Monday, August 09, 2010


Vince Really IS a Bit Unhappy

Vince Cable gives a revealing interview today with Decca Aitkenhead in The Guardian today offers a revealing interview with Vince Cable, the Business Secretary. Before the last election Cable was the person many people thought should have been leader; he was perceptive, prescient and admired for his wit and low key, 'humble' personality. Indeed, so popular was he that his party sent him along in the early days of the campaign to be alongside trhe untested Clegg to convey a little of his own magic to the youger man.

He comes over as:

1. Admiring of Osborne as 'able'- I agree. I've been imppressed both times when I met him personally at conferences I organised and I think he's shown resilience under a lot of pressure to date.

2. Arguing his volte face over 'cuts not and not later' was the result of the early summer crisis in euroland.

3. Defensive about the coalition's achievements. He hands over a list of his department's achievements to date 'like a schoolboy handing in his homework'.

4. Equivocal on his own acceptance of the coalition arrangement:

"I think the whole situation – well, it's not comfortable. And it would be dishonest to go around like an American politician with a bright grin the whole time, because what we're managing is quite a difficult situation. So I'm just being rather transparent."


"I think what I'm doing is worthwhile, I think I'm making a difference, and so I'm committed to it." He pauses again, and smiles weakly. "But that doesn't mean to say it's, you know, wonderful."

All this for confirms that the lifelong anti-Tory Vince, though he is trying hard to deny his own denial, is the Lib Dem bunny least happy with his taste of power. So far it's merely not 'wonderful' and not 'comfortable' but just wait till the real pressure hits this government. As Aitkenhead speculates:

In the worst-case scenario, a year from now his party will have taken the flak for Tory cuts, been abandoned by its supporters in disgust, and lost the campaign for AV. If the coalition fails to deliver electoral reform, I wonder if Cable would feel his party's extraordinary experiment will have been worth it. "I think," he says firmly, "it would still be worth it."

D'you know, I don't really think he believes that last point- nor do I believe the bulk of his fellow MPs do either.

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