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In the News

Does it matter if politicians don't know the 'important' facts?

Jonny Clark

12th September 2016

You may have seen or heard of the argument that broke out between Labour foreign affairs spokesperson Emily Thornberry and Sky News interviewer Dermot Murnaghan this weekend. A Youtube clip can be seen below for those who have so far missed the bust up. Thornberry accussed Murnaghan of sexism when he asked her to name the French Foreign Minister and then the name and gender of the President of South Korea. Thornberry knew neither. Her argument was that the Sky News presenter would not ask questions of that nature to male politicians such as David Davis or Liam Fox.

However, other presenters have used the 'trick question' on politicians before. David Cameron was once asked to state the price of milk and London Mayor candidate Zak Goldsmith was asked to name the stations on a Tube line. The trick is to try and make the politician look 'out of touch' with modern every day living. The Guardian today revealed that David Cameron was given a regular 'cheat list' of the prices of important goods so that it would be less likely to get caught out by this type of journalistic trick.

Why not set this as a quick task at the start of your next Politics lesson - what would you expect your local MP to know about every day life in your school's vicinity? Would it matter if the MP got the questions correct? Would it really show if they were capable of representing people in your region?



Jonny Clark

Jon Clark has been teaching economics and business studies for over 25 years primarily in the Further Education sector. Before joining tutor2u, he was a senior manager at South Cheshire College in Crewe.

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