Thursday, 15th April 2021

Knaves and guttersnipes: Jacob Rees-Mogg's guide to Victorian insults

JACOB Rees-Mogg has put a journalist in his place by calling him ‘either a knave or a fool’. Here he lists his utterly devastating insults for anyone who incurs his wrath. 

Scallywag and a rascal

Such stern words will cut like a hot knife through butter into any gentleman’s very soul. There’s no need to resort to any of the modern, gratuitous swears when you have such vicious words to hand.

Example: Only a scallywag and a rascal would maintain that mass ought not be celebrated in Latin!

Knave or a fool

Any self-respecting chap will reconsider their misdeeds if you attack their character thus. They will surely be crushed by so grievous an insult – though do use such strong language sparingly.

Example: How dare you say that ‘Sixtus’ is a ludicrous name for a child, you are a knave or a fool!

Wastrel and a wretch

Bring his bank balance into an argument and a gentleman will become livid. Implying that he doesn’t have access to inherited wealth accrued over generations will cut him to the core. 

Example: How dare you question our nanny’s parenting skills; you sir, are a wastrel and a wretch!

Ragamuffin and a guttersnipe

Going after a gentleman’s sartorial sense is callous indeed. But certain situations may call for such serious words to be uttered against one’s enemy.

Example: I will not have a ragamuffin and a guttersnipe tell me to stop lounging on the House of Commons benches.

Hornswoggler and a boor

One’s fox-fur gloves are truly off here. To label someone a cheat, while also calling into question the capabilities of their parents and their nanny by saying they’ve bad manners, is a powerful one-two punch indeed.

Example: How dare you imply my public persona is cynically crafted, you hornswoggler and boor!