Sunday, September 19, 2010

Vince squirms

Watching Vince Cable squirming on The Politics Show was a painful moment. He refused to say that he was enjoying working with the Tories, dodging the question and saying only that he was enjoying being in government.

When challenged over his Damascene conversion to the belief that cuts now were essential, he claimed that this occurred during the negotiations over the coalition - allegedly because of the threat of a sovereign debt crisis. And nothing to do with the offer of a ministerial seat. This brings into question his economic competence, as the Greek, Spanish and Italian economies had all seen significant rises in default risk since late 2009, while the UK economy's risk level remained unchanged. Further, UK government bond issues remained oversubscribed and rates continued to fall. Essentially, the markets showed no fear of UK debt. There never was a risk of a UK sovereign debt crisis. It appears that one cost of government has been Cable's intellect. His claim that his economic hero is the great John Maynard Keynes must leave that giant spinning in his grave.

Finally, Vince was challenged over his opposition to the immigration cap - a position where he finds himself in agreement with British business and Boris Johnson. At the end of last week, he said that it had pushed him to the limits of cabinet collective responsibility - which he now says was taken out of context, as these embarrassing quotes invariably are. He was then slapped down by No 10, which Vince dismissed as an unnamed source. Actually, it was the Prime Minister's official spokesman, very far from a dodgy source.

Vince Cable is currently the bookies' favourite to be the next Lib Dem to quit. His discomfort is visible and painful. I wonder if he'll be shuffled out or decide to run for Mayor of London instead.

No comments: