Saturday, January 06, 2018

Chapter and verse from Pointless on how little interest most people take in politics

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A couple of days ago I wrote that the television quiz Pointless reminds us how little most people know about politics.

After I had done so, the admirable Alwyn Turner sent me the link to a post he wrote back in 2013 making the same point:
An edition of the TV game show Pointless this week had a round based on 100 people naming as many politicians as they could remember who had served in the Labour cabinets of either Tony Blair or Gordon Brown. That is, any cabinet member between 1997 and 2010 ...
It's not a scientifically selected sample, but even so the results suggest just how completely uninterested in politics the public are.
Top of the list was John Prescott, named by just 15 out of the 100 people. Then came:
Ed Miliband - 13 out of 100
Ed Balls - 13 out of 100
David Miliband - 12 out of 100
Jack Straw - 7 out of 100
Alistair Darling - 7 out of 100
Peter Mandelson - 4 out of 100
David Blunkett - 4 out of 100
Clare Short - 2 out of 100
Mo Mowlam - 1 out of 100
Margaret Beckett - 1 out of 100 
We never found out whether my nominee, Ivor Richard, made it into the pointless category, because there were simply too many names to go through. But amongst those who rated not a single mention were: Andrew Adonis, Andy Burnham, Jack Cunningham, Charlie Falconer, Patricia Hewitt, Derry Irvine, Donald Dewar, Frank Dobson, Geoff Hoon, Margaret Jay, Alan Milburn and James Purnell.
Alwyn rounded off his post by quoting from Pamela Hansford Johnson's 1962 novel An Error of Judgement:
"Could it really be that I am the only person in the world bored stiff, bored pallid, by politics?" a character asks, and is immediately put straight by another: "'No, we all are, those of us who aren't politicians. That's why we're the prey of the silly men, the posturing men. They don't get bored, not ever. We are the victims of their professional excitement."

1 comment:

david walsh said...

You move in high places. This post was quoted on the Today Programme today in the context of the Tory reshuffle. About 10 minutes before the end of the programme.