The Conservative MP answers Prospect's questions on greatest regrets, favourite dinner party companions, and why he remains an "absurd optimist"by Prospect Team / June 4, 2019 / Leave a comment
First news event you can recall?
Manchester United winning the European Cup in 1968.
What is the biggest problem of all?
How to bring people together, whatever their views, beliefs, interests and background.
If you could invite one or more figures from history round to dinner, who would that be?
Katherine Hepburn, David Hume, Louis Armstrong, Edmund Burke, Elizabeth Bishop… for a start.
What is your favourite quotation?
Too many to choose one, but how about Oscar Wilde: “We’re all in the gutter. But some of us are looking at the stars.”
If you were given £1m to spend on other people, what would you spend it on and why?
I would spend it on my New Model in Technology and Engineering university project in Hereford, which has the potential to revolutionise the teaching of engineering and transform young people’s lives across the country.
What do you most regret?
One is not spending more time with my mother before she succumbed to Alzheimer’s disease.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I once beat Victor Korchnoi, then the world no. 2, in a game of chess. (Okay, so it was a simultaneous game!)
What frightens you most?
Doing spins in a light aeroplane (even with an instructor).
Are things getting better or worse?
Better, overall. I am an absurd optimist. But the numbers also bear it out.
What is the most overrated book you’ve ever read?
Numerous works of modern analytic philosophy.
Which person (or sort of person) would you most like to spend a day in the shoes of?
God. Or failing her, the utterly awesome Nile Rodgers.