Boris Johnson dubbed a 'fopdoodle' in latest 'dictionaries at dawn' election salvo

Brendan Cole
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Unkind epithets are ten a penny during electioneering but to follow the insults of this campaign, voters are having to scramble for their dictionaries.

After Boris Johnson dubbed the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, a "mutton-headed old mugwump" - a term used by Native Americans to describe a war leader - the foreign secretary will get a taste of his own verbal medicine.

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On Tuesday (2 May) Labour's deputy leader Tom Watson will challenge the most avid crossword enthusiasts among the members of the shopworkers' union Isdaw by describing Johnson as a "caggie-handed cheese-headed fopdoodle with a talent for slummocking about," according to the Guardian.

A 'fopdoodle' is a stupid or insignificant person, and can also describe a fool or a simpleton. A 'slummock' is an untidy person, while 'caggie handed' can refer to someone who is left-handed, but also someone who is clumsy.

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However, the term 'cheese-headed' is more obscure. It refers to a type of screw with a raised head on it, and while it is not clear how this relates to either Johnson's rhetoric or appearance, it should be understood by the union members he is addressing.

Watson will also say: "When we require diplomacy, Boris sows discord. At a time when we need a serious-minded national representative to deal skilfully with some of the most complex problems our country faces, Johnson falls back on bluster and bombast."

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Tom Watson

Johnson is renowned for his florid language but this intervention by Watson takes the 'dictionaries at dawn' election campaign to a new level, although after 8 June, the verbal fisticuffs will ease should the adage "you campaign in poetry, you govern in prose" hold true.

More prosaically, Labour will announce on Tuesday that it will put put 10,000 additional police officers on the streets of England and Wales. This will be paid for by reversing Tory cuts to Capital Gains Tax (CGT) which Labour says will cost public services £2.7bn over five years.

Corbyn will address an audience in Southampton and say: "Community policing means uniformed officers being visible, local and accessible....Labour will reduce crime by putting more police in the community to make sure policing works for the many not the few."

But the Tories say Labour had already promised to spend the CGT savings on schools, welfare and the arts.

Brandon Lewis, the policing minister, said: "This is just another nonsensical Jeremy Corbyn idea, which he can't pay for because his sums don't add up and he's already spent the money for it three other ways."

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