It was nearly the end of the night in my local. Two young women worked their way to the bar in time to get a drink before time was called. They were also in time to enter the landlord’s question.
One question. Free to enter. If there’s a single winner, he or she wins the prize money. If more than one person gets it right, it goes to a second question.
So I encouraged them to have a go – two scraps of paper, a pen, go on, have a guess.
The landlord’s question was this: In the last election Saddam Hussein contested in Iraq, what percentage of the vote did he get?
What? (they said) How are we supposed to know that?
It doesn’t matter. (said I) It’s free. You could win some money. Just have a guess. Write anything.
Oh come on! (they said) Give us a clue. Did he win?
That question took me by surprise. Has Saddam Hussein become such ancient history that young people of voting age in one of the countries that overthrew Saddam, and whose troops have just recently pulled back from Iraq, that their grasp of events is so slight?
Then again, I’m sure there are vast gaps in my own knowledge. And to be fair to the young women in my local, nobody in the pub got the right answer.
I’ll leave you dangling in suspense for the answer. C’mon – it’s just a number.