Our Vince: From Fred Astaire to Mr Bean?

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As a follow up to my piece about Lib Dem economic policy this morning, I’ve written an article on Comment is Free about Vince Cable and why he is starting to be a bit of a problem for the Lib Dems:

I have huge admiration for Vince. Six years ago, when I was experiencing a credit crunch of my own, the fact that there was a single politician out there who understood how badly banks were behaving in encouraging people to get into unmanageable levels of debt meant a tremendous amount to me. But he is not infallible. He’s not, whisper it, even indispensable.

Despite this, he eschews the collegiate discipline of party policy development in favour of going out on a limb and trusting his own judgment to carry him through. There seems to be almost no strategic thinking behind how he presents his shifts in position whatsoever. He hasn’t been articulating a party position; he’s been engaging in punditry. The latter may make you incredibly popular with John Humphries and Jeremy Paxman, it may even acquire you rock-star status, but it isn’t the job the party requires him to do.

Read the rest here.

4 thoughts on “Our Vince: From Fred Astaire to Mr Bean?

  1. “Collegiate discipline of party policy develoipment” – there speaks a good functionary. Have you any evidence that these plans (which are certainly more far-reaching than a mere “mansions tax”) were not carefully drawn up and subject to proper strategic assessment? It strikes me elements on the Lib Dem frontbench have simply got cold feet and are being happily suckered by the crafty game set up by elements in the Tory press and at the BBC. Never underestimate the power of the more articulate and calculating wealthy to swing agendas their way. Vince surely is doing the right thing however he decides to get there and isn’t that what really counts?

  2. Have you any evidence that these plans (which are certainly more far-reaching than a mere “mansions tax”) were not carefully drawn up and subject to proper strategic assessment?

    Yes. If such plans exist they were never presented to the FPC and they weren’t passed onto the media even after Vince started to struggle yesterday.

    When a piece of paper remains secret despite the fact that it is in the interests of its author to reveal its contents, then one must conclude that it does not, in fact, actually exist.

    There is a danger this might all get a bit theological. Are we going to debate Flying Spagetti Monsters next (for which there appears to be more statistical evidence than your legendary piece of paper)?

    I love the description of me as a “functionary” by the way. Next time I get people slagging me off for being disloyal I will point out that I am merely fulfilling my function. What’s your function by the way?

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