What a time for politics fans to be alive! RoI general election tomorrow, NI Assembly election in May, topped off by perhaps the most important poll of the year, the EU referendum on June 23rd.
If all that wasn’t exciting enough, the Great Big Politics Quiz returns next month as part of the fantastic Imagine Festival of Ideas & Politics!
The Festival runs from March 14-20, with the Great Big Politics Quiz taking place on Friday 18 March in its normal haunt, The Black Box in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter.
As usual, there will be quiz rounds on politics near and far, fact and fiction – some challenging, some just for fun. Asking the questions we have our customary motley crew of elected representatives, testing out an alternative career as a quizmaster, just in case the voters aren’t kind in May.
A significant prize fund of politics-themed books, films, box-sets and the like has been kindly sponsored by regular supporters, public affairs company Stratagem. But who will scoop the top prize? Last year’s champions went by the name of Curry My Conscience, featuring – among others, UUP councillor Aaron Callan – closely followed by SDLP stalwarts Stoops To Conquer and Vernon’s Pools, named in honour of the Shadow Secretary of State, one of the evening’s quizmasters.
Last year’s top finishers:
All funds raised on this occasion will be going to Amnesty International’s crisis work on Syria. With a quarter of a million people now dead, over four million refugees and nine million more displaced within Syria, there is no greater human rights or humanitarian crisis in the world today. Amnesty is monitoring the effects of the war on the civilian population – important with a partial ceasefire due to get under way tomorrow night – as well as defending the rights of refugees and working behind the scenes with Syrian civil society groups to prepare for post-conflict rebuilding.
Over the next few weeks I will post a number of blogs reflecting on various aspects of the war in Syria, while encouraging you to get your teams together for a great night’s fun in The Black Box.
Nor do we have much funding to play with so our programme is quite experimental. But most of the events are free. The organisers are all doing this in their free time – no one is paid and we’re not for profit. The festival will be piloted this year and evaluated to see if it has the potential to be become an annual festival with events hopefully organised outside Belfast next year.
First published on Slugger O’Toole on 25 February 2016.