Christmas quiz 2007

In 2007, who was an "exploding tomato", what did Congleton ban and to whom did Boris Johnson apologi

Politics

1 When asked in July, which of these cabinet ministers denied smoking cannabis in their youth?

a) Jack Straw

b) Harriet Harman

c) Jacqui Smith

d) Alistair Darling

2 Prime Minister Gordon Brown became an honorary Hindu during a ceremony marking the festival of Diwali this year, adopting the first name Govardhan. What does it mean in Sanskrit?

a) Warrior charioteer

b) Beautiful lotus flower

c) Hill in paradise

d) Attractive, charming servant

3 Which city did the Tory MP Boris Johnson annoy by claiming that it was "too full of drugs, obesity, underachievement and Labour MPs"?

a) Liverpool

b) Birmingham

c) Bristol

d) Portsmouth

4 Which of the following was one of the great or considerable "achievements" with which David Cameron did not credit Tony Blair on his leaving office?

a) Peace in Northern Ireland

b) Overthrowing Saddam Hussein

c) His work in the developing world

d) Serving as prime minister for ten years

5 How many houses does the Liberal Democrat leadership candidate Chris Huhne own?

a) Two b) Three c) Five d) Seven

In the news

1 The panic-induced run on Northern Rock was the first seen in Britain since the collapse of which wholesale bank in 1866 with £11m in debts?

a) Fox Brother, Fowler & Co

b) Cunliffe, Brooks & Co

c) Backhouse's Bank

d) Overend, Gurney & Co

2 Under what more popular name did "catarrhal fever" hit the news headlines?

a) Avian flu

b) Bluetongue disease

c) Foot-and-mouth disease

d) Classical swine fever

3 What seemingly harmless activity did the hospital in the town of Congleton ban as a health and safety hazard in September?

a) Doing crosswords and sudoku

b) Watching TV

c) Knitting

d) Playing cards

4 The police identified 169 separate what in London?

a) Crime-free streets

b) Corrupt members of the force

c) Illegal gun-dealers

d) Gangs

5 Moira Cameron became the first woman to take up which job?

a) Postmaster General

b) Yeoman of the Guard

c) Voice of the speaking clock

d) Venetian gondolier

Online and technology

1 Full-scale production of the XO-1 began in November. What is it?

a) Boeing's newest airliner

b) The "$100 laptop"

c) Jaguar's next concept car

d) Nintendo's latest games console

2 Having discounted the device by $200, what did Apple offer in order to placate purchasers of the full-price iPhone ten weeks after its US launch in April?

a) An announcement saying, "Ha! Got you suckers!"

b) A full apology

c) $100 voucher

d) Free iTouch

3 Which Japanese corporation launched the world's largest commercial LCD TV, a 900lb, 108in monster?

a) Toshiba b) Sanyo

c) Sharp d) Sony

4 Microsoft revealed that which feature in its new operating system, Vista, can be hijacked so a PC tells itself to delete files?

a) Speech recognition

b) Back-up and restore

c) Shadow copy

d) Disk management

5 Which Facebook founder was taken to court, having been accused of stealing both the idea and business angle of the social networking website from a rival?

a) Thomas Anderson

b) Michael Birch

c) Noah Glass

d) Mark Zuckerberg

Books

1 It was revealed that the bricklayer David Sharp, who had been given up for adoption during the Second World War, was the long-lost brother of which novelist?

a) Ian McEwan

b) Philip Pullman

c) Julian Barnes

d) Graham Swift

2 Which poet's hip flask fetched £7,200 at auction, about ten times its expected price?

a) Robert Burns

b) Sylvia Plath

c) Dylan Thomas

d) Lord Byron

3 What was the name of the J R R Tolkien book completed by his son Christopher and published in 2007?

a) The Children of Húrin

b) The Stones of Osgiliath

c) The Kings of Valinor

d) The House of Turgon

4 Who belatedly won the Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award for his description of oral sex in his final novel?

a) Norman Mailer

b) Kurt Vonnegut

c) Ira Levin

d) Sidney Sheldon

5 What were Doris Lessing's very first words on being informed that she had won the 2007 Nobel Prize in Literature?

a) "Oh Christ"

b) "Can I get the groceries out of the taxi first?"

c) "Bloody hell"

d) "It's about time"

International affairs

1 Yahya Jammeh claims he can cure Aids and HIV with a natural herb infusion. Nobody would listen to him if he were not the president of which African country?

a) Senegal

b) Cameroon

c) Benin

d) Gambia

2 The then president of the World Bank, Paul Wolfowitz, was cited for which sartorial faux pas on a visit to Turkey?

a) Wearing short sleeves with a tie

b) His socks had holes in them

c) His flies were undone

d) Unidentifiable stains on his tie

3 Fifteen sailors from which Royal Navy ship were taken captive by Iranian forces?

a) HMS Exeter

b) HMS Devon

c) HMS Kent

d) HMS Cornwall

4 What became the 23rd official language of the European Union in January?

a) Basque/Euskara

b) Breton

c) Irish

d) Esperanto

5 Promising a "citizens' revolution", Rafael Correa was sworn in as the president of which country?

a) Peru

b) El Salvador

c) Ecuador

d) Uruguay

Television

1 A September edition of whose Sunday TV show, Aló Presidente, lasted a record eight hours?

a) Nestor Kirchner

b) Fidel Castro

c) Daniel Ortega

d) Hugo Chávez

2 On Ugly Betty, who performed maid-of-honour duties at the wedding of Wilhelmina Slater and Bradford Meade?

a) Lindsay Lohan

b) Victoria Beckham

c) Paris Hilton

d) Mischa Barton

3 The Catholic organisation Opus Dei complained about its portrayal in which BBC TV drama series?

a) Spooks

b) Waking the Dead

c) Doctor Who

d) The State Within

4 Describing himself as resembling "an exploding tomato", which Panorama journalist lost his temper and shouted at a representative of the Scientologists in a widely disseminated video clip?

a) Paul Kenyon

b) Raphael Rowe

c) John Sweeney

d) Peter Taylor

5 Which Cumbrian town became the first place in the UK to lose its analogue television signals and start the digital switch-over in October?

a) Whitehaven

b) Ulverston

c) Thursby

d) Kendal

Arts

1 Which Woody Allen movie shares its title with the Turner Prize-winning film by Mark Wallinger in which he wanders around a deserted Berlin gallery wearing a bear costume?

a) Love and Death

b) Interiors

c) Sweet and Lowdown

d) Sleeper

2 Which acclaimed film director made a tricky transition to opera with her ENO production of Carmen?

a) Beeban Kidron

b) Sally Potter

c) Carine Adler

d) Antonia Bird

3 Which Hollywood film was condemned by the Iranian government spokesman Gholamhossein Elham as a sign of "hostile behaviour, which is the result of cultural and psychological warfare" being waged by the US?

a) Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

b) Transformers

c) Norbit

d) 300

4 The people of Israel voted overwhelmingly for a song about which subject to be their Eurovision Song Contest entry?

a) Nuclear annihilation

b) Palestinian invasion

c) West Bank barrier

d) Suicide bombings

5 Martin Scorsese finally won a Best Director Oscar for helming The Departed. How many times had he previously gone home empty-handed from the Academy Awards?

a) Four b) Five c) Six d) Seven

Fashion and style

1 How much would a Louis Vuitton Tribute Patchwork Bag, released in March, set you back?

a) £19,129

b) £21,675

c) £23,484

d) £25,232

2 What two-word name was given to the 2007 fashion trend, adopted by Versace and Alexander McQueen, that involves wearing tight high-waisted trousers and skintight minidresses?

a) Tight couture

b) Fit wear

c) Body con

d) Squeeze dress

3 Known as the British Chanel, which brand shut up shop completely with the end of its closing sale on 20 April?

a) Jean Muir

b) Mary Quant

c) Celia Birtwell

d) Barbara Hulanicki

4 Perhaps surprisingly, Victoria Beckham was confirmed as the new face of which American designer's spring/summer 2008 ad campaign?

a) Calvin Klein

b) Tommy Hilfiger

c) Tom Ford

d) Marc Jacobs

Climate change

1 On which US TV show did the 2007 Nobel Peace Prizewinner Al Gore mock himself, saying: "Quiet! A whale is in trouble! I have to go!"?

a) 30 Rock

b) The Late Show With David Letterman

c) Curb Your Enthusiasm

d) Scrubs

2 From March until June, Mayor Ken Livingstone offered £100 cashback to Londoners if they did what?

a) Not fly for one year

b) Instal insulation in their homes

c) Give up their car for public transport

d) Replace all their inefficient light bulbs with energy-saving ones

3 Scientists working with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change claimed in February that human activity was likely to increase global temperatures by what best-estimate range over the next century?

a) 0.5-2.2°C

b) 1.8-4°C

c) 2.5-4.7°C

d) 3-5.2°C

4 Though aides briefed the media that he was preparing to exchange his car for a Toyota Prius, Gordon Brown instead chose a 4.2-litre model of which car that happens to fall into the government's worst emissions band?

a) Jaguar XJ V8

b) Rolls-Royce Phantom

c) BMW 7 Series

d) Aston Martin DBS V12

5 In March, meteorologists said that which major city had had its first winter without snow since records began in 1876?

a) Beijing

b) Seoul

c) Pyongyang

d) Tokyo

Media

1 Described by one holidaymaker as "every swimmer's worst nightmare", the video footage of the great white shark splashed across the Sun's front page on 28 July was filmed not in Cornwall, but where?

a) Australia

b) Florida

c) Mexico

d) South Africa

2 Conrad Black was found guilty in July on four out of 13 charges laid against him. On which of the following charges was he declared guilty?

a) Mail fraud

b) Racketeering

c) Money laundering

d) Wire fraud

3 Which writer branded the BBC a "racist institution" during a radio interview?

a) Paul Abbott

b) Jimmy McGovern

c) Alan Bleasdale

d) Stephen Poliakoff

4 Rupert Murdoch took over control of Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal from which family?

a) The Millers

b) The Grahams

c) The Woodwards

d) The Bancrofts

5 Which former Wimbledon footballer-turned-private-investigator was jailed along with the News of the World's royal editor Clive Goodman for his part in the royal household phone-tapping scandal?

a) Jonathan Atkinson

b) Damien Griffin

c) Glenn Mulcaire

d) Paul McAllister

Sport

1 Which England player was disallowed a "phantom try" in the rugby union World Cup, though he claimed he was "100 per cent sure" that he had grounded the ball without going into touch?

a) Jason Robinson

b) Paul Sackey

c) Mark Cueto

d) Mathew Tait

2 At which world championships - held 29 March to 1 April - did Great Britain top the medals table with seven gold medals?

a) Swimming

b) Rowing

c) Amateur boxing

d) Track cycling

3 Why did Björn Borg pull out of an exhibition match with Pat Cash at the Liverpool International Tennis Tournament in June?

a) He dropped a jar of pickled herring on his right foot

b) Bitten by a dog

c) Stage fright

d) He missed his plane

4 What verdict was returned by the coroner Patrick Murphy in November with regard to the death of the Pakistani coach Bob Woolmer during this year's Cricket World Cup?

a) Natural causes

b) Unlawful killing

c) Open verdict

d) Death by misadventure

5 Which female tennis player won the Australian Open despite being ranked 81st in the world?

a) Serena Williams

b) Jelena Jankovic

c) Lindsay Davenport

d) Daniela Hantuchova

Compiled by Olav Bjortomt With illustrations by Dan Murrell

The Answers

Check the answers here

This article first appeared in the 17 December 2007 issue of the New Statesman, Christmas and New Year special 2007

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The French millennials marching behind Marine Le Pen

A Front National rally attracts former socialists with manicured beards, and a lesbian couple. 

“In 85 days, Marine will be President of the French Republic!” The 150-strong crowd cheered at the sound of the words. On stage, the speaker, the vice-president of the far-right Front National (FN), Florian Philippot, continued: “We will be told that it’s the apocalypse, by the same banks, media, politicians, who were telling the British that Brexit would be an immediate catastrophe.

"Well, they voted, and it’s not! The British are much better off than we are!” The applause grew louder and louder. 

I was in the medieval city of Metz, in a municipal hall near the banks of the Moselle River, a tributary of the Rhine from which the region takes its name. The German border lies 49km east; Luxembourg City is less than an hour’s drive away. This is the "Country of the Three Borders", equidistant from Strasbourg and Frankfurt, and French, German and French again after various wars. Yet for all that local history is deeply rooted in the wider European history, votes for the Front National rank among the highest nationally, and continue to rise at every poll. 

In rural Moselle, “Marine”, as the Front National leader Marine Le Pen is known, has an envoy. In 2014, the well-spoken, elite-educated Philippot, 35, ran for mayor in Forbach, a former miner’s town near the border. He lost to the Socialist candidate but has visited regularly since. Enough for the locals to call him “Florian".

I grew up in a small town, Saint-Avold, halfway between Metz and Forbach. When my grandfather was working in the then-prosperous coal mines, the Moselle region attracted many foreign workers. Many of my fellow schoolmates bore Italian and Polish surnames. But the last mine closed in 2004, and now, some of the immigrants’ grandchildren are voting for the National Front.

Returning, I can't help but wonder: How did my generation, born with the Maastricht treaty, end up turning to the Eurosceptic, hard right FN?

“We’ve seen what the other political parties do – it’s always the same. We must try something else," said Candice Bertrand, 23, She might not be part of the group asking Philippot for selfies, but she had voted FN at every election, and her family agreed. “My mum was a Communist, then voted for [Nicolas] Sarkozy, and now she votes FN. She’s come a long way.”  The way, it seemed, was political distrust.

Minutes earlier, Philippot had pleaded with the audience to talk to their relatives and neighbours. Bertrand had brought her girlfriend, Lola, whom she was trying to convince to vote FN.  Lola wouldn’t give her surname – her strongly left-wing family would “certainly not” like to know she was there. She herself had never voted.

This infuriated Bertrand. “Women have fought for the right to vote!” she declared. Daily chats with Bertrand and her family had warmed up Lola to voting Le Pen in the first round, although not yet in the second. “I’m scared of a major change,” she confided, looking lost. “It’s a bit too extreme.” Both were too young to remember 2002, when a presidential victory for the then-Front National leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, was only a few percentage points away.

Since then, under the leadership of his daughter, Marine, the FN has broken every record. But in this region, the FN’s success isn’t new. In 2002, when liberal France was shocked to see Le Pen reach the second round of the presidential election, the FN was already sailing in Moselle. Le Pen grabbed 23.7 per cent of the Moselle vote in the first round and 21.9 per cent in the second, compared to 16.9 per cent and 17.8 per cent nationally. 

The far-right vote in Moselle remained higher than the national average before skyrocketing in 2012. By then, the younger, softer-looking Marine had taken over the party. In that year, the FN won an astonishing 24.7 per cent of the Moselle vote, and 17.8 per cent nationwide.

For some people of my generation, the FN has already provided opportunities. With his manicured beard and chic suit, Emilien Noé still looks like the Young Socialist he was between 16 and 18 years old. But looks can be deceiving. “I have been disgusted by the internal politics at the Socialist Party, the lack of respect for the low-ranked campaigners," he told me. So instead, he stood as the FN’s youngest national candidate to become mayor in his village, Gosselming, in 2014. “I entered directly into action," he said. (He lost). Now, at just 21, Noé is the FN’s youth coordinator for Eastern France.

Metz, Creative Commons licence credit Morgaine

Next to him stood Kevin Pfeiffer, 27. He told me he used to believe in the Socialist ideal, too - in 2007, as a 17-year-old, he backed Ségolène Royal against Sarkozy. But he is now a FN local councillor and acts as the party's general co-ordinator in the region. Both Noé and Pfeiffer radiated a quiet self-confidence, the sort that such swift rises induces. They shared a deep respect for the young-achiever-in-chief: Philippot. “We’re young and we know we can have perspectives in this party without being a graduate of l’ENA,” said another activist, Olivier Musci, 24. (The elite school Ecole Nationale d’Administration, or ENA, is considered something of a mandatory finishing school for politicians. It counts Francois Hollande and Jacques Chirac among its alumni. Ironically, Philippot is one, too.)

“Florian” likes to say that the FN scores the highest among the young. “Today’s youth have not grown up in a left-right divide”, he told me when I asked why. “The big topics, for them, were Maastricht, 9/11, the Chinese competition, and now Brexit. They have grown up in a political world structured around two poles: globalism versus patriotism.” Notably, half his speech was dedicated to ridiculing the FN's most probably rival, the maverick centrist Emmanuel Macron. “It is a time of the nations. Macron is the opposite of that," Philippot declared. 

At the rally, the blue, red and white flame, the FN’s historic logo, was nowhere to be seen. Even the words “Front National” had deserted the posters, which were instead plastered with “in the name of the people” slogans beneath Marine’s name and large smile. But everyone wears a blue rose at the buttonhole. “It’s the synthesis between the left’s rose and the right’s blue colour”, Pfeiffer said. “The symbol of the impossible becoming possible.” So, neither left nor right? I ask, echoing Macron’s campaign appeal. “Or both left and right”, Pfeiffer answered with a grin.

This nationwide rebranding follows years of efforts to polish the party’s jackass image, forged by decades of xenophobic, racist and anti-Semitic declarations by Le Pen Sr. His daughter evicted him from the party in 2015.

Still, Le Pen’s main pledges revolve around the same issue her father obsessed over - immigration. The resources spent on "dealing with migrants" will, Le Pen promises, be redirected to address the concerns of "the French people". Unemployment, which has been hovering at 10 per cent for years, is very much one of them. Moselle's damaged job market is a booster for the FN - between 10 and 12 per cent of young people are unemployed.

Yet the two phenomena cannot always rationally be linked. The female FN supporters I met candidly admitted they drove from France to Luxembourg every day for work and, like many locals, often went shopping in Germany. Yet they hoped to see the candidate of “Frexit” enter the Elysee palace in May. “We've never had problems to work in Luxembourg. Why would that change?” asked Bertrand. (Le Pen's “144 campaign pledges” promise frontier workers “special measures” to cross the border once out of the Schengen area, which sounds very much like the concept of the Schengen area itself.)

Grégoire Laloux, 21, studied history at the University of Metz. He didn't believe in the European Union. “Countries have their own interests. There are people, but no European people,” he said. “Marine is different because she defends patriotism, sovereignty, French greatness and French history.” He compared Le Pen to Richelieu, the cardinal who made Louis XIV's absolute monarchy possible:  “She, too, wants to build a modern state.”

French populists are quick to link the country's current problems to immigration, and these FN supporters were no exception. “With 7m poor and unemployed, we can't accept all the world's misery,” Olivier Musci, 24, a grandchild of Polish and Italian immigrants, told me. “Those we welcome must serve the country and be proud to be here.”

Lola echoed this call for more assimilation. “At our shopping centre, everyone speaks Arabic now," she said. "People have spat on us, thrown pebbles at us because we're lesbians. But I'm in my country and I have the right to do what I want.” When I asked if the people who attacked them were migrants, she was not so sure. “Let's say, they weren't white.”

Trump promised to “Make America Great Again”. To where would Le Pen's France return? Would it be sovereign again? White again? French again? Ruled by absolutism again? She has blurred enough lines to seduce voters her father never could – the young, the gay, the left-wingers. At the end of his speech, under the rebranded banners, Philippot invited the audience to sing La Marseillaise with him. And in one voice they did: “To arms citizens! Form your battalions! March, march, let impure blood, water our furrows...” The song is the same as the one I knew growing up. But it seemed to me, this time, a more sinister tune.