I hope I’m not giving away Nicky Campbell’s trade secrets when I reveal that yesterday’s BBC Big Questions about the existence or otherwise of heaven was recorded live, and next week’s about the press was recorded immediately afterwards. I know, as the saying goes, because I was there.

Trade Secret 2 . . the panellists and audience have a little pre recording warm up debate, (same as Question Time) in this case about the Obama visit to the UK.

It was a fairly standard and perfunctory discussion, save for one interesting observation from my fellow panellist Max Clifford who revealed that he ‘can’t stand’ David Cameron. Nicky asked him why. ‘Because he is just a PR man,’ he said.

Now the looks on the faces of some in the audience suggested that the words pot, kettle and black were crossing their minds. But the thing about Max Clifford is that he is indeed a PR man, and one of his times, in that he manages to wrap up PR, tabloid journalism, celebrity culture, exposure and privacy, crisis management in one neat go that has turned him into something of a celeb himself, complete with very white teeth and personalised number plates on a Rolls Royce waiting for him outside.

He may have had plenty of dubious clients and got up to plenty of modern media shenanigans in his time, but he has no pretensions that he might be able to be Prime Minister. And he clearly sees a lot of his own PR skills in Cameron, yet insufficient ability to be PM. His main complaint seemed to be that one day Cameron acted in pursuit of one short term media hit and the next day another one. It is a variation on a point I have been making for some years myself, related to Cameron’s lack of strategic clarity.

I suppose a Prime Ministerial Easyjet mini break to Ibiza is likely to be seen by Max as but the latest PR stunt aimed at suggesting he is something other than a rich posh toff desperate to be thought to understand ‘real people.’ Who knows? It may be that Cameron and family really really wanted to go to Ibiza, of all the places they could have chosen for a short break. But then again …

Once we got onto the press issues there were other areas where Max and I found ourselves in agreement, not least concerning the uselessness of the Press Complaints Commission, and the fear of some newspapers that if they can’t do kiss and tell, their future is in doubt. Look out too for some very telling points from a former Daily Star journalist who turned against his employers, a journalism professor on just how widespread phone-hacking may have been, and a guy from Index on Censorship pointing out the threat to the privacy of ‘ordinary people’ posed by the giant social networks.

But I think Nicky might get miffed if I give away too many secrets from the discussion we had, which can be seen this coming Sunday, so I will draw the veil there other than to say I was surprised to be in twitter conversation by the end of the day with two of the studio guests, ‘Wayne Rooney’s call girl’ Helen Wood, and Gordon Ramsey’s former mistress, Sarah Symonds. The former thanked me for treating her so nicely (which might be liable to misinterpretation if Fiona is scrolling through twitter) and the latter, whilst complaining I was ‘bombastic’ in debate, said she loved my first novel, All in the Mind, and that it made her cry.

Which brings me neatly, as you would expect, to Mark Lawson’s piece in The Guardian today, where he castigates modern leaders for not reading enough and for trying too hard (Cameron to Ibiza … Clegg to the Champions’ League Final … Gordon Brown calling Simon Cowell to inquire about Susan Boyle’s welfare…) to associate themselves with pop culture rather than ‘real’ culture. Certainly the Camerons’ books and DVD collection in the much analysed kitchen photo suggested upper low to middle brow, but I imagine there are heaving high brow bookshelves elsewhere. Surely?

Lawson does concede that modern leaders are probably a lot busier than predecessors who would sometimes take holidays running into months rather than weeks. Churchill didn’t just read books on holiday, he wrote them too, but he was a bit of a Primus inter pares of  the PIPs of all time.

Lawson concludes that we would have better leaders if they read more and got out more. Tony Blair did a fair bit of reading when he was PM, but mainly political history, and books on religion. He did also go fairly regularly to the theatre, and if it ever got into the press, it did so via the theatre or a member of the audience, rather than via us. I was always impressed too that Douglas Hurd made a point of reading even a few pages of a novel every day when he was Foreign Secretary.

It may just be natural Tory politeness but virtually every time I bump into a minister or one of their senior staff these days, they tell me they are reading my diaries, especially volume 2, Power and the People, on our first two years in office. Oh, by the way, they can pre-order volume 3 now – Power and Responsibility, out July 7. We are here to serve.

It may be, who knows, that Cameron does have a cultural hinterland we don’t yet know about. If he does, it might be an idea to let us know. Then again, to Max Clifford it would just be another PR strategy to clash with the last one. So best get on trying to govern the country, Prime Minister, read a few books if you get the time, and go to see plays and films you want to, without feeling the media have to know.

And if you want to give me a quote for the cover of volume 3, I would consider it. You’re up against stiff competition though, from Lib Dem peer and terrorism commissioner Alex Carlile — ‘Alastair Campbell’s diaries have the quality of Pepys … people will be looking for insights and finding them in 100 years’ time’. I like that one. They’re not all bad these Lib Dems.