His starter for 10

30th May 2003 at 01:00
The lecturers' union Natfhe was fighting fit and proud of it at its annual conference in Blackpool. Steve Hook reports

PAUL Mackney's rather low-key appearance on "University Challenge" came back to haunt him in Blackpool. Natfhe delegates challenged their general secretary to a "starter for 10" question before he was allowed to proceed with his address to the annual conference.

He was asked to name the three people who were general secretary before him. After pausing, purely to increase the suspense, he answered correctly.

It was a considerable improvement on the recent special "University Challenge" programme, when he failed to answer a single question as part of the union team which nevertheless beat its opponents, a group from the Cabinet Office.

"It's not whether you know the answer to the question," he told delegates.

"It's how fast you can get your hand on the buzzer.

"All I can say is wait until you see the next round, when we trounce the clergy. Anyway, we were press-ganged into this by the university unions."

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