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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Prescott on Cherie

I must admit that I am bored of all the Prescott-Blair stuff. I could not bring myself to read the respective autobiographies of either the former Deputy Prime Minister or the wife of the former PM earlier this year, still less go and see them in Hay-on-Wye. Nevertheless, if this account of a forthcoming BBC programme is anything to go by, it may be worth setting the video recorder for future viewing.

BBC2 are to air a programme called Prescott: The Class System And Me to be broadcast on 27 October. In it a fairly frank John Prescott is placed in certain situations and his reaction recorded. It shows the Labour MP as hugely insecure, enjoying the trappings of power and his resentment of Cherie Blair for refusing access to him and his wife to certain prestigious occasions.

He also admits to badgering Tony Blair for an invitation to Chequers. "I did say to Tony once, 'Surely you must have state dinners there? Pauline would like to come to a state dinner'."

But his plea was in vain. Prescott says in the programme he assumes the reason must be that "she [Cherie] did the list", because "despite what Cherie might say about her class background there weren't many of them [working class people] going to Chequers anyway". Mr Prescott is also filmed eating fish and chips and having a chat with three unemployed young women on a south London council estate, during which he confesses that he does not know the meaning of the word "chav".

One girl asks: "Do you like Tony Blair?" Prescott replies: "I worked with him for 10 years." But when asked if he liked Mrs Blair, he says "No" and, asked if he is worried about Mrs Blair's autobiography coming out at the same time as his, he quips: "It might send me to sleep but it's not keeping me awake."

And he recounts a conversation he had with the PM's office before a meal with the Blairs and the Browns. He says Blair's office said they would not be dressing for dinner but wearing chinos. "What the hell are chinos? Pauline was told she could dress casual but my wife has never dressed casual in her life," he says in the documentary.

As an insight into the outer sanctum of New Labour, the documentary sounds priceless. Let us hope that it lives up to expectations.
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