Page last updated at 11:43 GMT, Monday, 27 October 2008

Prescott says Today 'depressing'

John Prescott
There is too much "misery" in the morning, John Prescott says

John Prescott has criticised the "depressing" tone of the news on BBC Radio 4's flagship Today programme.

Asked about his views on the Corfu donation row, the former deputy prime minister accused the programme of always seeing the glass "half empty".

"You are always predicting the misery of the end of the world," he told the programme's presenters.

Mr Prescott was on Today to talk about his new BBC television programme about the class system.

'Half empty'

Mr Prescott, a regular on the Today programme over the years, said it was a "programme of depression at the moment".

Speaking on a morning where stock markets fell sharply again across the world, he said: "If the glass is half full or half empty, you will get the half empty.

"When you listen to your programme you are always predicting the misery of the end of the world."

FROM THE TODAY PROGRAMME

The BBC had been "wrong" about the threat to Gordon Brown's leadership, Mr Prescott said, although he did not elaborate on the media's coverage of the so-called 'Yachtgate' affair.

But he added: "You have been bloody wrong all the time and you will be wrong again."

Talking about his programme, Mr Prescott said the large number of privately-educated people in top jobs in professions such as the law and media showed the influence of class on British society.

Cherie

"You are not only buying a privileged education, you are buying an access to a network and privilege," he said of those going to fee-paying schools.

"They are the top of the pyramid. That's called class."

Look, I regret the remark. It was in a light banter. She did a remarkable job, there's no doubt about it
John Prescott

Mr Prescott said his rise to the top of government showed there was social mobility in the UK but he said "full equality" would take a "long time".

Mr Prescott also expressed regret for saying that he disliked Cherie Blair in the programme. He said that despite a decade working alongside Tony Blair in government, he was not sure that he ever really knew Mrs Blair.

"Look, I regret the remark. It was in a light banter. She did a remarkable job, there's no doubt about it," he said.

"It's very difficult for women who are married to prime ministers or even deputy prime ministers, having to adjust to that. I regret that remark.

"After all, I don't know whether I knew her. I had some disputes from time to time. I don't know whether we liked each other but it's not national news."


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