I view Vince Cable as a genuinely decent man with liberal instincts. It is good that someone in the Lib Dems has the guts to stand up to Tory immigrant baiting. Cable was right on Murdoch, and his instincts are right on regulating the banks. On all of these – banks, Murdoch, visas – Cable theoretically had a position of power, but has simply been pushed aside by the Tories.
I think it is wrong to confuse Vince with Clegg. I don’t think Cable is hungry for power, and he doesn’t need the money. Clegg would happily sacrifice every Liberal principle to remain as Deputy Prime Minister – I am not sure Clegg ever believed any of it anyway. Following Cable’s open disagreement with Cameron on immigration, Westminster is asking how much longer Cameron will tolerate Cable. I am hopeful that is the wrong question.
I am a Liberal, and will remain so. I don’t have the emotional attachment to corporate solutions and high public spending which many of the valued commenters here do. I was a delegate at the Lib Dem special conference which voted for the coalition with the Tories. I voted for it myself. But the fact is that the government programme bears almost no relationship to the coalition agreement we voted for. Vince Cable cares about that, and he quoted the coalition agreement in attacking Cameron today. I really don’t think Clegg cares a hoot about the agreement; it served its purpose for him many months ago; just like the things he said at the general election.