What are the basic facts every politician ought to know about the area they want to represent? How about the price of milk or bread? The easiest way to get from A to B on public transport?
Or what about the names of the local football teams? Perhaps their grounds, managers and players too?
The fact that one of the most memorable moments of the 2015 general election campaign was David Cameron’s football gaffe – he confused the team he has claimed to support all his life, Aston Villa, with West Ham, who play in similar colours – suggests this trivia (while not always turning elections) does matter.
Asked by the BBC’s Norman Smith which team played at Loftus Road, Goldsmith quietly admitted: “I don’t know … What’s the answer?”
Smith put the London mayoral candidate out of his misery: it’s Queens Park Rangers, of course.
But Goldsmith and Cameron aren’t the only Conservatives to fall short on their football trivia. Last year, Boris Johnson was forced to admit to a nine-year-old boy that he didn’t know which two London teams were playing in a cup final.
Robert Ebner-Statt had to tell Johnson that Chelsea and Spurs were competing for the Capital One cup final, which triggered the response: “I support all London clubs; I levitate”.
However Goldsmith wasn’t just stumped by football trivia. “Let’s take the Central line,” Smith began. “What’s next in this sequence: Bond Street, Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road … ?”
Goldsmith responded: “I’m going to stop you there because most people have a route, I have two routes … I want to answer this one, most people have a route or two routes and they become like an extension of the body and you use those routes, not for ethical reasons, but because it is the only way to get around London without being late for meetings.”
The one word Goldsmith didn’t use was Holborn, the correct answer.
Goldsmith went on to praise a phone app (not necessarily a wise move in the back of black cab) called Citymapper, which he admitted he relied on “very heavily on pretty much every day”.
And for poor Goldsmith, Smith wasn’t quite done. “Where is the Museum of London?” asked the bolshie journalist.
“The Museum of London is … where is the Museum of London … the Museum of London,” Goldsmith began. “I went there very, very recently … I can’t tell you where.”
“It’s by the Barbican,” Smith replied.
“Absolutely, in the City of London,” Goldsmith concluded.
Smith had posed similar teasers on Monday to Goldsmith’s rival, the Labour mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan. Khan, presumably much to the relief of his aides, knew that Crystal Palace played at Selhurst Park, and was able to name Embankment in a question about the underground.
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