Jacob Rees-Mogg left the LBC studios with his tail between his legs yesterday after he struggled in a basic Latin test – despite extolling the benefits of learning classic languages at school.
A newLatin Excellence Programme is set to be rolled out by the government in 40 state schools in England as part of a four-year pilot to ensure the subjectwas not “for the privileged few”.
Defending the move on LBC, Eton-educated Rees-Mogg said “a good classical knowledge is a very high level of intellect”, adding:
“Do you remember a few weeks ago there was some woke statement about how people shouldn’t use Latin quips because it discriminated? That’s completely the wrong way around. What you want to do is make sure people are comfortable with Latin quips because you’ve given them such a good education. That’s what levelling up is all about.
“It’s not about stopping difficult things. It’s making opportunity available to everybody.”
But the Tory MP appeared to be a little rusty himself when presented with a basic Latin test live on air.
He only got one out of the three questions correct, which was the Eton school motto.
He did not know the Latin for “through fire nature is reborn whole or “don’t get your knickers in a twist”.
This was the moment Jacob Rees-Mogg failed Camilla Tominey's Latin translation challenge ahead of a rollout of the language in state schools.@CamillaTominey | @Jacob_Rees_Mogg pic.twitter.com/0A6pxVZ7mv— LBC (@LBC) August 2, 2021
Fair to say the reaction on social media has been pretty hilarious.
Here’s what people had to say:
Jacob Rees-Mogg agrees to be interviewed on LBC about the benefits of learning Latin at school.— Karen Th ?? ??? #3.5% #GTTO #BLM (@KarenStopHate) August 1, 2021
Fails to understand some simple Latin phrases presented to him (except for the Eton moto).
Admits his knowledge of Latin is limit to the Dictionary of Quotations?♀️
Mogg's Latin was tested on LBC. He got 1/3 questions right, correctly translating his school motto. There's a very big difference between memorising reactionary Latin tags for the glee of your peers and learning Latin.— Frédéric Moreau ? (@goodclimate) August 1, 2021
If you're wondering why Jacob Rees Mogg couldn't translate some basic Latin on LBC the answer lies in this 2012 interview. pic.twitter.com/KTixWB8wum— Otto English (@Otto_English) August 2, 2021