There’s just one week to go before the Great Big Politics Pub Quiz, and as Malcolm Tucker once memorably said: “I’ve got a to-do list here that’s longer than a f#cking Leonard Cohen song.”
The politicians are coming down from the hill and they’re headed for The Black Box. Tuesday 20 November, from 7:30pm to be precise.
Currently confirmed to take a turn in the quiz-master’s chair are UUP leader, Mike Nesbitt; Environment Committee chair, Anna Lo MBE; Policing Board member, Conall McDevitt; North Down MLA, Peter Weir; and Green Party leader, Steven Agnew.
There’s the usual bumper crop of top politics-themed books, DVDs and US election ephemera up for grabs, courtesy of public affairs company Stratagem. And a bit of a comedy interlude from Ronan Linskey, a local stand-up with a growing reputation.
We guarantee laughs and head-scratching in equal measure from our crack team of mystery question-setters, currently splitting their time between the Linenhall Library political collection and Mick Fealty’s DVD collection (careful now!)
The Black Box inform us that tickets have been flying out the door over the last ten days, so the best way to bag your team’s seats is to get them online via The Black Box website or in person at the Hill Street venue. Maximum team size of six please. And none of your fancy smart phone jiggery-pokery either. We’ll have low-flying Obama-drones checking for any wrong-doing: you have been warned.
All for a good cause, of course. This year, it’s for the emergency work of the Red Cross / Red Crescent in Syria. It is crucial but dangerous work. A number of Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers have lost their lives in recent weeks. The war is spiralling and the need is so great that the International Committee of the Red Cross says it is now struggling to cope.
According to Peter Maurer, the head of the ICRC: “The seriousness of the crisis is deepening with every day and this trend has been uninterrupted since summer. We see the war and the fighting expanding.”
But they and their local volunteers – both in Syria and in neighbouring countries now being overwhelmed with refugees fleeing the fighting – will keep on trying. Every penny raised from the Quiz will go to support their work.
I am the Northern Ireland Programme Director of Amnesty International UK and an occasional human rights blogger at Amnesty Blogs: Belfast & Beyond.
I’m on Twitter at @PatrickCorrigan