It is a pleasure to follow Michael Connarty. I, too, encourage many of my small businesses to look around and to act as customers. They do not have to stay with the bank they have been with since they were students.
I could not believe the bare-faced cheek of the Opposition motion on the Order Paper when I read it this morning. I am sure you felt the same, too, Madam Deputy Speaker, because you will recall—in your very impartial way—the state of the banking sector when this Government came to power. It is worth recalling the mess that we had to deal with when we took over. We had had the first run on a bank in this country for well over 100 years; we had had the biggest banking failure in the world; and we had had a decision, taken under conditions of panic by the former Chancellor and Prime Minister, effectively to nationalise large parts of the banking system. The Opposition motion should acknowledge that that was a deliberate decision. The natural course of events under capitalism would have been for those banks to fail, for all their employees to lose their jobs and for the branches in all our constituencies to close, followed by a restructuring process taking place outside state ownership. Instead, we have effectively perverted the course of capitalism, and that was a deliberate choice.