Second Part

0:05:07 The Civil Service gave me thirty-six years of a succession of jobs, each of which was more difficult than the last, stretched me hugely, and taught me I could do things I had no idea I could do; it began in Private Office, the Private Secretary to a Minister looks after his diary, his papers, his meetings, and takes notes of all the meetings; it was a terrific experience for a young person, and teaches you a lot about how Government works; had Tony Crosland at the Board of Trade, then Roy Mason, and then we had the election in the Summer of 1970; we all thought that Mr Heath would lose and Harold Wilson would come back; I was working for Wilfred Brown, a Labour Peer, and we sent him off the evening before saying we would see him in the morning; he rang me at six the next morning; I can hear him now saying, "Richard" - long silence - "its terrible. Can I come in?" I said "Of course you can come in. Until the Queen has Harold Wilson's resignation you can still use an official car"; he came in to collect his belongings, he had a party in the office, we had drinks in the middle of the morning, and people were outside tearing up the papers, like the sacking of an embassy; it was a maudlin, extraordinary occasion; then we packed him off about lunch time when the Prime Minister had been to the Palace; then an extraordinary quiet falls on Government in that period when there is a change of Government, everything stops and everyone is waiting; then I got a phone call from the Permanent Secretary's Office saying that my new Minister was Mr Fred Corfield, and please would I make contact with him and arrange a meeting; I rang him in Gloucestershire; I hadn't got a photograph of him and we didn't have the Internet; he asked me to meet him at Paddington Station; I asked how I would know him and he said he would be wearing a Concorde tie; within hours of Wilfred Brown having gone, we were arranging the first briefing meetings with the new Minister of Civil Aviation, as he was - there had been a slight reshuffle and I was dealing with a different subject; I remember in the meeting suddenly seeing that the glasses from the party which we had given for Wilfred Brown were still behind the curtain; no one understands outside Government what a brutal business Government is for people, one minute you are there and the next minute you are out and you are nothing; in terms of relationships, you work with Civil Servants for three years or whatever, and suddenly you have no dealings with them and you can't look to them for help; it is difficult for us too; the way I dealt with it was always to think of them as my clients, and as long as they were my clients my job was to find out what they wanted to do, to help find out the most practical way of implementing it, and to try and make it happen; also to support them because Ministerial jobs are very difficult; I learned a lot about that in those early days; I had Fred Corfield for three months and then there was the October 1970 reshuffle, for which the connoisseurs of the Civil Service were very important as it was when Heath set up the Central Policy Review staff, and the beginning of the criticisms of Whitehall's ability to make policy; I then had a new Minister; he had fallen out with his Private Secretary in what became the new Department of Trade and Industry, a man called Nicholas Ridley whom nobody had heard of at that time; he was very close to Enoch Powell whom he often went to see; he later became a key figure in Mrs Thatcher's Government, where I met him again; a lot of my life has been like Anthony Powell's novels - people come through in different roles, like Cathy Ashton today but that is another story; so I rescued Nicholas Ridley from the mess he was in; he didn't know what engagements he had got, the papers were in chaos, and the whole Private Office had broken down; I worked for him for a year; there was a terrible week when the V & G affair - which nobody now remembers - broke, and I thought for a period that my career was over; I was told mud sticks and sometimes it is unfair, but anyway it didn't turn out like that; in the middle of that week Frank Lee died; that was the first time I discovered that when one thing goes wrong so many other things can go wrong at the same time

6:04:13 I was then promoted to the Cabinet Office on the Assessments Staff; at that time no one could talk about it because it was where the intelligence from all the different services were brought together and assessed by a team of people who brought to it an objective view, and whose role was to ensure that the departments provided an independent objective assessment of all the intelligence; when I was on it you were sworn to utter secrecy and you were not allowed to mention the Assessments Staff; I remember one occasion I mentioned the word Cheltenham and I spent the whole dinner party mortified, though it was in no way improper and I wasn't referring to GCHQ; nowadays we are much more open and everybody knows about these things; that was a very interesting period, because although I began on what was then an experiment on economic intelligence, I moved to political intelligence and I covered the war with Bangladesh because someone was ill - a lot of my life at that time, stepping in when someone was ill at important moments, gave me an important opportunity; I dealt with Bangladesh and an assessment of what it all meant; I then worked for a man called Sir Percy Cradock, a great man on China; I went out to Australia for a conference and got involved with doing political assessments on the attitude of China towards Hong Kong; I went to Hong Kong and I stood at the frontier to New Territories looking north into China, and seeing the Red Guard, but the idea of going in to China knowing the things you knew - that was out of the question in 1973; I did a lot of travelling at that period which was quite fun; I went to Siberia, Moscow, and Iran; I did that for two years and then in October 1973 I was told that I was going to go to work on energy policy in the DTI; I prepared myself for it, and at that time there was a very clear energy policy based on cheap oil, lots of nuclear energy and coal fired stations etc.; the weekend before I was going to take up the job the Arab-Israeli War broke out, the oil price started spiralling upwards and ended up quadrupling, the three day week and all of that developed; I found myself in the middle of the energy policy crisis in what, on the 8th January, became a separate Department of Energy; I was writing speeches by candlelight saying there was no energy crisis; then all sorts of things became important, like energy conservation, which I discovered nobody had dealt with since the Attlee Government; renewable energy also suddenly became a topic which was my job - wind power, wave power and all those options; I was dealing with energy conservation, all the renewable sources of energy, and putting together an energy policy for the UK which took account of the new price of oil; it was a fantastic job and I was frantically busy writing endless papers; North Sea oil had just been discovered and every year we were upgrading our estimates of North Sea oil and gas - an extraordinary achievement; suddenly I found myself in a department which was at the cutting edge of a lot of policy issues at a time when they were really very important within Government; there were only about a thousand people in the department, but it attracted a generation of people, a lot with scientific backing, who were excited by energy issues; it was a marvellous, young department, untrammelled by a lot of history, which some departments are, and I made lots of friend there and it was a good place to be; I got promoted there in 1976 to deal with nuclear power which was a hugely contentious area; I dealt with nuclear power policy, thermal reactor policy, and fast reactor policy, and also the finances of the UK Atomic Energy Authority, financing their research projects; this was at a time of thermal reactor choice when new nuclear power stations were being ordered and the question was, should the thermal reactor system be the American light water reactors or should we continue to use the British advanced gas-cooled reactors, or should we actually go with what Eric Varley, the Secretary of State for Energy in 1974, had chosen, which was the steam generating heavy water reactor which mercifully was later rejected; I had never dealt with expenditure before, and I was responsible for £400,000,000; I learned how to deal with money on the job as I hadn't had any training; it was a time when it was assumed that a gentleman knows how to do anything he is asked to do; I learned the science of nuclear power stations and I went inside reactors before they were commissioned; I was working for Tony Benn for four years; that was exciting because he was a minority within the Callaghan Government, and had been sent there in exile on 4th June 1975; he didn't want to be there, ordering nuclear power stations, but the pressures on him from the centre were extremely tough; so I found myself dealing, not only with a subject matter which is highly contentious, but also this extremely difficult relationship between Tony Benn and the centre of government; he was saying he didn't want us to talk to the centre without his permission, and the centre would ring me up, from the CPRS or Number 10, asking me for briefing; it was a very good experience in actually managing difficult political issues in important policy areas; Benn stopped talking to the Permanent Secretary, the Deputy Secretary and the Under Secretary, and only dealt with me; I appeared in his diaries as a "junior official"; I found myself in very difficult situations, where my senior managers were telling me not to write the papers that Benn wanted because he had not told them what his decision was, and Benn was instructing his special advisors, Francis Morrell and Francis Cripps, to work with me on papers; I was having to say to them that they couldn't say things because they were not true; we pulled out of it a decision to order two advanced gas cooled reactor orders at Torness and Heysham, and also a design study on Sizewell; then when Mrs Thatcher came to power in 1979, suddenly the whole thing changed because Walter Marshall, Head of the AEA, was a close friend of hers; she was very much in favour of nuclear power, and the Sizewell design study which I had got through became the new project; of course it got bogged down in the planning enquiry and it didn't happen for years; I drafted a statement to Parliament that said that there would be one new nuclear power station order a year for a decade, which no one remembers and did not happen; but it was a very rewarding four years, and I learnt a lot of things about handling high politics, policy etc.; my advice to an aspiring Civil Servant would be to try to keep good relations with everybody, and try to work out what the right answer, what the best advice is, and try and see if you can navigate it through; don't get thrown by all the politics that go on; I remember Toby Aldington, a former Minister whom I dealt with a lot - a lot of it involved Arnold Weinstock of GEC - and his advice to me at the time was to never let them know how clever you are, keep them guessing, don't show your hand

15:49:08 I got moved to deal with North Sea oil and gas policy which was pretty good after nuclear policy; I found myself in the middle of the great privatisation programme; although it was not part of the 1979 manifesto I knew all about it because I had worked for Nick Ridley in the Heath Government, and they wanted seriously to take it up; we were asked whether we could privatise gas, electricity and coal; I remember we had a meeting where everyone laughed at the suggestion, but of course it all happened; Nigel Lawson became the Secretary of State; we had started planning a National Savings Certificate, the coupon on which would be linked to the average price of a barrel of oil - thank goodness it had never got off the ground, but I had been working on that in lieu of privatisation; Nigel Lawson called me down and said, "If I told you we were going to privatise the British National Oil Corporation, what would be involved and what would be the quickest timetable you could do it on?"; I told him that you would have to pass a Bill, draw up a prospectus, divide the Corporation in two as part couldn't be privatized, and then you would have to have the offer for sale; if everything went right I told him it could be done in a year; he said that he wanted to do it and was putting me in charge of privatising it in a year from then; he said that he and the Prime Minister would back me, and it was the will of the Government; it was extraordinary; I remember before my first meeting with merchant bankers, I went out to a book shop in Horseferry Road and found a 'Teach Yourself Business' book, and looked up merchant bankers under M, I had no idea what a merchant banker did; it was a super project; there were lovely people in BNOC; Jennie Page, who later went on to do the Jubilee Line and then the Millennium Dome, which she built to time and to cost - I want history to know that; also Roy Dantzig who was brought in from the private sector to be Finance Director, and we did it, it was amazing; we got the Act through Parliament, we got the Corporation split - there was terrific hostility inside the Corporation, people leaking things to 'The Times', which was unhelpful - and we drew up the prospectus; I had never done a prospectus in my life but we had very good merchant bankers, Warburgs; Freshfields, the solicitors, were also terrific, we had very good accountants, and we made it happen pretty much by the day that Nigel Lawson wanted; I am very proud of that; it coincided with a dreadful period in my life; our son was born in March 1979 - that was lovely, one of the most important things in my life, that and the birth of our daughter in 1981 - we had moved out to Buckinghamshire as we had agreed that when we had a family we wanted to bring them up in the countryside with a village school; we chose a place with a good school, Dinton near Aylesbury, and bought an old bakery with two shops; I converted it all myself so it was pretty badly done, but it was a lovely place to bring up children; then a number of blows fell; in January 1980 we found that Tom was profoundly deaf, a painful moment for us, but he is a fantastically bright chap, done hugely well, and got a first at university; dealing with profound deafness at that time was quite a struggle; then my mother died in June 1980, and my father died during the committee stage of the Oil and Gas (Enterprise) Bill, then my second sister died in 1983 - and my favourite uncle died in October during the offer for sale; so that there was a period in my private life where we had three or four deaths and our son's disability; out of it emerged a nuclear family which is just the joy of my life, and my career had had a huge boost through working successfully for Nigel Lawson; it was one of the early privatisations and was very successful in the sense that the Government made a lot of money; because the oil price dropped in the middle of the offer for sale the underwriters had to take up the shares, which was a pity, but it showed it could be done

21:50:00 I got promoted and was put in charge of all personnel and all finance in the Department of Energy; I learned then all the things I needed for the rest of my career about running a department, looking after finance, and looking after people; it was a very good period and a nice department to cut your teeth on and to learn how to do those things; I caught the eye of the centre; Peter Walker had been our Secretary of State and that was itself an instruction; he couldn't have been more different from Nigel Lawson; you learned that the difference in view between Ministers within a Party can be as great as the views between Ministers of different Parties; I was headhunted to go to head the Personnel Management Division of the Cabinet Office, where I dealt with personnel management policy for the Civil Service as a whole; I did this for only eighteen months and then I had another fantastic break; I was summoned by Robert Armstrong the then Cabinet Secretary, who asked me to head the Domestic and Economic Secretariat at the Cabinet Office, under Mrs Thatcher; I thought here is life stretching me again and I was pretty nervous because she had a reputation of being quite demanding to work for; my first morning I had a half an hour handover with my predecessor - a nice man called Brian Unwin - and asked if he had any tips about dealing with the Prime Minister; he said that I would be sitting next to her and she liked to make a good exit, she would have put her handbag between my seat and hers, so do not get the legs of your chair mixed up with the straps of her handbag or her exit would be spoilt; he had done so and she did not forgive him for months; I met her, and she was indeed formidable and demanding; I had my heart in my mouth at the beginning; she was full of energy and very different at every meeting; she would go into the room first and you waited outside, and all these grey men would rush in after her; if you didn't get in quickly she would announce something like the paper was completely wrong and we should be doing something else; if you missed that you would miss the summing up; then after three months Robert Armstrong called me in and told me I was OK; he said, "She thinks you're OK, you are through, you have passed the test. Congratulations"; after that she gave me lots of things to do and relied heavily on the briefs that I wrote; she could be scary; I can remember her saying that the brief said one thing and† the Secretary of State said another, and which was right?; the whole Cabinet would be staring at you knowing that you had written the brief; it was a very exciting period, full of radical change - the national curriculum went through, the abolition of ILEA, the NHS reforms - we had a committee which I was secretary of, and ultimately Mr Blair took them up again - local government was reorganized, the Poll Tax went through; I sat there minuting all this, briefing her, then having to tell Departments, chairing little groups on this and that, including how to make the Poll Tax work; there is a whole saga about the Community Charge which I was deeply involved in; I was summoned to Chequers on a Saturday afternoon, which was mercifully not far from where we lived, to explain to her a very complicated submission I had put to her about how to try and adjust the Poll Tax which was going wrong; don't ever get into local government finance, it is incredibly difficult stuff; she always had this theory, I think, that I didn't eat enough; she got tea for me and made me sit there with a cup in one hand and a cream bun in the other, explaining to her about all these difficult financial changes in the formula for local government finance; many Civil Servants who worked directly for her have huge appreciation for her because she was a very good person to work for, not necessarily good to be a Minister in her Government as she would be very tough with them; she treated us well; once she had accepted you as being inside the stockade - not "one of us", she never showed any interest in my politics - what she wanted was a good service, someone who could get on top of the brief, master it, understand where she was coming from, give good advice, then deal with departments in a way that made things happen in the way she wanted, and draw up proposals in the way that reflected her thinking; if she felt that the service you were providing was of the quality she needed then she gave you absolute support, and would be a very rewarding person to work for; she would use your briefs and arguments, she would do them better or would change them, but it was really interesting; she would rely on you sometimes at moments when you knew that if you let her down she would be in some trouble; if you did it she would thank you; she was much more complex and interesting woman; seen from my perspective, she was quite unlike the 'Spitting Image' of her; there was some truth in it, as with 'Yes Minister', but is by no means the whole story; I was very privileged in having a ring-side seat watching the Thatcher Government at work for three years, which was absolutely the best show in town

29:16:14 Then I was moved by Robin Butler, the Cabinet Secretary, to the Treasury on the grounds that everyone ought to have time there; I did it for two years and had responsibility for half of all public expenditure, which at that time was nothing like what it is now; I think it was about £98,000,000,000; there was the need to allocate this† between departments, and I learned the Treasury job of how to say no and how you deal with people who are trying to bounce things through; I saw public expenditure from the other side; having spent many years myself doing that to the Treasury, it was quite good to be at the receiving end; then in 1992 after the election, John Major, whom I had known well from working in the Cabinet Office, promoted me to being Permanent Secretary at the Department of the Environment; that was a huge jump because I knew nothing about the Department, and being Permanent Secretary is a big step up in Government; I did that for Michael Howard; we repealed the Community Charge or Poll Tax and produced the Council Tax; Michael Howard did quite a lot on the environment, climate change - Rio Summit which he went to in my first week - and I cut my teeth as a Permanent Secretary then; after a year he was moved to the Home Office; I remember saying "Congratulations and bad luck", because although Home Secretary is one of the most important Secretaries of State in the Government, it is also one of the most thankless because you gather all the failings of every other policy, like education drop-outs or mental health problems, problems that are probably insoluble; John Gummer came in and I had a good year with him, a hugely competent departmental Minister; he took a department that other people had had a lot of trouble with, quietened it down, he laid down the policies; when I was at Cambridge I used to go to the Union every Tuesday and see Michael Howard, John Gummer, Kenneth Clarke, and Norman Lamont, all in action; I had never spoken myself but I had observed them; now I worked for each of them - with Norman Lamont in the Department of Energy and Treasury, Kenneth Clarke on Inner Cities in the Cabinet Office; then out of nowhere in April 1994 Robin Butler rang me and said that the Prime Minister wanted me to go to the Home Office as Permanent Under-Secretary; I had given my opinion of the Department but didn't know it at all; it became very clear very fast that Michael Howard had asked for me, although he never said so, but I found myself in an invidious position as the Civil Service had wanted someone else to get the job, so that was quite difficult; the Department was in some uproar because Michael Howard, in a speech at the Conservative Party conference, without really consulting the Department, had said that prison works and had announced a thirty point plan; I asked Robin for time to think about the job; next morning I said that if he told me I had got to do it, that John Major and he wanted me to do it, then of course I would, but it would not be my choice as I had only just settled into the Department of the Environment; Robin said that they wanted me to do it, so I did; it was a really difficult period, not only because Michael Howard was at odds with the Department, but also, within months of my being there we had a very serious escape from Whitemoor Prison and three months later, Parkhurst; the enquiries into that and the consequent dismissal of the Director General of the Prison Service, Derek Lewis, which I had to handle, consumed my life; there were also huge management reforms of the Home Office which we carried out; I was regarded with great suspicion initially by the Home Office, and I had to win over the staff; I think I had done so by the time I left; I also had to deal with the Department of the Environment who felt let down that I had left them after only two years; I had promised them so many things, and had asked them to do things, and I felt very bad about leaving them; it was a very demanding part of my career, but crime went down for the first time in a century in my four years at the Home Office; we did reorganize it and make some much needed management changes, like introducing computers; they had virtually no IT in the Immigration Service when I arrived and only one word processor on every floor of this enormous building, they had messengers whose job was just to keep the paper up to date; I recruited lots of people to help us out and there were a lot of staff changes in my first year; by the end of three years we had roughly got it all in place; then we had the election, and the Blair Government was swung to power on a huge majority; I had talked with the opposition - Jack Straw, whom I knew slightly as I knew his wife, Alice Perkins, who was a civil servant and a friend; all the things that happened in 1970 when the Heath Government won happened again only this time I was the Permanent Secretary doing the ringing up and telling people in the Private Office to speak to so-and-so; as we waited for Jack Straw, whom we expected to be appointed, to come, I asked the Private Secretary if we had emptied the drawers; of course we hadn't, and they were full of Michael Howard's things; someone produced a couple of Waitrose carrier bags and we flung them in; I found a cupboard that had not been opened for many years because there were a couple of elephant tusks in the back with Henry Brooke's name on them; he had been Home Secretary in the 1960s; anyway, we got on with Jack Straw and that was a good period; he knew what he wanted, was a very easy man to get on with, and was full of enthusiasm

36:53:00 In July 1997 - there had been a lot of press speculation about Robin Butler's successor - and one morning I got a phone call to say that the Prime Minister would like to meet me, and would I come at 5 o'clock to talk to him; I met Tony Blair and sat on the balcony outside the Cabinet room; we chatted about everything under the sun for an hour, and that was it; a couple of days later I got a phone call saying that Derry Irvine would like to meet me at 8.30 tomorrow; I knew him, though he didn't remember me, because he had been at Cambridge; the last time I had seen him was on a pub crawl down Fleet Street; he, interestingly, had rung Bill Wedderburn about me; anyway, we had a chat, again no reference to anything in particular; then about three days later I got a phone call from Robin Butler asking me to go to see him; he said, "I am not telling you this but Tony Blair is going to ask to see you this afternoon at 5 o'clock, and is going to ask you to be Cabinet Secretary, and I want to be sure that you are going to give the right answer"; he told me not to show that I knew I would be asked, or say that I had spoken to him; I got the phone call and went to see Tony Blair who said he wanted to talk about the press release; I asked him what it was about, and he said that I must know the answer because Robin Butler would have told me; I don't think I was ever offered the job; so then I became Secretary to the Cabinet and Head of the Civil Service; I had a few more months at the Home Office; it was a sad period as Caro's sister, Sue Lee, who was Deputy High Mistress of St Pauls, died of cancer; that dominated that period; on 1st January 1998 I took over, and that was the job I did until the end of September 2002; it was an extraordinary period

39:49:10 On Tony Blair, you could not ask for an easier Minister in some ways; he is the most sweet natured, easy-going guy (his sort of word) you could ask for; I have known him angry but he is very controlled and doesn't lose his temper; he is someone you can be direct with, honest with, and say what you think, and he will not take offence and hold it against you, which is rare; his charisma, his charm, is quite extraordinary; he can walk into a room of people who are hostile and against him, he can talk them round; he picks things up quickly; Roy Jenkins asked me what my Blair factor was; I asked him what he meant, and he said that when he saw Tony he would walk tall for a month and then wonder what he had got out of it; he can give you a sense of pleasure but you are not actually sure what he said; I sat there writing notes, and people would think that he had said something - I think that this is the root of some of the tensions that we can now admit existed between Blair and Brown because I don't think Gordon ever listened quite to what Tony said; you would know if you wrote it down he hadn't said something, but people would think he had; he also has a performing style to die for; he can find the right words - I have seen Alistair Campbell giving him a few phrases, then go out and talk to the media and find the right language; he is a performer of extraordinary calibre; I have sat next to him when he has delivered a speech to a hostile audience, and you can feel him reaching out to them; a† real skill which very few people that I have worked for have got in that kind of degree; the truth is that his skills and Gordon Brown's skills were complementary, and between them they had all the skills they needed† when they worked together well, which sometimes they did; the politics, as the world knows, were much more difficult; Blair is a much more complex man than I make him sound because different things coexist within him; he is an easy-going, affable lad, a charmer, and orator, and then there is the really tough guy who sacked Peter Mandelson - I can remember seeing him granite faced; a man living on a world stage, which in some ways he is comfortable on in a way that none of us would be; he is at ease with himself bestriding the globe like a Colossus in a way that I think is unusual; he can be cunning, manipulative and very political, and glide through narrow impasses where you think there is no room; his complexity is well camouflaged

44:19:05 I am not going to talk about his weaknesses although I have implied some when I talk about him and Gordon having the skills between them; he isn't always a man to read all the papers; Gordon will know what is in annex C paragraph 23 and why it conflicts with the main paper; I think the question that history will ask is what did Blair achieve in the Blair years, because he was in the most powerful position you could possibly imagine for a Prime Minister; he was powerful in the Cabinet, they were so grateful to wield power and to be back in Government; most of them were new to it so they all had steep learning curves; there were only four or five people in the hundred and nineteen Ministers who had ever been in Government before; he was powerful in Parliament as the back benchers, many of them new, were hugely loyal, supportive and adoring of him; the Labour Party was quiescent, the Trades Unions were quiescent, the economy was prosperous for longer than it had been for many years, and the opinion polls gave the Government and Blair a more consistently higher rating than anyone had had since polling began; in terms of power he was powerful; I think the question which I would ask is what did he use that power for; I have written an article about the way Government changed in the 'Political Quarterly'; he started off from a very centralized position; he had never worked in a Government department which was a handicap, and none of the people around him had managed anything of any reasonable scale; there is a control tower analogy, and I think New Labour were very confident in themselves; although they didn't have experience they believed they could do it; they initially had a proliferation of targets; I remember a chap from the NHS coming to see me and saying they had seventy-two top priorities, and could I find out which were the really important ones; so there was a great debate in which I was deeply involved about how you actually make things happen in Government; Blair was unwilling to use the Cabinet Committee system; quite often the really important things that happen in Government happen unnoticed, it is very odd; one of the things that happened, began with Mrs Thatcher, but accelerated hugely over the last decade, was that a whole tier of local government, of democratic accountability, was effectively destroyed; Nick Ridley had written a paper about this in the 1980s; local government has become an agent of central government rather than being its own tier; that was part of the centralisation; then the State started behaving as though it didn't trust the public; that was partly the fault of terrorism, but that was after I ceased being Cabinet Secretary - close-circuit television, airport security, as a teacher in a primary school you can't cuddle the children, can't drive without being photographed - there may be people you can't trust, but to treat everybody as though they are not trustworthy indicates a loss of trust of Government in the public which is quite a serious change in the climate in which we conduct our civil liberties; the centralisation of Government, the wish to attract power not only to Government, but within Government to the centre, is also serious; things which had previously been announced by a Secretary of State are announced by the Prime Minister; you expect the Prime Minister to answer for everything; I think all these things have become greatly accentuated, and it is again partly the lack of trust of Government departments from the centre; it is too complex to deal with now but there are quite serious issues there

49:54:07 I was Cabinet Secretary during the first Iraq bombing which no one remembers now; though technically I went on in the job until the end of September 2002, my last day of work was 2nd September; that was the Friday before the Monday when the Government ordered the preparation of the dossier; the build-up to the Iraq War began in earnest that Autumn; I was elected Master of Emmanuel; I was flat out after 9/11 and was rung up and told that if I wished to apply for the job, although the closing date had passed, I could still do so; initially I was too busy as it was the beginning of all the stuff in Afghanistan; then Lord St John of Fawsley approached me and suggested that I just go and see the College; I went, met the Fellowship, saw round the College, talked to the Bursar etc., dined at high table, sat in the parlour, and chatted to people; I walked back on a crisp November evening across the grass of Front Court and looked up at the Wren Chapel, and suddenly thought that I really could get to like this; it reconnected with my Cambridge past; when they invited me to do it I took it seriously; I applied and went through all the hoops, and I much appreciate the honour the Fellowship did to me in electing me to the post; I accepted it of course, because that was what I wanted; when I came here I felt as though I had died and gone to heaven; I cannot tell you how the contrast between government and Cambridge is, and I havenít stopped feeling like that; firstly, there is the lack of stress; I chair lots of meetings here and nothing that anyone says is going to appear in the 'Daily Mail' tomorrow, I don't have to go and brief Alistair Campbell or go and tell the Prime Minister that we have got a problem, or ring up a department and ask them to do something as quickly as possible; I used to walk into my private office in the Cabinet Office, ask for the news and be told there was a slight problem, and then something ghastly would emerge; all the time you are juggling difficult issues which you have to be alert to; you can't have a day off; you have to be ready and able to do it, to see people to sort out difficulties, while keeping all the other balls in the air, and do two boxes of papers in the car on the way home so they are done by 9 o'clock the next morning; here the pace is so much kinder, and I don't have to do two boxes at night; things matter to the College in the context of Cambridge, but you don't feel that if you get it wrong people on a large scale are going to be hurt, or that you are going to be lampooned in the 'Daily Mail', which I have been; the other thing that is different about Cambridge is that discussion seems to be divergent whereas in Government it is convergent; in Government if you have a meeting, you may have twenty people there, they know you have got an hour, you know you have got a problem and have got to reach a solution by the end of the hour, and people have got to sign up to it; people understand that so that although they are all fighting their departmental corners, they know the rules of the game; part of the job it to make sure that the Cabinet government system delivers the result on the timetable that is needed; in Cambridge, you have an issue, but people have no sense that a decision has got to be taken necessarily, and if you let them take up a position too deeply they regard it as a matter of honour that they can defend their position, and dig themselves in more deeply; the discussion will be divergent and go to all sorts of places unless you are very careful; so the skills you need are very different; now sometimes chairing Permanent Secretaries on a Wednesday morning, discussion could be like that, so life has given me some preparation for this, but the skills and techniques you need for Cambridge are different; also the time scales are different; it is a joy to me that you don't have to do it by 10 o'clock tonight

57:11:23 We left Dinton finally in 2005, we have bought a house in Cambridge; I am very sad to leave Dinton but it wasn't right for these later years of our life; it had no shops, the bus service was pretty poor and you had to drive a long way to get to anywhere, and to move into Cambridge is marvellous; so we have rooted ourselves up - my mother-in-law lived here ever since her husband died so we were here for her final years; in a way it is the right place to be because for both of us it is such an important place and we want to live,† work, and spend our final years here; I don't think that many people are as lucky as I have been