Howard blameless: true or false?

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The Independent Online
Today - a grand Michael Howard quiz! Yes, a chance to show just how much you know about the man who has been described variously as "possibly the present Home Secretary" and "a man with big glasses who looks not unlike Arthur Askey but isn't half as entertaining". Here we go then!

1. In what circumstances can you imagine Michael Howard actually taking the blame for anything?

2. Do you think Michael Howard would resign as Home Secretary if:

(a) He was asked to?

(b) A gun was put to his head and he was asked to?

(c) He became so old that he was in the job still after retirement age?

(d) He died?

3. Well, in what circumstances can you imagine him resigning, then?

4. Michael Howard is famous for saying that "prison works!" What did he mean by that?

5. Did he mean that it was a deterrent, even though all available research shows the contrary, and even the Lord Chief Justice disagrees?

6. Did he mean that prisoners come out of prison fully determined to become company directors and never sin again?

7. Did he mean that he is going to lock up everyone in Britain who might possibly commit a crime, so that all potential criminals are behind bars (unless they escape)?

8. Or did he just think that if he shouted "Prison works!" at a Tory conference, he might get a cheer from people who didn't know what he meant, either?

9. During his stint as Home Secretary, Mr Howard has announced various multi-point plans for cracking down on crime and violence. How many points altogether have been promised by him? (a) 23 (b) 27 (c) 439 (d) 5,678,000

10. How many of these points has the Home Secretary actually implemented? (a) 1 (b) 0

11. If Michael Howard were driving down the street and saw a mugger attack a passer-by, what do you think his immediate course of action would be?

(a) He would personally intervene.

(b) He would personally ask his chauffeur to intervene.

(c) He would personally set up an independent inquiry into the incident that absolved him of any blame.

(d) He would lean out of the window and shout: "If you do that, you will go to prison for a very, very long time. So if I were you, I should think very seriously indeed about stopping now!"

(e) He would call a press conference and say that although he personally regretted the incident very much, it was not a result of his policies in any way, so he felt no need to resign.

12. Can you think of anything bad that has been a result of his policies?

13. Can you think of anything at all that has been a result of his policies?

14. Would it be true to say that when things go wrong it is as a result of Michael Howard's underlings, but that when things go right it is always because of Michael Howard's policies?

15. When you catch sight of Michael Howard nodding and smiling on TV, what is your reaction?

(a) To nod sagely, saying half out loud: "There, if I am not much mistaken, goes our next prime minister."

(b) To switch off, crying: "Nobody believes a word you say, so why bother? And could you at least wipe that smug smile off your face?"

(c) To turn to your wife, Norma, as you relax in the privacy of 10 Downing Street, and say: "I asked him to resign again today, you know, but I still can't get any answer out of him."

16. Which of the following statements is nearest to the truth?

(a) "Although not everyone agrees with Mr Howard, he does at least have the support of the prison service, the judges and the Cabinet."

(b) "Although support for Mr Howard is not unanimous, he does at least have the backing of the judges and the Cabinet."

(c) "The prison service and the judges may be against Mr Howard, but at least the Cabinet is fully behind him."

(d) "As far as we know, Mr Howard has his wife's full support."

17. From time to time the courts declare that something Mr Howard has done is illegal, but he is never sent to prison for it. Why not?

18. Howards End is a knockabout farce based on a home secretary who refuses to resign. True or false?

How many of those questions did you get right? If you got them all right - well done! If not, I'm afraid you'll have to be sent away to prison for a very long time.

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