In December 2008 the minister for higher education was David Lammy. He appeared on Celebrity Mastermind, where he scored a paltry eight points on Muhammad Ali, paltry considering it was his specialised subject.
One of his first general knowledge questions revealed that he didn’t know what English cheese was traditionally drunk with. For those who did not win life’s lottery the answer is port. Ah, well, so what, you might ask. But some of his answers were quite astounding.
Q. – what was the married name of the scientists Marie and Pierre who won the Nobel prize in 1903 for research into radiation?
A. – Antoinette.
Q.– which fortress was built in the 1370s to defend one of the gates of Paris and was later used by Cardinal Richelieu as a state prison?
A. – Versailles.
Q. – who succeeded to the English throne aged 9 on the death of his father Henry Vlll in 1547?
A. – Henry Vll (ROFLMAO)
Q. – Which country’s Rose Revolution of 2003 led to the resignation of President Edward Shevardnadze?
A. – Yugoslavia.
OK, so I didn’t get the Rose Revolution (Georgia) and I wasn’t too sure about Edward Vl (but guessed right) but Henry Vll succeeding Henry Vlll? That’s stand-up stuff. This Harvard graduate and some time practising barrister didn’t know that by 1998 Yugoslavia had ceased to exist? And he was minister for higher education? I got the impression from seeing him on This Week and in the Commons that he was a bit thick, but really, THAT thick? Could it be his progress up the greasy pole had something to do with him being black? I won’t insult anyone’s intelligence by naming the other two answers. I knew those when I was in the fourth form.
Whatever, suffice to say that his points total for general knowledge was five making him last among the airheads.
But it wasn’t the all time low. That dubious honour was held by the man who scored just two points in the 2003 edition of Celebrity Mastermind.
David Blunkett. Labour’s education secretary.