The “Questions to Which the Answer is No” Awards

John Rentoul

Grateful to King of Welsh Noir (his real name), for the suggestion that the world-famous series should hold the QTWTAIN awards. I have been back through the archive and am now ready to announce the results.

1. The best ever Question to Which the Answer is No was asked by the Daily Mail on 6 February 2009:

He’s the outcast bishop who denies the Holocaust – yet has been welcomed back by the Pope. But are Bishop Williamson’s repugnant views the result of a festering grudge against Marks & Spencer?

It was, in fact, the first of my numbered series. For some reason, I started at 91, and the series has run consecutively since then, this morning reaching number 345. The entire collection of 255 questions is available through these links: since we moved to WordPress at the beginning of this month; and previously on LiveJournal.

However, there were two important questions in the series before number 91, which are numbers two and three in my all-time list:

2. The first ever in the series was asked, referring to Tony Blair, by Trevor Kavanagh in The Sun, on 24 June 1998:

Is This the Most Dangerous Man in Britain?

Most would be hard-pressed to remember the premise now, namely Blair’s ambition to persuade Britain to adopt the euro.

3. Asked on The Independent’s front page, 29 January 2004:

The Hutton Report: A Special Issue – Whitewash?

4. Another historic great was asked by Nicholas Carr in the July/August 2008 issue of Atlantic Magazine:

Is Google Making Us Stupid?

(My view is here, at number 132.) Incidentally, I have just started using Google Chrome; it’s good and fast: the last obstacle to Google’s dominance of my entire life is removed.)

5. A perennial favourite, number 99, was asked by the Mail on Sunday in April last year, but it is repeated in all newspapers from time to time, in all good bookshops and on the History channel:

Is the Turin Shroud genuine after all?

6. Number 133, although you possibly had to be there, in August last year:

Usain Bolt: is he a woman?

7. This is a picture special, number 226, from February this year:

226 The Questions to Which the Answer is No Awards

8. Then who could forget this, number 92, from The Sun, 20 February 2009?

atlantis 300x239 The Questions to Which the Answer is No Awards

9. The election provided a rich crop, but the best, number 291, was asked by Glen Oglaza of Sky News on 28 April:

Could Lib Dems WIN This Election?

(It had already been asked by Peter Kellner, actually, as number 282, on 20 April.)

10. One of the best recent entries, number 292, was nearly missed because it was published by Fox News on the same day, which was the day that Gordon Brown tried to connect with Gillian Duffy:

Has Noah’s Ark been found on Turkish mountaintop?

Fortunately, Oliver Kamm, from whom I borrowed the idea of the series, spotted it, and this was the headline that inspired the King of Welsh Noir to make his excellent suggestion.

To all those whom John Prescott would call my collaborators: keep them coming.

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  • Ciaran Rehill

    Apres moi le deluge.

  • Ciaran Rehill

    Apres moi le deluge.

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