But economic recovery will not happen automatically, by magic. Government has a key role. It has to sustain demand. That is basic Keynes. Liberal economics also requires us to remove obstacles to growth led by private enterprise. Among them is the threat to recovery from a credit squeeze by banks on small businesses.
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.
But I am not seeking retribution. We have a pressing practical problem: the lack of capital for sound, non property, business. Many firms say they are already being crippled by banks’ charges and restrictions.
The Chancellor and I have set out a range of sticks and carrots to get banks to support the real economy. Tough interventions will be needed if capital which could be used to support business lending is frittered away in bonuses and dividends.
The Coalition Agreement was crystal clear, too, that the structure of banking must be reformed to prevent future disasters and promote competition. Our agenda can be summed in seven words: make them safe and make them lend. I agree with Mervyn. We just can’t risk having banks that are too big to fail.