If there is one eternal truth of politics, it is that there are always a dozen good reasons for doing nothing.
In the last 15 or 20 years, I've watched the British press simply go to hell. There seems to be no limit, no depths to which the tabloids won't sink. I don't know who these people are but they're little pigs.
Most people like to read about intrigue and spies. I hope to provide a metaphor for the average reader's daily life. Most of us live in a slightly conspiratorial relationship with our employer and perhaps with our marriage.
People who've had very unhappy childhoods are pretty good at inventing themselves. If nobody invents you for yourself, nothing is left but to invent yourself for others.
The longing we have to communicate cleanly and directly with people is always obstructed by qualifications and often with concern about how our messages will be received.
We were not faced (in the cold war) in a conflict with people who are prepared to die for their cause. We weren't in conflict with people whose idea is to kill as many as they could.
Because we are so unfamiliar with the motivation of the people we are dealing with, we are more afraid of them than we need to be.
We have learned in recent years to translate almost all of political life in terms of conspiracy. And the spy novel, as never before, really, has come into its own.
Nothing in life... even a few broken bones, is without its reward.
I made a series of wrong decisions about moderately recent books, and I've sold the rights to studios for ridiculous amounts of money and the films have never been made. That's the saddest thing of all, because they're locked up and no one else can make them.
During the Cold War, we lived in coded times when it wasn't easy and there were shades of grey and ambiguity.
In every war zone that I've been in, there has been a reality and then there has been the public perception of why the war was being fought. In every crisis, the issues have been far more complex than the public has been allowed to know.
The Cold War was over long before it was officially declared dead.
There is a big difference between fighting the cold war and fighting radical Islam. The rules have changed and we haven't.
In the war on terror we did everything wrong that we could have done.