Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Archive for December 6th, 2008

If in Doubt, Ask Vince!

Posted by jonathanfryer on Saturday, 6th December, 2008

jf-vc-jb-21   The Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesman, Vince Cable, has become such a widely-acknowledged economic guru that political pundits and Jeremy Paxman cite him on ‘Newsnight’ even when he is not appearing. He predicted the current financial crisis years ago and has usually been ahead of the game in outlining what would happen next. But as the ballroom-dancing MP for Twickenham told the Annual Auction and Supper of Ealing LibDems tonight, ‘People don’t thank you for being a clever dick!’

Gordon Brown may currently be enjoying something of an opinion poll bounce (largely because the Conservative front bench is so clearly inexperienced and clueless on the economy), but Vince believes that things are going to get much worse before they get better, and that the Labour government is going to find people turning away. Dr Cable gave this evening’s gathering a three-item prescription:

1) for months, Vince has called for drastic cuts in interest rates; at first cuts were done piecemeal. But they need to continue.

2) though the Government recognised that the banking sysem had to be saved from complete collapse, it is giving contradictory advice. ‘The Government may have to take the banks over comprehensively,’ Vince says.

3) the Government needs to invest, because nobody else will.’ That means public investment in social housing, public transport and insulating elderly people’s homes, for example.

People in Britain desperately need leadership and reassurance, Vince argued. And he drew encouragement from a recent Populus survey which showed that the Liberal Democrats came out top of the three main politicasl parties with regard to two questions: (1) which party is the most honest and has the highest standards of inegrity, and (2) which party best identifies with the concerns of ordinary people?

‘If we can turn these perceptions into political strength, we can emerge with a much more positive outcome from the revoltionary situation the country is in,’ Vince declared. ‘This is the economic equivalent of wartime.’ Well, I think most people are agreed who they would prefer to see in charge of the nation’s (economic) heavy artillery at the moment, if they had the choice.

(Photo courtesy David Zerdin: Jonathan Fryer, Vince Cable, Jon Ball)

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