It’s dangerous, in my line of work, to promise you’ll be anywhere by 8 p.m. I made this mistake recently, saying I’d turn up to a dinner after a Budget discussion — a ‘quad’ meeting, where I sit with the Prime Minister, George Osborne and Nick Clegg. We’ve been doing this for five years, so have come to know each other pretty well. Not that we all agree; on the night in question, Nick was angry about something (I won’t say what) and our meeting ran on. I headed back with him to Dover House, a magnificent building where I was based during my tenure as Scottish Secretary. A great job: I enjoyed each of the 17 days I spent in it.
The dinner, organised by the Lib Dems, was fun. Some guests made kind remarks about my role in repairing the economy.