One of the advantages (and disadvantages) of being a cabinet minister is that everything you say and do is scrutinised; and anything controversial is exaggerated.
So, on the strength of a pro-business, pro-enterprise speech I was attacked for being 'anti-business', having said some hard-hitting things about bank bonuses, big monopolies and the cowboys who cut corners.
Our part of London, unlike some northern cities, has a vibrant, strong business culture. There are some strong national brands, notably Tesco, and high streets still have the main banks and retail chains; but there are also thousands of small companies – in IT, creative and media industries; shops and pubs; specialised manufacturers; financial advisers; consultancies; recruiters; ‘green’ environmental concerns.
These are the companies which create jobs and prosperity and which I want to encourage. Some successful entrepreneurs will make a lot of money and that is a proper reward for wealth creation.
Business faces a lot of problems in the wake of the banking collapse and recession. Banks are reluctant to lend and demand more security and higher charges. Small companies have time-consuming red tape.
Some big companies unfairly squeeze their smaller suppliers. HMRC is often unsympathetic over tax claims. It is often difficult to recruit trained and skilled staff. If the British economy is to recover, these problems need to be reduced and that is what I and my colleagues are trying to do.
But there are many business abuses and I don't intend to pull my punches in attacking them. Some bankers still behave as before the crisis with massive bonuses paid for taking risks which are underwritten by the tax-payer. In banking and in other industries there is a dangerous lack of competition.
I am optimistic that we shall turn things round. But we depend more than ever on successful, growing business, both locally and nationally.