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I'm now happily remarried to a good cook, which encourages me to be lazy. I like to think that I'm a new man, but perhaps I'm not. I offset it by doing the ironing, though. She has a small farm in the New Forest with a herd of cattle, so she serves up a steak and kidney pie made with her own beef.


Investment banking has, in recent years, resembled a casino, and the massive scale of gambling losses has dragged down traditional business and retail lending activities as banks try to rebuild their balance sheets. This was one aspect of modern financial liberalisation that had dire consequences.


And humility in politics means accepting that one party doesn't have all the answers; recognising that working in partnership is progress not treachery.


When my job was attempting to predict future economic developments for the Shell oil company, I was frequently reminded of an Arabic saying: 'Those who claim to foresee the future are lying, even if by chance they are later proved right.'


On banks, I make no apology for attacking spivs and gamblers who did more harm to the British economy than Bob Crow could achieve in his wildest Trotskyite fantasies, while paying themselves outrageous bonuses underwritten by the taxpayer. There is much public anger about banks and it is well deserved.


There was, of course, a global financial crisis. But our Labour predecessors left Britain exceptionally vulnerable and damaged: more personal debt than any other major economy; a dangerously inflated property bubble; and a bloated banking sector behaving as masters, not the servants of the people.


I think what is happening is I think first of all there is confidence in the U.K. economy. We're in a German rather than a Greek position in international financial markets, which is very positive and keeps our debt service costs down, and we're also beginning to see real evidence of rebalancing.


Banks operate like a man who either wears his trousers round his chest, stifling breathing, as now, or round his ankles, exposing his assets. We want their trousers tied round their middle: steady lending growth; particularly to productive British business, especially small scale enterprise.


We have sectors of the economy, aerospace is a good example, where Britain's probably the second country in the world, the automobile sector, where we've done extraordinarily well, an enormous amount of investment over the last couple of years, life sciences is another.


Many of our problems are home-grown. Gordon Brown regularly advised the rest of the world to follow his British model of growth. But the model was flawed. It led to the highest level of household debt in relation to income in the world.


The economy has become seriously unbalanced. Its growth has not been driven by investment or by overcoming Britain's long-standing weaknesses in investment and productivity, particularly skills. Instead, there has been a binge of debt-financed consumer spending.


I have managed to infuriate the bank bosses; acquire a fatwa from the revolutionary guards of the trades union movement; frighten the 'Daily Telegraph' with a progressive graduate payment; and upset very rich people who are trying to dodge British taxes. I must be doing something right.


I made friends with a boy who was a communist when I was 13 and that broadened my political views, but it also brought me into conflict with my father who was very Right-wing.


My job is to support businesses, that means promoting British commerce in the big emerging markets that have been neglected in the past. It means keeping Britain open to inward investors, trade and skilled workers. It means cutting red tape which is suffocating growing companies which create jobs.


No, and in fact I get a bit frustrated, because I'm actually quite good at one-liners, and I've had hundreds of them over the years, and they sink without trace, and I get very frustrated. Every party conference I really work on the speeches, and I always have two or three things I'm quite proud of, and no one ever remembers them.


The food in the House of Commons is fairly good. The cafe in Portcullis House is really very high quality, and you also have a choice of eating in the more traditional restaurants, the Churchill Room or the Members' Dining Room. I don't often eat in them, though, as I'm usually on the run.


We've got to get back on track to working with them. Because if I and my colleagues are going to continue to attract inward investment from overseas - you know particularly from the big Asian countries - they see Britain as a gateway to Europe. They don't want any doubts cast upon that.


I am going to confront the old-fashioned negative thinking which says that all government needs to do to generate growth is cut worker and environmental protections, cut taxes on the rich and stroke 'fat cats' until they purr with pleasure. I'm completely repudiating the idea that government has to get out of the way.


Our workforce is very co-operative, very flexible, easy to work with and one of the big selling points. The idea that Britain is still back in the labour market of the '70s is utterly bizarre.


Now the main areas of higher education that still enjoy considerable financial support from government are subjects like engineering and science and the research ringfence which is the basic minimum to protect Britain's scientific competitiveness.


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