighting mugwump's "positive" connotation, some shared the Oxford English Dictionary definition: "A person who remains aloof or independent, especially from party politics".

Image source, Twitter/@cornwallTory

While some tweeted less contemporary understandings of the word: "Just to say: To call Corbyn a mugwump (a liberal defecting from corrupt Republican Party in 1880s) is a great insult to mugwumps."

BBC Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg added: "Technically, a mugwump was someone who left the Republican Party in 1884 to support the Democratic Candidate Grover Cleveland."

Though others criticised Johnson: "Mutton-headed mugwump? Who uses language like that? A posh out of touch privileged fool like Boris Johnson, that's who."

Image source, Twitter/@DrRizwanulHaq

"This is what a 'mugwump' looks like, a user said about an image of Mr Johnson dangling from a zip-line during the 2012 Olympics.

And there was this comparison to Buddy in the 2003 film, Elf.

Image source, Twitter/@IanCovey

By the UGC and Social News team