More Mugwumps please!

Boris Johnson called Jeremy Corbyn a ‘mutton-headed mugwump’ in an article today. I don’t know what ‘mutton-headed’ means (is it someone with grey hair???). I didn’t know what ‘mugwump’ meant, but it sounded like an insult. As a matter of fact, mugwump-ism is a rather good thing. It means that someone is above, and independent from, party politics. What is wrong with that? The greatest defect of parliamentary democracy in practice is a dearth of mugwump-ism. Parliamentary democracy is premised on the idea that rational individuals will studiously research topics pertinent to the national interest, and then proffer their highly educated opinions for the benefit of the national interest within suitable forums. Parliamentary democracy should be mugwump-democracy. Instead, we get smug careerists who appeal to the base instincts of the electorate, while taking back-handers from lobby groups. We get careerist democracy, instead of mugwump democracy. We get more Boris Johnsons, and less Jeremy Corbyns. What I would say to Corbyn is to rename the Labour party the Mugwump party, wear the label of mugwump as a source of pride, and implement a true mugwump democracy so the UK can be a champion of global mugwump-ism.

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