1 Does art make a difference?
Yes, but probably not in the way Bono would like it to, saving the planet or the third world and all that. More likely in indirect ways, in the way it silently sits in our subconscious, nudging us towards different sensibilities.
2 Should politics and art mix?
Why not? But most artists aren’t as good politicians as politicians are artists.
3 Is your work for the many or for the few?
I think my work is quite accessible and people appreciate the time and skill that has gone into it.
4 If you were world leader, what would be your first law?
At least half of all governments to be women.
5 Who would be your top advisers?
Polly Toynbee: minister of pragmatism and winding up the opposition. A C Grayling: secretary of state for twinkly wisdom. Karen Armstrong: head of God squad. My wife, Philippa: parent-in-chief, and she’d hold me in check. And Warren Buffett: anyone who insists on guests wearing name tags at his wedding is all right by me.
6 What, if anything, would you censor?
All interviews in the media with actors, car advertisements, home makeover shows, the word “cool”, people who whistle or chew gum.
7 If you had to banish one public figure, who would it be?
It’s a toss-up between David Beckham and Robbie Williams.
8 What are the rules that you live by?
I always turn up for appointments on time. I never drop litter. I always have more fun if I am wearing a dress. When I am on a motorcycle I forget all my liberal tosh – it’s a war for survival.
9 Do you love your country?
Yes, very much. I hold quite a nostalgic black-and-white picture of Britain, which I fear is being paved over to park the third car. I have a pride and deep affection for Radio 4, the National Trust, the NHS, our great and free museums. And we produce the best comedians in the world. I believe in keeping the monarchy as a framework for national narrative and splendid ritual. My ideal job would be Queen Mother.
10 Are we all doomed?
Yes, doomed to muddle through.