Wednesday, March 07, 2012
the bbc’s 5live featured vince cable quite heavily the other day – there was the nissan announcement, there was the mansion tax and there was the letter. mr. cable had sent a letter to david cameron and nick clegg basically saying that the government had failed to lay out a ‘compelling’ view of how britain was going to emerge from austerity. nothing new there and nothing that could be argued that is really contentious (at least to those of us who haven’t signed up to the con/dem project. this was being portrayed as vince cable taking leadership of the awkward squad. i don’t agree with that particular vision of what mr. cable was doing, i don’t have a problem with members of the government disagreeing with each. i think it shows a certain amount of strength and maturity that a government can contain within it dissenting voices (a skill that labour lost in its final years). for all organisations there should be someone, or some mechanism, that points out weaknesses or issues with policies. if you can’t dissent while in government then what good is democracy? some in the liberal democrats agree with me as they say all that mr. cable was doing was showing creative thoughts and sharing ideas. others might argue that if he really isn’t a position to moan as he is n the best place to affect the change he wants. the crucial thing was the letter was private and was never intended for public consumption (have to like a coalition that is happy to leak against itself). it is only because the letter had become public that people were discussing it. a tory bod was asked to speak about it; i believe it was tim montgomerie of conservative home fame. he made the point that the letter had previously appeared in the financial times and he couldn’t quite see what all the fuss was about. his implications being that not only were the bbc behind the curve on this, but that they were trying to cause trouble. the retort was that the full text of the letter hadn’t been published. this cut no ice with tim. the headline in the times? “cable lashes coalition.” the headline in the daily telegraph? “coalition lacks vision, says cable.” looks like tim’s non-story isn’t quite as old as he thought it was.