Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Vince Cable - Ace of Base

Vince Cable's secret interview with the Telegraph is dominating the news agendas. First because he claimed to be prepared to walk out of his job and bring down the government and now with a leaked report (which apparently the Telegraph chose not to publish) about declaring war on Rupert Murdoch over the latter's bid for a full takeover of Sky.

Could Vince have chosen two issues which were more suited to shoring up his position with the Liberal Democrat base?

First of all he is making clear that he is unhappy with a lot of what his Conservative colleagues are putting forward. Not utterly surprising, but it is good for the Lib Dem membership to be able to hear this from the mouth of a minister - even if it is via the medium of the Telegraph.

Not so unhappy as to avoid the whole tuition fees debacle which, it should be remembered, was a policy from his own department and which will probably do the party more damage than any other single policy. But unhappy enough to make it clear that he does not like everything he is having to vote for and that other proposals which have been dropped would have been a lot worse.

But there is probably no person more hated within the Lib Dems than Rupert Murdoch. It's a dog-whistle thing. Murdoch stands for everything that Lib Dems detest. And by declaring war against Murdoch, Vince will once again become Saint Vince among the Focus deliverers of the party.

Of course, I'm not suggesting that Vince was in connivance with the Telegraph over this. We've got to take his word that he didn't know the reporters were who they turned out to be. And it would be entirely wrong to think that the un-named source who leaked the Murdoch aspect when the Telegraph refused to run it might have been close friends with Vince himself. But what great timing? Appearing in the morning before Cameron and Clegg's 'end-of-year report' Vince was assured of being the number one subject of the event with Nick Clegg forced to defend the Government against the beliefs of ordinary Lib Dem members.

Far be it for me to suggest that this was any sort of revenge meted out by Cable against Clegg. But there has been some resentment brewing between the two ever since midway through the election campaign when the core Lib Dem message went from being the £10k tax policy to 'I agree with Nick'.


JohnM said...

Unfortunately his, unguarded, comment means that he will not be seen as impartial and in fact now be under pressure to not refer the bid to mergers commission.

I doubt he can survive this sabotage.

This is such a 'sting' operation and I would like to know more about who was really behind this? Innocent reporters or Mr Murdoch.

Liberal Neil said...

I don't think Vince has done himself any ood with this, and he has form for mouthing off and causing problems like this.

He is now in the unique position of, on the one hand, happily pushing through probably the worst coalition decision so far, on fees, whilst at the same time appearing to be an unhappy and disloyal member of said coalition who is willing to say things to some people he has never met before that he hasn't been willing to say in private party meetings.

At the end of the day he is not a team player and has never had much respect for the rest of the party and he will have lost a huge amount of credibility over this.