Tuesday, January 12, 2010

One Law for Vince, One Law for George

Yesterday, ConservativeHome reported that Nick Clegg had had "a good day". On the surface maybe. In a speech launching the Liberal Democrats’ manifesto policies, Nick Clegg told reporters he was ‘deadly serious’ about tackling the budget deficit. So far so good.

But, unsurprisingly for the LibDems, they’re not sure whether to cut or not to cut, or by how much to cut...

Nick Clegg sticks to Government deficit reduction plans. Despite Nick Clegg’s tough talk, he has sided with the Government’s position on reducing the deficit and has overruled his Treasury spokesman Vince Cable on tackling the deficit. Speaking in Parliament, Cable said:

My party takes the view that the government’s eight-year plan, with a four-year halving of the deficit, is a reasonable starting point. My judgment is that we will probably discover that it is not enough, but we have to start somewhere and it is a reasonable working assumption. (Hansard, 7 January 2010: Col. 331)

Cable warns that Government plans are ‘optimistic’...

‘The current Government’s plans for a correction of 6.4 per cent of GDP over 8 years are optimistic. They underestimate the size of the structural deficit, assuming a brisk economic growth rate of over 3 per cent per annum after 2011-12. They place too much reliance on cuts in capital spending; due to halve from 2010-11 to 2013-14 while current spending will face real cuts of only 2.3 per cent per year. And they fail to address how the tightening will be made from 2014-15 to 2018-19.’ Source.

Also, in the Guardian yesterday Vince Cable was quoted as saying....

Cable told MPs: "My party takes the view that the government's eight-year plan, with a four-year halving of the deficit, is a reasonable starting point... My judgment is that we will probably discover that it is not enough, but we have to start somewhere and it is a reasonable working assumption.

Vince Cable still revels in his hero status among political observers. But think about this. Imagine if George Osborne had said: "My party thinks this, but my judgement is different". He would be slated for it and accused of splitting his party. Why is Vince Cable not accorded the same treatment?

22 comments:

OldSlaughter said...

Because they are the Lib Dems so nobody can be bothered to really bring their policies to account.

May as well spend time analysing the Raving Loony's financial proposals.

paul said...

The media have treated Vince Cable as spokesman for 'the man on the Clapham omnibus'. He has given more sound-bites on the economy than anyone else as far as I can recall. Frankly he irritates the hell out of me with his sanctimonious opinions. A pity the media isn't more questioning about his views which have changed more than once!

Matthew Cain said...

Because one man is the prospective chancellor of the exchequer and the other is a prospective candidate for strictly come dancing.

Colin said...

"Why is Vince Cable not accorded the same treatment?"

Because no one who matters takes him seriously.

His record suggests he's more of a weather vane than anything else.

sarah said...

What does it really matter what any of the Limp Dims say? The latest polls suggest they are set to be wiped out at the next election.

The Dims don't know what they want to be - socialists or centrists. And nobody really cares.

John Moss said...

The Lib-Dem's policies are analysed with the same seriousness ours were before 01 and 05, ie very little because the media had already decided we could not win.

The Lib Dems cannot win so they get away with bunkum!

triballus said...

Simple answer to the question of why Vinnie gets away with opinions different from the party line - his party has limited chance of power and Cable represents the only tangible influence keeping the LibDems in the limelight. Clegg is gonna let him play - what choice does he have ? He will need him if coalition becomes a real possibility.

Newmania said...

The BBC do not hate him ? Did you see Andrew Marr havign a go at our Dave on Sunday it was just ridiculous

nickthornsby said...

I think you protest too much Iain. Your post relies on a slightly odd interpretation as what Vince said. I would interpret it thus:

We have to plan to cut the deficit but we don't yet know 1) what the structural deficit will be after the recession or 2) how quickly the economy will grow. Both of these things affect how we will have to cut the deficit, but the Government's plan is OK as a starting point. But given the variables involved the Govt plan may not be sufficient.

Simon said...

If the media really wanted to pay attention to the Lib Dems it would concentrate on it's unique manifesto where it is left-wing in Labour marginals and right in Tory marginals.
This is just another example of them being able to say all things to everyone while in the end saying nothing at all.
What do you think of the Bryant slip about 6 May
Iain?

Lord Lavendon said...

Iain, it is because Cable likes to be a populist, but knows in his heart that serious cuts are required to get the country back from the brink of bankruptcy.

Whilst it is always tempting to dismiss the liberals as a joke, anyone who is serious about an interest in politics will have to keep a close eye on them. This is because will the volatility in the polls; they may well end up being the 'kingmakers' in any hung parliament.

Whilst Cable can come across as condescending, that is the feature of most liberals and dare I say it , but he would be easier to deal with, in any coalition talks than Mr Clegg, who I find quite irritating as a party leader ( I bet Gladstone is looking down from heaven with wild abandon at the fate of his once great party).

And heaven help the country, when the liberal party’s contradictions are held up for all to see and they break up into what was the old fashioned liberal party and the social democratic part. So we could have a coalition within a coalition and a fractious one at that.

Hunter-Gatherer said...

He's my MP and we don't take him seriously. He's the MP fopr Shell & strictly Come Dancing

Irene said...

He just won't get off that fence will he.

strongholdbarricades said...

Maybe the fault lies with the current Lab-Con media alliance

If you actually took the Limp Dems as a serious party then they would have to up their game. Hold the spotlight on them

In some areas the Limp Dems may be the only alternative to the Labour Party and those that wish to vote anti-Tory. You have seen the many "safe" Labour seats

I can not believe that you were talking up the Limp Dems a few posts ago with your election predictions, and now you are dismissing them. Maybe that is an example of why you haven't been chosen

In the real world, as Nick Robinson has said, if the Tories get in they could pass the laws which effectively abolish the Labour Party by denying them the money from the unions (and so they should). Therefore the vacuum will probably be filled by those that you label vacuous

I say you need to prepare for the situation once Labour is defeated, much like Bliar/Bush failed to do in Iraq

Calum said...

Because our pathetic media don't understand that people can work together without a total concordance of opinions? In the current climate, I distrust any party that claims to have a unity of agreement on the economy.

OldSlaughter said...

A consensus has been formed on here it seems!

Beowulf said...

It helps if you don't wilfully misinterpret a very simple statement. You're choosing to read the two sentences as opposed to each other when they're clearly complementary. He represents his party, so saying 'my party' is the same as saying 'my judgement', not the opposite.

In sum, Cable is saying is that the government's position is a reasonable starting point, but he is skeptical as to whether their economic projections are accurate.

Jabba the Cat said...

They are known as LibDim's for a very good reason...

Jimmy said...

"Because no one who matters takes him seriously."

But there are people who take Gideon Wallpaper seriously? Who? As far as I can tell even the most partisan tory gave up on that empty suit months ago.

Nick said...

Halve the deficit in 4 years?

What's that?

About 1800 billion of Gilt debts?

Just who is going to loan the government that cash?

Add on top 200 billion of QE

ie The politicians must think we're idiots. They think deficit = debt

Colin said...

Jimmy@

I was writing about the Cable guy, not George.

Vince is a weather vane type character. They person we should all have been paying attention to in relation to fiscal matters is John Redwood. Sadly, the mainstream media has decided that he's a weirdo and anything he says or writes, should be discounted or ignored.

I place vince in the same category as a whole host of lucky political chancers of our time.

Unlike in Richmond, the tories have put up a decent candidate in Twickenham. I hope she gives Vince a run for his money.

Jimmy said...

@Colin

I hate to be pedantic, but you were saying that being taken seriously was what distinguished Osborne from Cable.