Ivory Tower: the quiz of the week, live from the government’s £2.6m press briefing room
[Theme music, lights come up on six contestants standing behind podiums. Priti Patel stands in the middle].
Patel: Welcome back to The Wokest Link, much better ratings than the dreary old Coronavirus briefing. We have our contestants, so let’s play The Wokest Link.
[Dramatic music, a spotlight settles on the first contestant]
Patel: What’s your name and where are you from?
Contestant: Can I just say how pleased I am to be here?
Patel: No you can’t. I’m the Home Secretary just answer the question.
Contestant: You sound like a border guard.
Contestant: My name is Amanda and I’m the science minister.
Patel: Junior minister.
Amanda: Science should be more collaborative than hierarchical.
Patel: I see, and what have you achieved as science minister?
Amanda: I have started a campaign against workplace bullying.
Patel: Are you taking the Mickey?
Amanda: Is that an example of anti-Irish racism?
Patel: I’ve got my eye on you Amanda. Here is your first question, which British scientist invented gravity?
Amanda: The answer you probably want is Newton, but I don’t think he invented gravity.
Patel: That’s what it says on my card.
Amanda: I know that because we have a very successful fund for international science collaboration named after him, which unfortunately we have just decimated following cuts to the overseas aid budget…
Patel: Do you have a problem with that?
Amanda: Err…no, home secretary.
Patel: Good, would you like a question or nominate?
Amanda: I’d like to nominate Michelle.
Patel: Michelle, what do you do?
Michelle: I’m the universities minister.
Patel: I see tweedle dumb and tweedle dumber. Here is your question: what did Churchill do in 1940?
Michelle: Err…twenty to eight? Was he doing an advert for car insurance?
Patel: Did you go to university, minister?
Michelle: Yes, I studied history.
Patel: Where? Hogwarts?
Patel: I knew it was somewhere made up. Back to Amanda, question or nominate?
Amanda: I’d like to nominate Jo.
Patel: Jo, what do you do for a living?
Jo: I run a union.
Patel: Interesting, like a free speech union?
Jo: A trade union.
Patel: I see, been on any good strikes lately?
Jo: We are just contemplating a ballot for a third round of industrial action over our pensions.
Patel: Don’t you know the rules? Three strikes and you’re out.
Jo: What a minute, you haven’t even asked me a question yet. Don’t I get a second chance?
Patel: Not with this home secretary. Jo, you are the wokest link, goodbye.
[The lights fade on Jo]
Jo [voice in the dark]: Authoritarian!
Patel: Thank you, what a lovely compliment, Jo has just won herself an all-expenses paid trip to Ascension Island. Back to Amanda, question or nominate?
Amanda: I would like to nominate Alistair.
Patel: Alistair, tell me, what do you do?
Alistair: I represent vice-chancellors.
Patel: So, why are they paid twice as much as the Prime Minister?
Alistair: Is that my question?
Patel: That’s what I am asking. I thought I had been very clear on that.
Alistair: I just thought we’d have some abusive banter first.
Patel: Answer the question.
Alistair: Well, not all of them are paid twice as much as the Prime Minister, some are paid four times as much.
Patel: What kind of an answer is that?
Alistair: An expert one.
Patel: Your name is also going on the list. Back to Amanda, question or nominate?
Amanda: I’d like to nominate Gavin.
Patel: Gavin, why are you wearing a beret?
Gavin: It’s a British beret, not a French or Belgian one. Our berets are the best berets in the world.
Patel: If you say so, it’s still a beret. Here’s your question. Which university lends its name to a world-leading vaccine for the novel coronavirus?
Patel: Give me strength. Back to Amanda, question or nominate?
Amanda: I’d like to nominate Jane.
Patel: Jane, you seem very young to be on this show?
Jane: I’m a student, we are the only people who watch daytime TV.
Patel: And what are you studying?
Jane: Media Studies
Patel: Yuk, what sort of job do you expect to get with that?
Jane: Maybe, I could run a television quiz show.
Patel: Allegra, can we check her passport later? Check she has a right to work in this country? OK, Jane, if that really is your name, here is your question: how many grandchildren did Queen Victoria have?
Patel: Time’s up, you’re…what? That’s right? Damn. OK, Jane, question or nominate?
Jane: I’d like to nominate Boris.
Patel: Boris, is that you?
Boris: Salutations Pritster, I heard you had a cash prize going. Bit of a squeeze on the old overdraft at the moment what with Carrie wanting a wicker solarium or something. So I thought I’d give your quiz a bash. It was either this or a PPE contract from Matt Hancock.
Patel: Very well, prime minister, here is your question: to the nearest unit, exactly how great is Great Britain?
Boris: Gosh, I’d say it was greater than a great big great thing, so great in fact that it would make Emmanuel Macron cry into his vino and Ursula von der Leyen nash on her sauerkraut.
Jane: That’s not a proper question.
Patel: Allegra, can we check this child’s national insurance number please? Right, at the end of that round Boris is in the lead with three hundred thousand, and thirty four, nine hundred and seventy four thousand points. It’s time to vote off the wokest link. Who do you nominate?
[Dramatic music, the spotlight moves along the row of contestants]
Amanda: Really girl?
Boris: Theresa May, soft on sovereignty, bit of a liberal in the home office.
Patel: Try and keep up Boris. Right, Amanda, you are the wokest link, goodbye.
[Light goes out on Amanda]
Amanda: But I’m the only one who got a question right.
Patel: Go home.
Amanda: But I work here.
Patel: Go home, that’s just a message to all the illegal immigrants living off benefits and watching daytime TV. Right, now it’s time for the final head-to-head, between Boris and…oh I suppose the student child will do.
Alistair: But what about the rest of us?
Patel: Haven’t you read the new crime and disorder act? You are causing an annoyance, Cressida take him away.
[Light goes out on Alistair]
Gavin: What about me?
Patel: Just go.
Gavin: That’s what they all say.
[Light goes out on Gavin]
Patel: Time for the head-to-head. Are you ready Boris?
Boris: I’m like Ethelred the Ready, Saxon king of England, who burnt the Ready Brek.
Patel: Ok, fingers on buzzers, one question for the cash prize. Are you ready?
[Boris’s buzzer goes off]
Patel: Correct, you are this week’s winner.
Boris: Chicken dinner!
Jane: Wait a minute, that’s not fair!
Patel: This is the home office, when did fair ever come into it?
Jane: My buzzer isn’t even working.
Patel: You are a media studies graduate, you’ll be used to that.
Jane: What ever happened to British fair play?
Patel: I think I have been very clear on this.
Boris: I think Joan is right.
Boris: Yes, Jane is right as well, students have had a very hard time of it this year and it’s definitely something we should look into at a later date, in due course, in the fullness of time, when the conditions allow, preferably when I’m no longer prime minister.
Patel: Jane, you’re the wokest link, goodbye.
[Light goes out on Jane]
Patel: Congratulations Boris, another stonking win. Will you come back next week to defend your title?
Boris: Prime Minister and first lord of the Treasury of Great Britain and Northern Ireland?
Patel: Say, good night Boris.
Boris: Good night Boris.
Patel: All that remains to say is, go home, don’t even think about using the NHS, protect the statues. See you next time, on The Wokest Link.
[Patel smirks to camera, lights dim, title music rolls, Boris can be heard saying, “what do you mean, no recourse to public funds?”]