Q: In public life to whom would you give your Oscar?

A: Seeing as Oscars are given for acting performances rather than displays of real talent or heartfelt conviction on an issue, I think I ought to give it to Tony Blair. He certainly acts the part of a Labour Prime Minister while, of course, actually being a Tory one. Q: National Health Service or personal private schemes?

A: Oh, definitely the National Health Service. It's the only civilised way to ensure that everybody who needs care, whatever their age and whatever their circumstances, gets it.

Q: Your favourite quotation?

A: I took this from Oliver Cromwell.

I use it for myself and I think others should too. (By the way he was addressing Members of Parliament who were arguing with him on an issue.) "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, to consider it possible you may be mistaken."

Q: What could or should humanists be up to?

A: We should be beating our own drums a little bit more, so that people who are actually humanists but don't realise it could come and join us and help to spread, without active proselytisation, the fact that there is another way to live an honourable, decent life within a firm moral and ethical structure without forcing yourself to believe in the unbelievable – that is supernatural beings.

Q: The agony and the ecstasy – how to get through life?

A: My grandmother taught me the answer to this one. There is a four word phrase you apply to every circumstance, whether it be agonising or ecstatic – "This too will pass."

Q: Marmite – 'a veritable epiphany' – yes or no?

A: Interestingly, Marmite was a 'veritable epiphany' when I was about seven. I thought I had never tasted anything so superb, so exciting, so altogether delightful. Reintroduced to it in my early twenties, I discovered the truth about it: like religious epiphanies, it is all too likely to let you down. Revisited, Marmite tasted to me like sludge from a salt mine. Mind you, it has given me a very useful phrase to describe people of whose company I want very little. They are 'Marmite people'. Very little goes a long way.