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.
Well, as I said, you know the issue of Greek debt, they've grasped the principle of debt reduction. I think most people would argue that probably more needs to be done on that front, and they've just begun to take the first steps to accepting that there's going to have to be much closer economic integration in Europe.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Small- and medium-sized businesses need access to a diverse range of finance options, including non-bank lending. These new forms of finance are still small in scale today but they should, over time, bring additional choice and greater competition to the lending market.
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.
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.
I clearly believe a lot more than some of my coalition colleagues - Tories - in redistribution and using the tax system for that purpose. I also believe in the government having an active role in the economy, which is having an industrial strategy. I'm not a believer in laissez-faire.
Housing associations have fingered the fact that they cannot use their assets as liquidity due to Bank of England rules unlike their continental equivalents. This has emerged to be one of the main bottlenecks to getting investment going in the U.K. It is a Bank of England issue.
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.
My late wife Olympia was Goan and I've been to India many times. I love the food there. We used to do our shopping in Southall, where you can find cheap but wonderful fruit like mangoes, vegetables and spices. I didn't do much of the cooking, as Olympia did a lot - I was the under-chef and did some of the chopping.
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 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.
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.
I fear that the rising personal bankruptcies and repossessions are the first signs of bigger problems to come and personal debt - Gordon Brown's legacy to millions of Britain's families - will hang like a millstone around the neck of the British people for years to come.