Jack Straw: 'Soufflés are the classic politician's dish, as they're full of hot air'

 

To be a survivor in British politics, you have to love it Because there are plenty of times when you'll think to yourself, "There must be a better way of earning a living than bashing your head against a brick wall."

It's important to take responsibility I remember Sir Patrick Mayhew [former Northern Ireland secretary] telling me in 1995, "Dear boy, whenever you find yourself in the detritus, and you will, just put your effing paws up! Don't argue, apologise." It was fantastic advice. Andrew Mitchell would have been wise to follow it.

I enjoy being on the public stage It can be exciting, exhilarating and terrifying from time to time.

My morning cup of coffee gets me through the day But it's a matter of matrimonial dispute because I make the coffee in our house and my wife claims you could stand a spoon in it.

I'm happy most of the time Notwithstanding my intense period of being fed up 30 years ago, I'm a pretty cheerful guy. I'm happiest when I'm en famille. My children are now married and grown up but when we all get together it's wonderful.

Being praised by Margaret thatcher was certainly different I thought she was very generous in what she said [she complimented Straw's increased police powers against terrorism in 2000] given that when she was prime minister I said some not entirely complimentary things about her. But that's politics.

I love cooking because you have to totally immerse yourself I'm very good at soufflés. They're the classic politician's dish because they won't work unless they're full of hot air. They also require attention to detail and a strong nerve, and if you have both they'll work every time.

Hopefully I'll be remembered as a decent guy who made a difference But I have no idea if it will happen. You can't get through life having everyone appreciate you all of the time. You could get through life with no one ever noticing you, but that'd be no fun. That's not the role I've ever sought.

I can't stand dirty shoes Myself, Tony Blair and Neil Kinnock all have a clean-shoes fetish. I polish my shoes every morning.

I'd be a good plumber's mate I've got a tool box and I can solder a joint. I mean a joint in a central-heating system, not the other kind of joint.

Nothing beats the joy of Blackburn Rovers doing well I remember being at Anfield in May 1995 with my children when Blackburn lost to Liverpool but won the Premiership. That was a wonderful moment of shared excitement. We were walking on air.

Jack Straw, 66, is the Shadow Deputy Prime Minister. His book, 'Last Man Standing: Memoirs of a Political Survivor', is out now (Macmillan, £20)

Suggested Topics
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Compensation and Benefits Manager - Brentwood - Circa £60,000

£60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Compensation and Benefits Manager - Compensat...

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £35000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £32000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker