Should a serving British Prime Minister lower himself to the tack that is the Letterman show? I don’t really think so but obviously Cameron, that PR “expert”, thought otherwise. The BBC has been convulsing itself that the PM was ……gasp…. unable to identify the composer of Rule Britannia. Oh my, the shame of it. Further, just in case you needed a little extra prompting, scroll down the sub-heading “Not very popular” so you get the full thrust of BBC sentiment.

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  1. Stevefb says:

    I have absolutely no sympathy for Vichy Dave

    If the Tories are too stupid or too gutless to deal with the bbc then they deserve everything they get


    • ScottishCalvin says:

      Amen to that.. It did remind me a bit of that Question Time episode 2 months back where nobody could answer anything on the UK citizenship test, and with good reason.


  2. Guest Who says:

    Well, to be fair, it is a veeeery slow news day, so they have sod all else to fill their dead air with.
    SKY is on it too, but has run extensive vox pops with exit audience members who seemed surprised, pleasantly, that there was a pol going up against unvetted questions and admitting he doesn’t know when he doesn’t.
    Could have been worse; he could have had the Magna Carta signing at the Malvinas, when we all know it was the Maldives.
    Be interesting to see if this one gets left up, as the last time the BBC went Letterman… with his Mother of the Nation hug fest on what she wouldn’t be doing today… they obliterated any trace of it existing


  3. NotaSheep says:

    Remember when David Lammy then Labour’s Higher Education Minister went on Mastermind?

    I got 7 right on his specialised subject of “Mohammed Ali” and 14 right on his general knowledge questions, making a total of 21 points. Not enough to win the competition that week but 8 more than a man who chose his specialist subject and is this country’s Higher Eduction Minister.

    Do watch the video for yourself and revel in the ignorance of this Minister of the Crown. Also enjoy remembering David Blunkett’s even poorer performance some years earlier, if only that piece of video could be found.


    • Robin Rose says:

      I remember it well. Lammy was abject, I too could answer more questions on Ali than he could, and I’m no expert, the BBC was pitching him softballs and he was still too stupid to get the right answers.


  4. Demon says:

    I’ve also little sympathy for Cameron but I didn’t feel the piece linked to at the top was as bad as the BBC can be.


  5. PhilO'TheWisp says:

    Toady is deep in it’s comfort zone this morning. Rip the Micky out of Dave, then glorious casual chatting with twice disgraced Mandelson and questionable Iraq past Straw! Evan was wriggling like an Andrex puppy.


  6. David Lamb says:

    Cameron is a Quisling and deserves what he gets.


  7. joshaw says:

    I’m disappointed, but not surprised, that Cameron thought that Elgar wrote Rule Britannia. Edward Heath would have got it right so I suppose we shouldn’t read too much into it. I’m surprised, though, that he couldn’t figure out what “Magna Carta” means.

    If the interview tells us anything at all, it’s his judgement in agreeing to be interviewed by a smart arse like Letterman. What good could it do and what could possibly go wrong?


  8. Umbongo says:

    As joshaw implies, the question of why Cameron agreed (or, more likely, pushed) to be interviewed on Letterman is the interesting question here. A question which AFAIAA the BBC has failed to address or even seriously consider.
    BTW, it is inconceivable – let alone unbelievable – that somebody with a first from Oxford and an incredibly impressive secondary education at Eton doesn’t know the English translation of Magna Carta. Obviously he didn’t want to come across as a smartarse. His persona of “call me Dave” is alive if not particularly well.
    Cameron can rest assured that instead of being characterised as a “toff”, he’ll be characterised in future as an “ignorant toff”. Again, the BBC joined in the scorn rather than asking “why?” I suspect that the answers to “why” would not have been to Cameron’s credit. However, this is an instance where the BBC’s lazy “journalism” got in the way of its bias.


    • joshaw says:

      I don’t know which is worse, a PM not knowing what “Magna Carta” means, or living in a country where knowing such a thing needs to be concealed.


    • lojolondon says:

      Maybe he is not so smart? – after all, he somehow knew the date of the MC off by heart!


    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      Most likely Call Me Dave and his handlers saw the overwhelming success and media adulation that the President got from His recent appearance on Letterman and though, “Hey, that’ll do nicely.”



  9. uncle bup says:

    On Radio 5 Three Chuckleheads Corpse At Their Own Jokes this morning, the three chuckleheads in question were all in agreement that the USA has 52 states.

    These are the people the BBC deems fit to hold their own with politicians, economists, industry chief executives et al.

    Still, I suppose the station that inflicts

    ‘… and later The Budget Special with Richard Bacon and Gabby Logan’

    on its listeners really really does not have a clue.


    • As I See It says:

      And of course these enlightened yet dumbed down Beeboid Citizens and Citizenesses of the World happily quipped about the PM not knowing the author of Rule Britannia or the date of Magna Carta.

      “Cameron would fail the immigration” test they josh.

      Meanwhile in reality has anyone ever heard of anyone ever actually taking this legendary test – let alone failing it?


  10. As I See It says:

    The left have, aided and abetted most ably by the BBC, set an atmosphere where only the English need agonise over knowledge of their own history and culture.

    Next up, Angela Merkel interviewed by Jonathan Ross and embarrassed by questions as to who wrote the words to Deutchland Uber Alles and details of the Enabling Act of 1933.


  11. Guest Who says:

    On matters mastermindy, this raised a chuckle…
    Mark Mardell, your hero writes you headlines for you.
    Meanwhile this also amused on the world statesmanship front:
    So basically @barackobama contracted al-Qaeda to guard our consulate in #Benghazi, #Libya. Awesome. #tcot #p2 #wtf2012 #sioa


  12. Backwoodsman says:

    Well, I’m currently out in a galaxy far away, with a two hour time difference.
    At about 06.15 UK time, I looked on the bbc website and there was a a short film clip of interviews of attendees from the filming of the Letterman show. Every single person interviewed said how impressed they had with Camerons’ warmth, obvious intelligence and spontaneity. Blimey, I thought, thats not like the bbc !
    Log on to R2 on the internet radio, just in time for the 06.30 news. Headline story ? ‘Cameron doesn’t know meaning of Magna Carta’.
    Thats my boys, normal service is resumed !!!!


  13. Reed says:

    To me, the most interesting aspect of this BBC page is the highlighting of the contrast between the fair-minded decency and lack of ingrained cynicism of many of the American audience members, in contrast to the sneering superiority of the BBC writers. As one of them said in the second video clip, he was asked some trivial and non-sensical questions. These were the ones the BBC chose to focus on with their customary ‘tut-tutting’ manner (who are the real snobs here) with the sole intent of looking down their noses in contempt, the same questions that the audience seemed to see as less important in the whole.

    Politics aside, I agree with some of the Americans in the audience, I thought he came across as personable and likeable, but above all I wish for some of that unashamed decency, politeness and lack of knee-jerk cynicism that is increasingly lacking on this side of the Atlantic.


  14. Louis Robinson says:

    Just who advises the British Prime Minister? Who told him to be appear on The David Letterman Show? Being a guest on a show like that is simply being a stooge to a lump of empty self-love who calls himself “Dave”.

    American political figures already demean themselves by appearing on late night “comedy-talk” shows, reducing them to foils of the US equivalent of Graham Norton.
    Leno, Letterman, Stewart and (the worst pile of worthless shit)”The View” are simply looking for laughs, nothing more. (The exception are Letterman and Joy Behar who are both Letterman surrogates).

    Oh, I know the argument. There’s a large audience for these shows – translated into voters. But Cameron doesn’t need US votes. Why risk it all by being humiliated by Letterman?

    We’re told that three million people watch Letterman nightly. But thirty-five million listen to Rush Limbaugh every afternoon. By the way, you wouldn’t catch Daniel Hannan on Letterman (I HOPE!).

    The question is why did Cameron think he could outwit Letterman (and his team of scriptwriters?) Was it ego?) A desperate attempt to be trendy? Only Boris Johnson – a graduate from celebrity boot camp himself – could have a fighting chance against the Letterman machine. But does a politician these have have to dance naked in a bowl of custard to be considered fun? (Go how I hate that word “fun”.)

    The BBC’s James Landale asks “What the three million Americans watching made of it is not known.”
    Let me tell you: most of them probably thought Cameron was Piers Morgan.

    In the exchange “What is the deal on Wales? Did they vote for you, the people of Wales?” They wondered what Wales was…?

    The BBC tells us that “Audience members were impressed by the prime minister”. Well that’s just great. He can join the list of losers who were diminished by their appearance.

    You would not be surprised to learn that BBC folk (especially scriptwriters) LOVE Lettermen. They would like nothing better (and have tried again and again and again over 25 years) to reproduce the format. Maybe now they’ll try again – with Graham Norton!


    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      LOL, Louis. I was going to say most of the audience was probably trying to work out which one he was from Downton Abbey.


  15. Louis Robinson says:

    Para 3 should read “Obama surrogates”. Sorry I dashed this post off in something of bad mood.


  16. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Letterman has developed quite the reputation recently for being openly political on his show. All for the Democrats, of course. I’d say something negative about him trying to ambush Cameron, but quite frankly the PM should know something so basic. Not because PMs ought to know such things, but because even semi-educated, remotely intelligent people ought to.


  17. Sir Arthur Strebe-Grebling says:

    At the end of Radio 5’s Fighting Talk, often quite an amusing hour where the panellists can say almost anything about sportspeople, they have an Any Other non-sporting Business question. Today Henning Wehn, one of those appearing, had the audacity to say that he’d watched the Letterman Show and that, contrary to the bBBC and other ‘news’ reports, David Cameron had done well.
    The quizmaster Colin Murray didn’t give him any points for this, sneered throughout and then said ‘Henning, you almost lost the game for that last comment’.
    It’s in their DNA. But we have to pay for it.