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Eric Pickles, Diamond Geezer

Eric Pickles, Diamond Geezer

In case you missed Eric Pickles’ epic performance on Desert Island Discs on Sunday and today's repeat, here are a few of the best bits.

The former Young Communist gave an idyllic description of Coalition comradeship as he explained how he made friends with his new neighbour on the Cabinet table, fellow Yorkshire man Vince Cable:

“We just get on like a house on fire. I occasionally top up Vince’s glass of water; he occasionally proffers me the Mentos bowl. I’m very happy.”

The “North Korea moment” when he first went to DCLG:

“I think it was pretty much what I thought it was going to be, but from the first moment you realise life was going to be different. I volunteered to sort of walk up to the department... and I arrived to a sort of North Korean moment when the entire staff was out there applauding me. And I thought ‘this is just a little whacky’.”

Pickles’ appearance managed to raise comment from presenter Kirsty Young, who said his costume consisted of “braces that have got a beautiful golden bumblebee sewn into them and a lovely kerchief that has something of a flourish about it, a polka dot kerchief”, and also cufflinks of taxi cabs in Union Jacks.

“I’ve now become a diamond geezer. I’m very proud to be sixty and there’s a certain style that comes with someone on the outer reaches of old age.”

Even this performance couldn’t escape the scrutiny of Labour, with Pickles’ comments about his Communist past queried on Twitter by Baroness Thornton.

In case you’re wondering, Pickles’ musical picks were Pieces from Puccini’s opera Tosca, Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, Stravinsky, Chris Rea, Mozart, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Britten. For his book, he wanted his copy of Primo Levi’s If This Is A Man signed by Holocaust survivors, while his luxury item was a “reasonably sized container of Earl Grey tea”.