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Wings Over Scotland

The Sunday Quiz

Posted on November 04, 2012 by

Here’s a little weekend brainteaser for you, folks. On the BBC’s This Week show on Saturday, veteran presenter Andrew Neil interviewed two former senior government ministers about the UK’s nuclear deterrent – one was a Conservative former Defence Secretary, the other a Labour former Culture Secretary. For now we’ll call them Politician A and Politician B.

See if you can match the following quotes to the person who said them.

ANDREW NEIL: What is your view – should [Trident] be renewed?

POLITICIAN A: No, I think it’s all nonsense.

NEIL: Should we have any kind of nuclear deterrent?

POLITICIAN A: No, it’s completely past its sell-by date. It’s neither independent, because we couldn’t possibly use it without the Americans, neither is it any sort of deterrent, because now largely we are facing the sorts of enemies – the Taliban, Al Qaeda – who cannot be deterred by nuclear weapons. It’s a tremendous waste of money, it’s done entirely for reasons of national prestige, it’s wasteful, and at the margins it is proliferatory.

NEIL: Okay. But the government – or at least the Conservative part of the coalition – looks like they’re going to proceed with it. What will [your party’s] position be on it [, Politician B]?

POLITICIAN B: Actually, the position that Phillip Hammond has taken is very close to the position that we agreed some time ago when [Politician C] was Defence Secretary. The decision about whether to proceed […] won’t be taken until 2016…

NEIL: …but you’re happy that Mr Hammond’s going ahead with the spending, the seed money, which allows the decision if you want to?

POLITICIAN B: Yeah, completely, yes, yeah.

We’re going to assume that you’re ahead of us here, readers. The former Tory Defence Secretary (Michael Portillo) is, of course Politician A, the one who thinks that the UK’s nuclear deterrent is a pointless, ineffectual waste of time and money aimed solely at letting the UK grandstand on the world stage, while the former Labour Cabinet minister (Tessa Jowell) is Politician B, who wants to spend billions of pounds just on the preparatory research for upgrading it – let alone the £84bn cost of actually doing so – at a time when her party is telling us that we can’t afford to educate our young people or look after the elderly.

You can watch this remarkable development for as long as it’s still available on the iPlayer (from 31 minutes), or listen to a permanent audio clip here. The politics of the Union are now truly through the looking glass.

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  1. 05 09 15 16:13

    Local Issues for Local People | A Wilderness of Peace

48 to “The Sunday Quiz”

  1. Thee Forsaken One says:

    I don’t find it that remarkable but I’m a reasonably regular viewer of This Week. Portillo has some antiquated views of many things, but in other cases it’s perhaps obvious why he and the Tories seem to barely speak to one another any more.

  2. zedeeyen says:

    Portillo is the perfect example of the corrupting influence of party politics in the  the HoC; as an MP he was a hateful, swivel-eyed, raving uber-Tory tosspot, but as soon as he was booted out he morphed into a fairly reasonable, rational, mostly likeable human being.

  3. peter says:

    the ghost of michael foot still haunts the labour party.

  4. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Portillo is the perfect example of the corrupting influence of party politics in the HoC”

    Or perhaps just of power.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    O/T – I just had to post this!
    A puff piece on Michael Moore by John Rentoul in today’s Independent. 
    “Meet Westminster’s Answer to James Bond” 

  6. Arbroath 1320 says:

    I admit that I can find some time, not a lot :D, for Portillo. He does seem to come out with well thought out comments occasionally and this was one of those times.
    Whilst he does not think Scotland will vote YES in 2014, not one of his well thought out moments :D, I think he has seen beyond the Independence factor and what lies ahead with regards to the British Independent???? deterrent. He knows its days are numbered, unfortunately the “club members” a.k.a. ConLabour  can not see anything other than their “key” to their seat at the “top table”.

  7. James T says:

    zedeeyen says:
    4 November, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    ‘Portillo is the perfect example of the corrupting influence of party politics in the the HoC; as an MP he was a hateful, swivel-eyed, raving uber-Tory tosspot, but as soon as he was booted out he morphed into a fairly reasonable, rational, mostly likeable human being.’

    Got to agree with you Zedeeyen !! – Over the last 2 or 3 years, Portillo has come across as more laid back, and seems to want to get involved in other things (British History programs and Country programs). Every time I have seen him on TV, or read an article by him, he seems genuinley interested in what other folk get up to in their spare time, and he can be quite funny and interesting. Just goes to show you what happens when you finally turn your back on the ‘day to day paranoia and scheming’ when working in that evil brown palace on the Thames !!!

  8. Morag says:

    Many moons ago (OK, 1992) BBC2’s The Money Programme did a feature on an independent Scotland.  The scenario was pretty much exactly what’s happened, a devolved Scottish parliament and an unpopular Tory government in Westminster, except that the evil Thatcherite Tory PM was Portillo!  They even did some special effects to show him as they believed he would be in a decade or two’s time.  I wish I could find the tape to see how close they got!

  9. Gusmac says:

    Never thought I’d be agreeing with Michael Portillo…

  10. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    This documentary about the death penalty by Portillo is superb:

  11. deewal says:

    Yes. I thought at the time that it was an excellent documentary. I was very surprised at his behaviour as it was in stark contrast to the Portillo i had last seen in the House of Cobblers.
    The end of the film was the real eye opener.
    Did he not do a documentary following AS in the last Scottish Elections ?
    I think he was quite impressed by AS and said he didn’t know of many people making any money by betting against AS.  

  12. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Just a few little tit bits I found on Facebook some folks might enjoy.
    Not only does Brown have 20 questions so does the Better Together crowd.

    It looks like the BBC is having one of those Big Debate thingy’s tomorrow night on BBC 1 at 22:35.

    Here’s a 9 minute clip of the discussion on Sunday Politics about A.S.

    If you ever wondered about the most prosperous countries in the world then check them out here. Oh just don’t go checking out the top ten for Britain or the U.S.

    Finally here’s an idea that the Better Together team might like to lock on to as to one of their reasons, oops sorry I forgot they don’t have any, why we’re better together.

  13. deewal says:

    Ha youtube. The Guardian today have an article which uses a 2011 clip by Herman Van Rompuy as it’s source.
    If you suffer from high blood pressure i advise against reading the article or watching the clip.
    Can we not just declare UDI and get it over with ?  

  14. Silverytay says:

    Just finished watching the news on b.b.c and it was interesting to note that Ed is now pinching S.N.P policies and promoting the living wage of £7.20 an hour . 

  15. redcliffe62 says:

    When will the MSM bother to ask labour about its Trident policy in Scotland. No op-ed, no nothing is mentioned on the subject, except to say it will create jobs.

    I would love to see the Scotsman or Herald say  “Is the SNP correct saying that with 25 out of 28 NATO countries without nuclear weapons why should Scotland have them if Scotland stays in NATO?” 

    But that would require a rational view to be held there and Gardham et al want an OBE for services to London…. 

  16. scottish_skier says:

    O/T, but more preparations for Iran?

    Mr Cameron and the Defence Secretary Philip Hammond landed in Dubai and will later go on to Saudi Arabia.
    Britain is looking to sell Typhoon jets to both countries, despite recent allegations about human rights abuses.
    Discussions are also under way to develop an airbase near Dubai into a strategic base for the UK military.
    Mr Cameron is hoping to increase defence co-operation with the UAE, including contingency plans for the possible basing of RAF warplanes if conflict erupts with Iran, 

  17. G H Graham says:

    5th November: Guy Fawkes Night

    Fawkes was a 17th century incompetent terrorist who before his failed attempt to blow up the Parliament in London, described King James VI of Scotland as “a heretic“. He then denounced Scotland, writing “it will not be possible to reconcile these two nations (he refers to Scotland & England], as they are, for very long“.

    He justified his bomb plot by admitting that his intention was “to blow you Scotch beggars back to your native mountains.” So Guy Fawkes hated Catholics, was anti Scottish & thought mass murder was justified.

    Some themes just refuse to go away don’t they?
    … And then we spend 20 quid on sparklers & drive to a park somewhere to watch a badly made doll get torched from the top of a stack of defective pallets possibly supplied by Tesco.

    Some people don’t even know what they are celebrating anymore.

  18. Willie Zwigerland says:

    Guy Fawkes hated catholics? That’s not what was in my Ladybird British History book.

  19. G H Graham says:

    Willie, in my haste, I accidentally replaced Protestants by Catholics so you are quite correct and I am wrong.

    All the same, both churches have been under constant assault by bigots & extremists. Nowadays, it just depends on which football team they support.

    Thank you for the correction.    

  20. scottish_skier says:

    If Fawkes disliked us Scotch so much, I wonder why he didn’t try to blow up the Scottish Parliament instead of the English one.

  21. G H Graham says:

    Scottish Skier,

    I conclude that his hatred of the King and his favourites was such that he felt compelled to give him a doing and that he was seated in a London based parliament was considered acceptable collateral damage.

    At that time of course, the King was still considered absolute in his authority over parliament.

    The Interregnum conducted by the infamous & murderous dictator, Cromwell, wouldn’t take place until 1649.

  22. Morag says:

    Well, we had a damn good fireworks party in the village on Saturday evening, without even the tiniest mention of “Guy Fawkes”, and there was nothing at all sitting on top of the bonfire.

    It was just a fireworks party.  Good time to have it, the first weekend after the clocks go back.  We had a ball.

    Guy Fawkes?  Who he?

  23. scottish_skier says:

    @G.H. Graham
    Ah yes, I recall reading about the English invasion of Scotland in 1650 led by Cromwell in my Scottish History book. I understand his general, Monck, butchered up to 2000 civilians when he sacked Dundee. ‘Murderous dictator’ is certainly an apt description.

    If you read up on English history, Fawkes (1570-1606) is given good coverage. I’ve always been more interested in medieval stuff personally, e.g. Alfred the Great.

  24. Kenny Campbell says:

    We should not be surprised at Labour politicians going ‘military’, its a constant worry for left wing governments that they are not seen as serious enough to be credible.
    Successive Labour governments have over compensated for this imagined ‘hole’ in their capabilities.

  25. Alex McI says:

    Well it’s always been Guy Fawkes night since I was a wee boy. You used to collect wood for weeks before it for you bonfire, you used to have to stash it in places so folk from other schemes didn’t steal it for their fire. We used to wheel the Guy about in an old wheelbarrow collecting a penny for the Guy. We always tried outside the pubs and got the drunk men as they paid the best. This got you some fireworks.
    thats how I don’t get all this we will do it on the Saturday as it suits our schedule better. Well how about we just have Christmas Day on the weekend before or after the 25th as it more convinient. Or New Year’s Day on the nearest Saturday.
    its all got too commercial now and it has lost it’s fun for the kids, as I said the routine of it all was where the fun was, the bonfire and fireworks was just by the way. 

  26. Juteman says:

    Yeah, half the fun was mountaing raiding parties on other schemes to pinch their salvage.
    Setting other schemes ‘bonnies’ alight was a bonus. 🙂 

  27. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Oh dear it just does not get any better for poor old Lamont.
    Apparently her PPS has been “removed” from her position because she was allegedly “far too aggressive and abrupt.”
    Far too aggressive and abrupt……..for Labour……. are they having a larf? 😆

    On another matter it looks like the BBC is getting hit with yet another, YAWN, scandal.
    Allegedly three BBC employees raped a young male at some point in the past whilst being watched by, what NNS calls, a very well known BBC actor.
    It just gets better and better at the BBC, you couldn’t write the stuff that is going on there at the moment.
    I think the best idea is just scrap the BBC entirely and start afresh.
    First up create the SBC (Scottish Broadcasting Corporation) a new and totally independent organisation controlled in Scotland without any input from London.

  28. Alex McI says:

    @ Juteman. Agreed , it’s all too health and safety conscience , and professional now, the folk in the scheme used to have us pull down old huts or garages, and we thought we had knocked it off, nowadays the social work would be involved if a gang of weans were wandering about with hammers and saws. But it was great fun.

  29. uilleam_beag says:


    Belated congrats on the site’s first birthday; hard to believe it’s only been going a year. Everything is happening so fast these days it’s hard to keep track.

    There seems to be something up with the .mp3 you put up, or when I try to access it from this end anyhow. I keep getting an “Error 404 – Not Found” message. It’s no biggie really, and perhaps it’s ‘cos I’m trying to access it from the wrong side of the Great Firewall of China (it’s behaving even more wonky than ever ahead of the leadership handover).

  30. muttley79 says:

    Is there a television debate on independence on the BBC tonight? If there is, does anyone know who is appearing on it?

  31. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Muttley the only information that I’ve found so far has been this on the BBC site. Other than saying it’s coming from the Motherwell Civic Centre they are rather evasive with their information.

  32. AndrewFraeGovan says:

    I heard Rennie and Sarwar will be croakin for doom. Don’t know who’ll be on the positive side.

  33. muttley79 says:

    Thanks lads.  Read on Newsnet that Alastair Darling was trying to prevent Blair Jenkins from appearing because he is not part of a political party.  Has anybody else heard something similar?  If true, sounds strange as surely you should not have to belong to a political party to take part?

  34. Jeannie says:

    Anas Sarwar, Willie Rennie and it’s on the BBC – well, that’s three good reasons for me not to watch it.

  35. fitheach says:

    @ Alex McI

     Well it’s always been Guy Fawkes night since I was a wee boy.

    I think in the future we should have a new autumn festival where we will celebrate something great and it will specific to Scotland. The first instance of this new autumn celebration will be in 2015 and will be called YES Day.

    Any suggestions for effiges to be burnt?


  36. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Muttley when I was at the YES Scotland launch in Dumfries on Saturday mention was made about Alastair Darling and his refusal to appear in any debate with Blair Jenkins. If I remember correctly we were told that a couple of debates had been arranged with Alastair Darling up from the NO camp. However as soon as the YE camp put up Blair Jenkins the NO camp withdrew from the debate. Not only that but the NO camp have tried to circumnavigate the YES camp organisation by approaching either directly, or via the debate organisers the BBC I suspect, individual members of the YES campaign’s board. Typical underhanded sort of approach you’d expect from a bunch of fearties.
    As I posted the other day, the NO camp are feart. They are feart of going up against Blair because he is NOT a politician. They are feart that by going up against Blair they will lose and in so doing they will lose face and their reputation will be insurmountably damaged. They are only interested in one thing, looking good in front of the cameras.
    I think that Gail, the girl giving the talk and answering questions n Dumfries, said that Blair had been put forward for the debate tonight. I think it is tonight’s debate because I got the impression that as she said the BBC had until Monday to accept Blair, failure to do so would see further action being taken against them. I think that’s what was said, unfortunately I did not think to write anything down so I’m relying solely on my memory and it is not always in tip top condition.

  37. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Alex I’d like to make a few suggestions for your YES day effigies but I’m feart that the Rev Stu will ban me. 😆

  38. muttley79 says:

    Interesting post Arb, thanks for that.  Blair Jenkins should definitely be on the panel now!  A cartoon character doffs his cap to a virtual independence declaration…

  39. scottish_skier says:


    The best thing that the Yes campaign could do is to send non-politicians to debates. Blair is perfect. Canavan would be fine too as he’s no longer an MSP/MP and is ex-Labour /not SNP. Margo is a great option if you want an MSP there. I’d advise against Nicola S unless she’s there with a non-politician or e.g. Margo. AS should stay out of it as he is.

    Doing the above – i.e. non-politicians / non-SNP – makes it very difficult for the no campaign as they want to make it all about the SNP and attack/smear the party/person rather than offer a positive case for the union. That’s tricky if their opponents are not SNP/non major party politicians; makes you look very unpleasant.

    As for Darling – he’s terrified of every political opponent because he’s, well, just really pants. He can come across sounding all calm and thoughtful, but that’s only when he’s interviewed alone in a quiet room with soft lighting and questions pre-agreed. Put under any sort of real debating pressure and he’s useless.

  40. Swello says:

    On Blair Jenkins – I noticed during the “Anas Sarwar loses the plot” interview on the BBC and then when he was on with Margaret Curran on Scotland Tonight that they both didn’t know quite how to deal with him as he wasn’t in the SNP. Their stock lines about Alex Salmond were useless and they both looked a bit lost – so having a non-politician in the lead could be an excellent strategy. Maybe the Yes side should give Darling a choice between debating with Jenkins or Salmond and see which he would prefer….

  41. Alex McI says:

    @ fiteach, if we have something to celebrate in 2015 who needs effigies, we can just have a massive party every year.

    @ Arbroath, yes I’m sure you would end up banned Arb, if the amount of time you spent on NNS naughty step is anything to go by lol. 

  42. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Ah but I’ve got a “heated” naughty step Alex, kinda makes the banning a wee bit more bearable. 😆
    Muttley and S.S.
    I got the impression from Gail on Saturday that the YES camp do intend to put up NON politicians to any debate. This is what is at the core of the No camp’s feartiness. The NO camp have only ever put up politicians. They have no concept of how to respond to non politicians.
    By putting non politicians up for debate the YES camp are, in my view, playing a blinder. With no politician up for debate the YES camp have destroyed immediately the majority of the NO camp’s argument, for what it’s worth. When there are no politicians up against the NO camps politicians their politician is left floundering. They have no clue of what to do or what to say. This is why Darling is so feart of Blair. The whole concept of Darling’s weak argument is based around attacking the S.N.P. The very fact the S.N.P. are not there he is lost all at sea with no hope of getting ashore.
    I just hope that tonight it is Blair that is on the panel plus another non politician. The unionists, no matter who they are, will I’m sure be left with nothing but egg all over their face.

  43. Adrian B says:


    If Blair Jenkins is on that show tonight then it will be worth watching. He will be extremely polite, well versed in the discussion and a very likeable character to listen too.

    Its just the sort of discussion that the beeb should be organising. I would like to see Blair Jenkins and Alastair Darling both on the panel as both are the leaders of their respective campaign and as such should be on debates such as this.

    While Blair Jenkins is not a member of a political party, neither is Darling a MSP. He is an MP and Westminster are not supposed to be involved in the debate.   

  44. AndrewFraeGovan says:

    I wonder if Allan Grogan would go on one of these debates. The naysayers would be completely at sea!

  45. Jeannie says:

    I agree, Andres, I’d like to see Alan Grogan on with Blair Jenkins.  As others have said, the No camp won’t want Blair Jenkins on, as their whole strategy is to play the man – Alex Salmond – demonise him and by extension the SNP and to link the referendum firmly with a demonised SNP as a party.  If there’s no man to play, they have no other strategy.  Also, the last thing they want is for the electorate to get the idea that their views are important to the debate.  People power is a dangerous concept when you’re a member of the establishment.

  46. Arbroath 1320 says:

    How about the combination of Alan Grogan, Denis Canavan and Blair Jenkins?
    Put these three up against the NO camp and all you’ll get are three wobbly jellies representing the NO camp. 😆

  47. sneddon says:


    Loved the NOdeclaration site, excellent satire  mind you I’m thick or some of the commentators didn’t quite get it.  Understandable, these days the onionists are almost beyond parody.  Good news about Levein better late than never Roll on 2018 qualification:)

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