Great Big Politics Pub Quiz – prizes update & reassurance that you don’t have to attend with a fully formed table

Politicos! We feel your pain. We know that you’re desperate to go to The Great Big Politics Pub Quiz, but you’re cursed with normal friends who would rather dip a tender extremity in acid than go and get bamboozled by questions about The East Lothian Question*.

Do not despair. You can still join the fun even if all your friends are ‘normal’.

Individuals coming along on Monday night (25 October) won’t be left without a team. Your name will be put in a Great Big Politics Hat and we will assign you a random team comprising three other Great but not necessarily Big people.

And for the Gents who are planning to come, please remember that this will probably not be Belfast’s equivalent of Listoonvarna. There’s a clue in the name ‘politics quiz’. We’re not really expecting to be overwhelmed by women, OK? They won’t be entirely absent, of course, but don’t go wasting too much Versace Pour Homme in hope, eh? Just come as you are.

When it comes to prizes, there will be some must-have political tomes for your book-shelf, including a signed copy of Tony Blair’s controversial memoirs, and signed books by some of Northern Irelands finest journalists: David Gordon, Henry McDonald, Ciaran McKeown, Malachi O’Doherty, Liam Clarke and Kathryn Johnston (thanks to one and all of these generous scribes!).

Oh, and if you’re really lucky, there’s some lovely Co-operative Fair Trade wine to take home to enjoy as well! And tickets to some just as lovely films at the QFT. And some tickets for events over the final weekend of the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s! (Big thanks to Co-op, QFT and the Festival!)

Star Prize

We can now announce the bumper prize donated by the ever generous folks at Stratagem.

Hamper of politics-related books and DVDs:

  • Seventy-Two Virgins – Boris Johnson
  • The Blair Years – Alastair Campbell
  • Great Hatred, Little Room: Making Peace in Northern Ireland – Jonathan Powell
  • Cal – Bernard MacLaverty
  • Paisley: Religion and Politics in Northern Ireland – Steve Bruce
  • Momentum: The Struggle for Peace, Politics and the People – Mo Mowlam
  • A Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela – Nelson Mandela
  • The Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White House – John F. Harris
  • Voices from the Grave: Two Men’s War in Ireland – Ed Moloney
  • A View From The Foothills: The Diaries of Chris Mullin – Chris Mullin
  • Killing Rage – Eamon Collins
  • Party Animals – Olivia O’Leary; Paperback
  • David Ervine: Uncharted Waters – Henry Sinnerton; Paperback
  • Screwing Up – Mark Oaten; Hardcover
  • Himself Alone: David Trimble and the Ordeal Of Unionism – Dean Godson; Paperback
  • Diaries: In Power – Alan Clark; Paperback
  • Sinn Fein: A Hundred Turbulent Years – Brian Feeney; Paperback
  • Iain Dale’s Guide to Political Blogging in the UK – Iain Dale; Paperback
  • Adrian Mole and The Weapons of Mass Destruction – Sue Townsend; Paperback
  • The Complete Yes Minister & Yes Prime Minister – Collector’s Box Set [DVD]
  • The Motorcycle Diaries [DVD] [2004]
  • In The Loop [DVD] [2009]
  • Michael Collins [DVD] [1996]
  • The Manchurian Candidate [DVD] [2004]
  • Primary Colors [DVD] [1998]
  • All The President’s Men (2 Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1976]
  • Bloody Sunday [DVD] [2002]
  • Charlie Wilson’s War [DVD] [2007]
  • Frost/Nixon [DVD] [2008]
  • Hunger [DVD] [2008]
  • Milk [DVD] [2008]
  • The Thick of It: Specials [DVD] [2006]
  • Strawberry & Chocolate (Fresa Y Chocolate) by Alea [DVD] [1993]
  • Margaret [DVD]
  • Mo [DVD] [2009]

And if that isn’t enough to have you signing up immediately nothing will.

Hilarious team names

Go on. Astound us (using the form below). There’s already an SDLP team called ‘Stoops to Conquer’ so the funny bar is pretty high……

So sign up, come along on Monday at 7.45pm, and boost the PQ [Political Quotient] of a table, enjoy the celebrity politician quiz masters, and help raise money for the Haven Partnership house-building project in Haiti.

*Go on, show what a geek you really are by commenting on this here?

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  • drumlins rock

    umm, anyone want me on their team? 🙂

  • Mark McGregor

    Normally I’d jump at the chance but I’m relegated to ‘tasks’ as I helped set some of the questions 🙁

  • Mark McGregor

    Are the rumours true? You can bid for dinner with Pete?

    *checks the limit on credit card*

  • Drumlins Rock

    Anyone want to join the “2010 and 3/4 Group” team?

  • I was told that the first prize was a night out with yourself Mark. Second prize is breakfast the next morning…

  • Should add a couple of signed copies of my photographic book “A look around Laganside” to the list

  • Mooch – that’s a deal! Thanks. Bring along on the night please.

    Let’s not forget there’s also the meal for four and a tour of Parliament Buildings, (donated and) personally guided by new dad John McCallister MLA (but only when he’s back from paternity leave, I trust!)

    Other appropriate raffle / quiz prize donations invited below… 🙂

  • will do.
    I’ll be keepin a beady eye out for the glow of mobiles……

  • Mark McGregor

    I’m sure I could dig out an old marked register. The stoops would pay top dollar!

  • New readers start here:

    The “East Lothian Question” was an arcane debate on Scottish education (see what mental litter one picks up from reading the Times). It represents one of the few meetings of (for want of a better term) “minds” between the SNP and the Scots Tories.

    It is about to be implemented in full, untested, untried, in full, across the English system by the benighted Gove of the ConDem coalition with his “free schools” (i.e. diabolically expensive in the longer term). At least when Thatcher went for a major social cock-up, she tried it on the Scots first.

  • lamhdearg

    ■Seventy-Two Virgins – Boris Johnson
    imagine my disappointment when i realised this was a book

  • Mark McGregor

    Teaser European question that didn’t make the final cut:

    One of these statements about the first OFMDFM office located in Brussels is false, which one?

    • The office used by the first and deputy first Minster had bullet proof glass.

    • The office used by the first and deputy first Minster had a safe which was used for storing firearms

    • The office used by the first and deputy first Minster could be partitioned

  • lamhdearg

    My GUESS firearms.

  • Mark McGregor


    You are correct but to show how fiendish the questions may be (and I was asked to go easy and give options):

    The safe that was used for storing firearms was in the office next door not the actual FM/DFM office,.

  • Alias

    That’s a typo in the Koran. It’s actually one seventy-two-year-old virgin. But that probably won’t be so bad if you wait until you’re about 80 before blowing yourself up.

  • lamhdearg

    The office for storing firearms, was it also used to store wasters sorry elected types. or is it only used for firearms, do you know do you care do i care.

  • lamhdearg

    Very interesting that guns are banned from the euro parliament building, No one will be able to shoot back.

  • Mark McGregor

    LD, I deleted the message you replied to, apologies. Now you look like a terrorist not me!

  • Pete Baker

    You couldn’t afford me, Mark. 😉

  • lamhdearg

    Glad you came back, i was starting to believe i was going insane, one mans terrorist.

  • A bit of an Ulster centric European question.

    Are all the questions parochial at heart or has anybody stood on a chair and looked over the horizon?

    If not which Irish MLA was the first to congratulate Barak Obama on his historic victory?

  • Malcolm,

    You’ve fallen for a rudimentary sucker punch there. It’s the WEST Lothian question.

    If I were in town, I’d be avoiding your team…. 😉

  • You asked about the “East Lothian Question”. I merely pointed out there is one.


    The West Lothian question, au contraire, was one of the many bees that have populated the capacious and capricious bonnet of Black Tam o’ the Binns over the decades.

    It oppresses me with thoughts of mortality that Tam Dalyell (fortunately still with us, and for many years to come) was the subject of not one, but two of the ballads we sang from The Rebels’ Ceilidh Song Book, no. 2 (published by the Bo’ness Rebels Literary Society, 1965). He even had a featured image, prostrate under a wolf’s left rear foot, on the cover. So, here goes for the first:

    … Tammy speaks so pukka,
    Like the gulls on Muckle Flugga …
    “I stand for the working man,”
    But they’ll no staund for Tam.

    O, Billy Wolfe’ll win, hullo! hullo!
    O, Billy Wolfe’ll win, hullo! hullo!
    O, Billy Wolfe’ll win. Yes, he’ll walk right in,
    And it’s ta-ta Tammy, oot ye go.

    That, of course, was the June 1962 West Lothian by-election. Wolfe came second for the SNP with 9.750 votes (Tam predicted 10,000 and was mocked for it by his Labour Party handlers), as the Tory vote collapsed from 18,000 to just 4,000. It was both the start of the TV age for British politics, and the first marker that Scottish Unionism was on the way out. Selwyn Lloyd was definitely out from no. 11, when Macmillan dispatched him in the “Night of the Long Knives”.

    Now there’s a curious thing: every Tory government starts with right-wing pure intents, and then collapses back into sanity. How long, O Lord, how long?

    As for the second appearance, that’s The Ballad of the Lea-Rig Bar:

    O Tam Dalyell cam sookin in,
    He’s a frightfully decent chap,
    “I’ve fotch my Saft Soap Bottle, Heah!
    Would you like a tiny drap?”

    “O, Billy Wolfe wis efter him,
    A snarlin and a snappin,
    And Tam was feart tae tak ower much,
    Lest Billy cotch him nappin.

    Tae the Lea-Rig I will go, will go,
    Tae the Lea-Rig I will go.

  • Gah! Foiled again, damn you!

    One day, Malcolm…. one day…. 🙂

  • Great stuff. Anna Lo has been in touch to say that she’s bringing along a team of the Alliance Party’s sharpest minds (oi, stop sniggering at the back…) to challenge for the top prize. Game on!

    As well as being one of our MLA quizmasters for the evening, Anna’s also generously bringing along a book about Stormont to add to the prize fund.

    Thanks! Keep ’em coming…

  • Don’t worry articles,
    a) there will be plenty of parish pump-free politics questions from beyond our borders;
    b) very few will be as obscure as Mark’s example above…

    No idea who the MLA was. I’m sure Obama doesn’t either.

  • Now, that’s what I call a star prize! I want one of those…