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!

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Six ways to convince yourself being under 50 is very young

TOO young for a vaccine yet but actually deep into middle age? Here’s how to ignore annoying reality and convince yourself being slightly shy of 50 is practically being 25.

Compare yourself with ageing celebrities

Brad Pitt: 57. Liz Hurley: 55. Michelle Pfeiffer: 62. With some serious Wikipedia-bashing the list just goes on and on. God, you’re so young in comparison and therefore probably even hotter than George Clooney (59) but without the enormous wealth or success.

You like rap

Well, a bit of Public Enemy and NWA, anyway – apart from the ones that advocate killing police officers, which is irresponsible. Also Chuck D is 60, which is reassuring (see above).

You probably won’t become properly old like your parents

Your parents are into dreadful toss such as Midsomer Murders, trogging around garden centres and listening to The Best of Acker Bilk. Simply avoid these activities – which isn’t much of a personal loss – and you are, by comparison, very young. 

Firmly believe the world is still your oyster

Cherry-pick examples of success that happened quite quickly, such as JK Rowling and Harry Potter. Assume you can easily replicate this, put your laptop on the kitchen table and get cracking on building a multi-billion dollar empire with your completely original novel Hannah Trotter and the Magic Wizarding Tree

You have a youthful outlook

And you do. Unlike certain older relatives you have no problem with gay people, black people or the French. And you wear trainers. Although so does your uncle Gerald, who finds them comfortable for gardening and uses terms like ‘nancy boys’.

Hang out with prematurely aged younger acquaintances

These people are gold dust for anyone feeling a bit old. Hang out with a niece, nephew or friend aged 25 who drones about one of the following: buy-to-let, their pension scheme, or immigration. You’ll feel like a bouncing spring lamb, and a lot less tedious.