Diary: A 29-letter word outburst is nothing to Rees-Mogg

 

Floccinaucinihilipilification is sometimes said to be the longest word in the English language. At 29 letters, it beats antidisestablishmentarianism, though there are some longer concoctions in medical dictionaries, and the third paragraph of Finnegan's Wake, by James Joyce, has a made-up word of 100 letters.

Be that as it may, floccinaucinihilipilification is by a wide margin the longest in the printed version of Hansard that went on sale yesterday. There is only one MP eccentric and learned enough to use it, namely Jacob Rees-Mogg, the idiosyncratic old Etonian who represents North East Somerset, and looks and speaks as if he has stepped from the pages of a PG Wodehouse novel.

Pupils of the old school where Rees-Mogg, David Cameron and Boris Johnson received their education are credited with coining the word floccinaucinihilipilification, meaning the act of defining something as unimportant, from the Latin floccus – a wisp, naucum – a trifle, nihil – nothing, and pilus – a single hair, or trifle.

Intervening in a Commons debate on the British Government's dispute with a European Court over a pay award for EU staff, Mr Rees-Mogg accused the judges of breaching the age old principle of nemo iudex in causa sua – Latin for "no one should be the judge in their own cause".

He added: "Let me indulge in the floccinaucinihilipilification of EU judges and quote from the book of Amos about them: 'For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins: they afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate from their right'."

This man makes Dave Cameron sound like an oik.

Eminem April Fool drove Ann mad

Ann Widdecombe is asked in the current issue of Time Out what was the strangest thing she had ever read about herself. It was, she said, a report in The Independent that she was an Eminem fan. Numerous people came up to her expressing surprise. "When I read it, I thought 'What is all this rubbish?'," she said. "I got absolutely mad, and then suddenly realised the date." It was 1 April.

Spellar made to wait for his medal

In the days when there were more trade unions than there are now, the right wing of the TUC was occupied by the electricians union, the EEPTU. Its national officer John Spellar became famous as the wheeler dealer who organised the union block vote to ensure that annual party conferences voted the way leaders like Jim Callaghan wanted them to.

But the EEPTU has long gone, absorbed in a sequence of union mergers into the massive Unite, headed by that hardy left winger and former Liverpool docker, Len McCluskey. Old differences were put aside when Mr McCluskey went to the Commons to speak to a room full of Labour MPs. He began by ceremonially presenting Spellar with a medal for 40 years' service, after which Spellar delivered a homily on the importance of the union link with the Labour Party, his subtext being "don't wreck the link by attacking Ed Miliband from the left".

Oddly, Spellar's biography reveals that he began work at the EEPTU in 1969. So why has it taken until 2012 for him to be presented with his 40-year medal? Answer: because McCluskey's predecessor, Derek Simpson, could not make the presentation because he could not stand Spellar.

GMB is top donor – but for how long?

Unite is Britain's biggest union, but was not the biggest donor to the Labour Party during the last quarter of 2011. Figures released by the Electoral Commission show that the GMB, the third biggest union, topped the list, having given £649,092 in those three months. That same union will be debating a motion at its June conference to stop giving money to the Labour Party altogether.

Goodwin spared more humiliation

Fred Goodwin, whom we no longer call Sir Fred, has been spared one humiliation. It was suggested that he be expelled from the Royal Society of Edinburgh for his disservices to banking, but the 13-strong council has decided that he can stay. No reason has been given.

The origin of Dawkins

Richard Dawkins, who is due to debate with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, in Oxford tonight on the origin and nature of human beings, has hit back at a "surreal smear" in the Sunday Telegraph that he is descended from slave traders. It is hardly fair to attack him for what his "five-greats grandfather" did, he has told the Oxford Mail.

Besides, as everyone knows, Professor Dawkins is descended from primordial slime that formed in the oceans more than 3 billion years ago – whereas Dr Williams is a direct descendant of Adam.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Recruitment Genius: Project Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This privately-owned company designs and manuf...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources Officer

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen at th...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager - London - £40,000 + Bonus

£36000 - £40000 per annum + Bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own