What a year! The Covid pandemic, the worst recession in living memory, the Black Lives Matter movement, the US presidential election, the Brexit debacle, growing class inequalities...
How can one forget, you might say. Well, let's see how much you remember of the 'year from hell' in our annual quiz.
Good luck and stay safe.
- 1) What did Boris Johnson describe as "game changing"?
- 2) Who reckoned a Scotch egg constituted a substantial meal?
- 3) Who retorted that two Scotch eggs is a starter?
- 4) Where did the Scotch egg originate?
- 5) Who said: "It's statistically impossible that I lost"?
- 6) Which politician should've gone to Specsavers?
- 7) At the start of the year, what turned the skies blood red and the beaches black?
- 8) Whose drive to Baghdad International Airport came up short?
- 9) Who intervened to allow billionaire ex-pornographer Richard Desmond to avoid paying £45 million in taxes to Tower Hamlets council?
- 10) Name the dark comedy about capitalist inequality that won best film at the Academy Awards (Oscars)?
- 11) What turned out to be the worst for over 300 years?
- 12) According to the Sunday Times Rich List, who is the wealthiest person in Britain?
- 13) Whose reballot for strike action secured a 94.5% yes vote?
- 14) Name Royal Mail's CEO who was pushed out of office under pressure from CWU union members?
- 15) What 17th Century word became familiar during lockdown?
- 16) Name the disastrous health strategy pursued by the Tory government at the start of the pandemic.
- 17) Who described Covid-19 as "just a little flu"?
- 18) Which revolutionary socialist's birth 150 years ago was celebrated this year?
- 19) Name the revolutionary socialist murdered 80 years ago.
- 20) Name the sports star at the centre of a campaign that forced a Tory government U-turn on free school meals during holidays.
- 21) Name the strikers whose picketing was disrupted by police using Covid restrictions.
- 22) Name the act which Trump invoked to force thousands of meat processing workers back to work.
- 23) Who gave just four hours' notice in imposing a nationwide pandemic lockdown?
- 24) Apart from Boris Johnson, which other serving British prime minister was incapacitated by a coronavirus?
- 25) Who was dubbed the "Death Secretary"?
- 26) Where was a law imposed to outlaw "secession, subversion, foreign interference and terrorism".
- 27) Name the unarmed black man killed in Minneapolis by police?
- 28) Whose statue ended up in Bristol Harbour?
- 29) What was renationalised by the Tories?
- 30) Whose tweet was used by Keir Starmer to sack left MP Rebecca Long-Bailey from his shadow cabinet, after falsely claiming it was antisemitic?
- 31) How much will the world's 25 most profitable S&P listed companies pay out in shareholder dividends this year - A) $279 billion B) $378 billion or C) $425 billion?
- 32) Who were revealed to have paid out £57 billion in shareholder dividends over the last 30 years?
- 33) Which council sacked 4,000 of its workforce and reemployed them on inferior contracts?
- 34) Where did another 4,000 workers go on strike after the employer decided to fire and rehire them on worse terms?
- 35) Which council invoked a section 114 bankruptcy notice?
- 36) Which group of workers protested for the first time?
- 37) Which group of workers are demanding a 15% pay rise?
- 38) Who demanded to pay more taxes?
- 39) Whose internet technology was banned by the Tory government?
- 40) Whose official residence has been besieged by chanting protesters virtually every weekend evening for more than six months?
- 41) Whose rigged election win has led to mass protests every weekend?
- 42) Name the notorious cop unit in Nigeria whose murderous action sparked a mass uprising of predominately young people?
- 43) Name the richest monarch in the world challenged by huge pro-democracy protests of young people?
- 44) Where did students tear down a 'lockdown security fence'?
- 45) Where was Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) swept into office?
- 46) Name the chair of the Undercover Policing - or 'Spycops'- inquiry
- 47) Name the governing party in Poland that is trying to outlaw abortion rights?
- 48) Roughly, by how many actual votes (not electoral college votes) did Biden beat Trump in the US presidential election?
- 49) Name the multimillionaire owner of the Arcadia retail empire that collapsed into administration, threatening 13,000 jobs?
- 50) Where did 78% of voters agree to rewrite the country's constitution?
1) Any number of Covid-fixing false claims. But an 'accurate antibody test kit' will do.
2) Cabinet minister, and ex-Ukip parliamentary candidate, George Eustice.
3) Fellow Cabinet buffoon Michael Gove.
4) Contentiously, India. The dish Nargisi Kofta (meatball containing an egg) was a hit with British soldiers in Empire days.
5) Donald Trump - who else?!
6) Johnson's ex-chief advisor Dominic Cummings, who claimed that he drove 25 miles to Barnard Castle to test his eyesight!
7) Australia's devastating bushfires, amid record high temperatures and prolonged drought due to global warming.
8) Iran's general Qassim Suleimani, after US forces vaporised him in a missile attack by order of Donald Trump.
9) Housing minister Richard Jenrick. The Tory party subsequently received a £12,000 donation from Desmond.
10) Parasite (reviewed in the Socialist), directed by South Korea's Bong Joon Ho. The film also scooped three other Oscars.
11) The contraction of the UK economy. The comparison made is with the 1709 'Great Freeze' and subsequent flu pandemic. And that's before the Tory Brexit calamity.
12) James Dyson. His personal stash increased by £3.6 billion last year to a monster £16.2 billion. It sucks.
13) Members of the Communications Workers Union, who won major concessions from Royal Mail. The CWU's original ballot, deemed 'unlawful', had secured a record 97% yes vote.
14) Rico Back. The anti-union boss's plan to suspend the 'universal service obligation' crumpled under the threat of 95,000 posties walking out on May Day.
16) 'Herd immunity'. Until the deadly consequences to the elderly and vulnerable were spelt out to Johnson.
17) Brazil's far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro. Half a point if you answered Donald Trump.
18) Lenin. Born Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov on 22 April 1870.
19) Leon Trotsky (born Lev Davidovitch Bronstein). He died at the hands of Stalinist agent Ramon Mercader on 21 August 1940.
20) Marcus Rashford of Manchester United and England.
21) Laid-off Debenhams workers in Dublin, and Optare strikers near Leeds. Both striking groups returned to unimpeded picketing duties.
22) The Korean War-era Defense Production Act. Even though many workers had died and thousands had become Covid-infected at these food plants.
23) India's right-wing nationalist prime minister Narendra Modi. As a consequence, millions of poor casual labourers were left stranded, without resources, far from home.
24) Liberal PM Lloyd George, who succumbed to 'Spanish flu' in 1918.
25) Hapless health secretary Matt Hancock, as England had the highest Covid mortality rate among 23 European countries in the first five months of 2020.
26) Hong Kong. China's Stalinist regime of Xi Jingping moved to crush the pro-democracy protests in the former British colony.
27) George Floyd, who died after cop Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for eight minutes.
28) Slave trader Edward Colston. Scandalously, four anti-racist protesters who toppled the offensive statue have been charged by the CPS with 'criminal damage'.
29) Probation services that 21 private companies failed to properly provide. They represented 70% of the service privatised by the Tories in 2014. Extra half-point if you mentioned the Train Operating Companies which, according to the Office for National Statistics, were effectively temporarily renationalised during lockdown.
30) The actor Maxine Peake.
31) B) $378 billion - equivalent to 124% of their profits!
32) The privatised water companies in England. They accrued £48 billion in debt in the same period, meaning their borrowing went to dividends, not investment.
33) Labour-run Tower Hamlets in east London.
34) Unite union members employed by Heathrow Airport Limited. The new contracts will cut pay by up to 25%
35) Labour-run Croydon council. It has a £67 million hole in its finances following speculation into the property market.
36) Around 500 Nissan carworkers in Sunderland after the company scrapped their final salary pension scheme.
37) NHS workers.
38) Amid much mirth, 100 'Millionaires for Humanity'.
39) Huawei. Desperate for a post-Brexit US trade deal, Boris Johnson U-turned and said the Chinese company cannot supply the core parts of the UK's 5G telecoms network.
40) Israel's right-wing, and reportedly corrupt, prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
41) Belarus's unreconstructed Stalinist dictator Alexander Lukashenko.
42) SARS - not a coronavirus, but the misnamed Special Anti-Robbery Squad.
43) Thailand's King Vajiralongkorn. His wealth is estimated at $45 billion.
44) Fallowfield campus, Manchester University. The university authorities installed fences around students' halls of residences without warning.
45) Bolivia, with 54.4% of the vote. MAS's previous president Evo Morales had been ousted in a right-wing coup d'état.
46) Retired High Court judge Sir John Mitting - no bias then! Among the many 1,000 left organisations spied on by the state was Militant, the forerunner of the Socialist Party.
47) The far-right Law and Justice Party (PiS).
48) 7 million. Biden got 81,282,903 (51.4%) to Trump's 74,223,030 (46.9%)
49) Officially, it's owned by Sir Phillip Green's non-dom wife Tina, who resides in Monaco.
50) Chile - a landslide vote to scrap the constitutional remnants of the Pinochet dictatorship.
In The Socialist 16 December 2020:
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