Prezza on the warpath
I evidently like John Prescott's television programme more than he likes our radio programme.
In his programme, The Class System and Me, we see Mr and Mrs Prescott encounter toffs and toughs across the UK, exploring what the former deputy PM describes as our "pyramid society". He clearly thinks he is an "outsider" to a system that is more comfortable with middle or upper class values and manners.
He clearly even felt an outsider in the cabinet, where he served as deputy prime minister for a decade.
It is a very entertaining programme and I recommend it. If I may express a view, it probably fails to prove the pyramid in our society is quite the one Mr Prescott thinks. Yes, people are outsiders. Yes, maybe even he was an outsider. But it's far harder to establish that outsiders are shut out on account of their class.
Indeed, watching him, one could almost believe he shut himself out by insisting on playing the class card all the time.
It was interesting to talk to him about his programme this morning. But most striking is that he chose to play the class card with us -- talking about Ed Stourton's and my education, our ways of speaking and background.
Was that fair? Or was that simply a way for someone to cope with a difficult question? More generally, does Mr Prescott have a point about class -- or simply use it as an excuse for not getting more substantive policy roles in government?
I'm not sure.
We didn't get away with just talking to Mr Prescott about his programme though. We also got his views on our programme -- he berated the us for asking about Russian oligarchs, yachts and Lord Mandelson. And said we were too depressing.
Again - a technique for deflecting attention for a difficult issue or a sound criticism of our news agenda? Again, I'm not sure.
As it happens, the star of tonight's TV programme for me is Pauline Prescott - she takes a more aspirational view of the class system. She also has some funny lines and oodles of character to boot.
Maybe it would be easier to interview her.