Jarvis Cocker was a panellist on ‘Question Time’ last night. Now, it’d be gratifying to report that the elder statesman of Britpop punctured the arid studio atmosphere by jumping up on the table and waggling his bum in David Dimbleby’s face, Brit Awards ’96 style.
Sadly, he’s a more mature figure these days, and is no stranger to the world of adult political debate, having edited Radio 4’s Today Programme in December 2008.
So how did he do?
Well, not brilliantly, to be honest. He came across as nervous and hesitant. Launching into his first contribution – on the subject of Gordon Brown’s spending plans – the former Pulp man began with a phrase that all news junkies and policy wonks rejoice to hear: “I can’t pretend to be particularly informed on this particular subject, but…”
He got into the swing of it though, and on the subject of Ronnie Biggs’ parole he was able to come across as a straight-talking Yorkshireman – sort of an indie John Prescott, without the vomiting and rage – and was rewarded with a ripple of applause: the Holy Grail for first-time ‘Question Time’ contestants.
As for the rest of the panel, it was business as usual. Harriet Harman sounded shrill and disagreeable, like La Roux in a huff, while Peter Hitchens once again proved himself to be several steps to the political right of Hermann Goring, displaying the charm and avuncular warmth that’s made the Mail On Sunday columnist such a well-loved figure throughout the nation.
Next week: Rick Witter debates Royal Mail privatisation with Andrew Marr.