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David Cameron's history knowledge

(17 Posts)
MadBusLady Fri 28-Sep-12 13:43:23

He should know that the correct answer to "where was the Magna Carta signed?" is "At the bottom". grin Boris Johnson reckons he pretended not to know what Magna Carta meant, which IMO is not impossible. I just cannot imagine that an Eton education leaves you not knowing that sort of thing.

Anyway, UCL and Metro came up with this quiz to test basic England history knowledge (says British but it's mostly English really). I think one of the questions is slightly unfair. See if you agree.

LRDtheFeministDragon Fri 28-Sep-12 16:25:21

grin I feel as if I should groan!

I think I agree with Boris. How could you not know?! It's not like it's difficult, is it?

Mind you, my brain is mush because I only know the answers to the questions that are feminist (voting dates, female monarchs) and that are medieval. No clue about the rest!

I always think fo 1215 as the date for the Fourth Lateran Council, which is really important because you could argue it's the reason English ever became a written language!

I want to know which question you think is unfair, though?!

MadBusLady Fri 28-Sep-12 17:09:06

The Alfred one. If people have vaguely retained that he led a renaissance in Anglo-Saxon culture and he was a great Anglo-Saxon king who resisted the Vikings then they've retained the important things, IMO, and it's kind of logical from that to conclude he was an early King of England. So I think Wessex is a bit of a tough answer.

Whereas with say the Becket one, I don't know that period at all but I know he was Archbishop of Canterbury and was murdered at the door of a cathedral, so Canterbury Cathedral follows. Equally, that would have been a trick question if he'd happened to get murdered in York Minster or something.

LRDtheFeministDragon Fri 28-Sep-12 17:18:21

Ahh, right. No, I think Wessex is fair enough. If you don't know England wasn't unified then, you will get tut tutting from me. But then I am mostly chanelling Oliver Neil on the Vikings programme referring to 'national mindset' at around that time! angry

I think you're right a lot of people who say he was 'a king of England', and would not be incorrect. It comes down the definite/indefinite, I guess.

I reckon most of these are more obscure than the meaning of Magna Carta, though! We did that when we were 12!

MadBusLady Fri 28-Sep-12 17:30:46

Hmm, but you might retain all the important basics about Alfred and not know exactly when he reigned or what stage the unification process was at. It's less than a hundred years or so before there are actual "kings of England", and they were styling themselves "kings of the Anglo-Saxons" or similar for longer, I think? I think it would be possible to understand the basic significance of Alfred and not know where his exact title fitted in to the whole thing.

It bloody worked, the lying thing too. Colleague of DP's was ranting about it and saying it was ridiculous Cameron was expected to know these things (although he just meant the 1215 date!)

LRDtheFeministDragon Fri 28-Sep-12 17:33:58

Yes, that's true. I think knowing exact dates is not so very important, is it?

So maybe it's telling that Cameron admitted to the date but not the context - when surely, if you know the date, you likely know the context?

(I am enjoying the conspiracy theorizing here! grin)

MadBusLady Fri 28-Sep-12 17:36:40

According to that Metro article he did know the context, in that he could say what the Magna Carta was about. He just didn't know what the Latin meant. Makes it even more suspicious IMO. A little sign must have gone on in his brain saying "Do not let the plebs know I understand Latin".

MrsjREwing Fri 28-Sep-12 17:41:06

Maybe he was rubbish at Latin?

LRDtheFeministDragon Fri 28-Sep-12 17:43:00

You'd have to be very rubbish, though, with the amount of Latin teaching he'd have had. Even if you teach someone something they have no interest in, if they're exposed to it for so long, they will pick up the very basic stuff.

freerangelady Fri 28-Sep-12 17:49:38

Ha - I studied in the Ucl history dept and
Struggled with some of those questions! Especially the modern ones. They still gave me a 2:1 though!

TunipTheVegemal Fri 28-Sep-12 19:06:41

I like that quiz because I got them all right.
I didn't know the date of the Magna Carta which is shameful <flagellates self>

MadBusLady Fri 28-Sep-12 19:29:46

Cor, that's good going! I got women's votes and the explorer wrong.

mathanxiety Sat 29-Sep-12 20:22:24

Am very chuffed. My rusty old brain still works.

Penelope1980 Sat 29-Sep-12 23:53:20

DH got the Alfred one, but I didn't. Got 16, which I am happy with for a non Brit, and interested that most I knew I learnt from fiction, not in my MA in History. The only ones I actually knew from uni was the date of the exhibition and the PM question

OrangeKipper Sun 30-Sep-12 00:07:29

Would that be the David Cameron who didn't know the US didn't come into the Second World War until 1941?

He describes himself as a "history obssessive" in your Letterman link, MadBusLady, so the mind boggles about his grasp of subjects not on his fave list.

BestIsWest Sun 30-Sep-12 00:12:42

Come on, surely most people could work out what Magna Carta means even without the benefit of an Eton/Oxford education.

mathanxiety Sun 30-Sep-12 01:45:28

'..and Oliver has run himself over!'

'Britain need have no fear with leaders of this calibre'

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