The saddest politician in England

7 May 2011

Nick Clegg’s time as the country’s darling was always likely to be fleeting. But poor
Vince Cable was consistently feted as the man who got it right on the economy. But he has looked miserable from the moment he entered government. Why is this?

I can’t be the only politico to have heard Vince say before 2010 that he would never enter government with the Tories. Oddly enough, he was far more polite about them than he has been on the radio this morning. The whole point about two-party politics is that it is tribal and ruthless,
although anyone who has crossed sword with the Lib Dems at a local level will know that they have their own version of brutality reserved for their enemies.

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The point is that there are certain senior Liberal Democrats who should never have accepted government posts and Vince Cable is one of them.

The Lib Dems have no one but themselves to blame for this week’s results. They should take the opportunity this weekend to have a long look at themselves.

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Show comments
  • rndtechnologies786

    Nice thought.

  • Patricia Shaw

    Michael – sorry, BBC’s pink pundits?

    Do define.

    You’ll be referring to Michael Portillo (conservative defence), Andrew Neal (Spectator Publisher), Nick Robinson (formerly head of conservative students), Melanie Phillips? ?!? then?

  • Patricia Shaw

    And I suspect that you “Where’s the right wing slant of the Telegraph?!” Rhoda, are just being silly for the sake of it.

  • Rhoda Klapp

    Where’s the conservative promise not to touch the NHS. Where’s the right-wing editirial stance of the telegraph, or any espousal of right-wing policies? Where’s the criminal charge against the telegraph, if it was unlawful? Vince is a liar and a cheat.

  • michael

    Vince is more of a sage than a politician.
    -he doesn’t do power. He ought to be another one of the Beeb’s pink pundits.

  • Patricia Shaw

    The Telegraph is Ultra Right disguised as Light Right, Rhoda.

    Its editors set up Vince – unlawfully and unethically – to character assassinate Libdem moderation of the Ultra Right agenda.

    Vince expressed a TRUE opinion in a DISHONEST set up which was beyond acceptable behaviour, (PCC), using dishonest tactics to uncover honesty.

    From one of the only honest politicians around.

    Honesty is a characteristic unacceptable to a political class that largely regards it as a failing.

    For lies see the Conservatives who promised not to touch the NHS.

  • Reed

    I agree – they have only themseleves to blame for the results last week – and I have little sympathy. At the time of last year’s general election, when the Libdem bidding was going on between Labour & Conservatives, Nick Clegg announced before the gathered media that it would be the party with the most seats that would call the shots. This was the first Libdem broken promise, as it was they that decided whether we had a left or right of centre coalition government. The party that came last(and lost seats) called the shots.
    I do, however, have some respect for the few Libdems in cabinet that have exchanged idealism for realism and appear to be quietly getting on with the job (Danny Alexander). The rest just seem to wish for the cosy warmth of opposition, never having to make the tough decisions of government or be at the receiving end of the anger that often results from this.
    And what of so many of their supporters/activists? They belong to a party that is all about PR/coalition – governments of compromise and co-operation. One year in, and they run away in disgust at having to deal with a party of which they dissaprove. The current government set-up we have is their ONLY way into power. Time to grown up or be deemed not fit for purpose.

    and Particia Shaw….
    ‘There’s no IF about it. Cameron DID lose an election’
    NO – He failed to win an outright majority – not the same as losing. The reason Gordan Brown is no longer PM.

  • Rhoda Klapp

    Patricia, have you never noticed me criticising the Spectator’s journos? I expect they are pretty tired of it. I don’t expect good behaviour from jounros. As for the Telegraph, what has that to do with me, I don’t approve of the centrist rag. However, when they set up a fathead like Vince and show how he says one thing in public and another in private, and how he was about to stymie Murdoch because of his own dislike rather than do his proper ministerial job, thet showed him to be a liar and a cheat, and for that I commend them and their underhand methods.

    Vince is a liar and a cheat. They pretty much all are. But Vince takes it a step further by being a vain self-regarding idiot too.

  • Patricia Shaw

    Rhoda, your Speccie/Telegraph pals were the ones who jumped him, go ask them about their PCC derided principles.

  • Rhoda Klapp

    “Libdems gave a hint of principal, “

    Like you they can’t even spell it.

    If Vince is so highly principled, why was he caught giving opinions in private which contradicted his public utterances? Why did he complain about it to the PCC?

  • dave, surrey

    But poor Vince Cable was consistently feted as the man who got it right on the economy…

    wasn’t VC all for joining the euro.. such vision.

  • Patricia Shaw

    Fergus, my sympathies, yes, it must be like a normal person trying to argue about the rights of Palestinians with a Jewish Settler.

    There’s no IF about it. Cameron DID lose an election, because his line up was a confused patchwork of blow hard Thatcherites and Latter Day ideologues and Nutters.

    The Controlls tried to put a populist face on a loony fringe party, and it DIDN’T WORK, because you can’t con the majority of the people all of the time.

    You re so deeply up yourself, like the Henley Sage Rhoda Clapp, that the real world floats between your ears unobserved.

    Libdems gave a hint of principal, of promise, of change. If they had not, their fall from grace of late would not be half as marked as it is the minute that promise became corrupted by its contact with the conservatives.

  • Fergus Pickering

    Patricia Shaw, I suppose it’s no use arguing with the likes of you. If Cameron lost an election handed him on a plate what strategy ought he have followed? Should he have been more left wing? More right wing? You haven’t the faintest idea, have you? And if Vince has high principles what exactly ARE they? Isn’t he a vain, silly old man? He isn’t? Whathhave I missed?

  • Patricia Shaw

    The delusional extremists relieving themselves here need to remember that the the right wing LOST an election that was handed them on a plate.

    That without the likes of Vince and Clegg, nutters like Gove and Useful Idiots like the Health Alert would still be spitting from the sidelines.

  • Patricia Shaw

    Ollie, Comments like yours belong on the coffeehouse wall, the home of human waste.

    If you want to argue here, do it, with facts, not smears.

  • Ian Walker

    That’s correct, he sticks valiantly without fear or favour to the principle of “Vince’s face and voice should be seen and heard as much as possible”

  • ollie

    “Vince is the most principled politician in Britain today.”

    April 1st was some time ago, y’know.

  • Patricia Shaw

    Vince is the most principled politician in Britain today.

  • Rhoda Klapp

    Martin, here’s a plan. Let’s have lunch. As a constituent of Henley I haven’t met a left-wing persom for many years, perhaps that’s why I don’t relate to the whole thing.

    After lunch the survivor(s) will write up their version of what happened, for the amusement of coffee housers who could compare the two stories.

    Did you notice I kept out of the republican thread? Took some effort.

  • Hackney Jon

    Vince Cable needs to stop looking like a tormented hyena and resign. He will feel much better for it.

    There is a growing feeling in some quarters that Dave should contrive to get rid of his tottering coalition partners and cut and run (perhaps this autumn) to gain a working majority. I do not think this will happen. The Labour vote will be higher than it was in 2010 and is likely to result in another hung parliament, as the Tories would be unlikely to gain much more than 36 or 37% of the vote. We would then probably have a Lab/LibDem Coalition. Much better for Dave to wait until the economy is growing strongly and the constituency review has eliminated the pro-Labour bias. He is going to have to hang on to his motley little crew of allies for a while yet I think.

  • wrinkled weasel

    If this morning’s story about Huhne is anything to go by, there will be one about Mr Cable sometime soon.

    It will go something like this:

    “Lib Dem Minister asked female colleague for samples of nasal hair and stored it in a tub of I Can’t Believe it’s not Butter.”

    Jest? They’ve all got one like that tucked away in the editor’s safe.

  • Judy

    If the Tories are as ruthless as Saint Vince claims, how comes they didn’t manage to secure themselves an election victory in 2010, but had to get into coalition with people like him?

    It also speaks volumes about what the great populist Vince really thinks about the electorate since the implication is that the resounding NO to AV is the product of Tory machinations rather than their own intelligent judgement about the adoption of an electoral system that would have given the LibDems 32 more seats in the HoC than they have now.

  • Richard Calhoun

    Spot on!!

    But will they learn the lesson, I doubt it.

    Vince Cable and Chris Huhne should go but there is no one strong enough in the libdems to sack them.

    Hence the libdems will only have themselves to blame when they implode at the next election

  • Fiona

    No wonder Lib Dems believe they are not like other politicians. Until now they’ve been in the enviable position of getting away with defining themselves by what they don’t stand for, rather than what they do. Some of them have been lucky enough to carve out long careers doing just that, and it got to the stage where they actually believed that people were voting for them, rather than against others.

    It seems to have been a bit of a shock for them to realise how many people vote nationally at local level. They’ve always enjoyed the benefit of this in the past, so it’s a little odd they never noticed this before.

    Anyway, now they’ve been well and truly rumbled – and I think that’s why we saw such a resounding no vote in the AV referendum.

    Why vote for AV, when the third party just isn’t worth voting for?

  • Austin Barry

    Vince Cable, befuddled and keening, his Bean-quip fame long faded, is finished. Cameron will soon take him out without compunction or remorse. And nobody will care.

  • Martin Bright

    Rhoda, you are a gem. It’s like having my own personal right-wing guardian angel hovering over my shoulder

  • Andrew Fletcher

    If Scotland opts for independence and Labour are out of power at Westminster the Tories could split in 2 (pro vs anti Europe or libertarian vs reactionary??) Labour could split as well (old vs new) and then we could see some really interesting alignments.

  • LoonieToon

    Like most LibDems, he is sad and way, way off the mark. Who was it who said that the greatest threat to the break up of the United Kingdom were English nationalists? Is it time to call time on career politicians? They don’t ‘get it’.

  • Nicholas

    Cut them some slack. LibDems are a breakaway party and away from the Labour mother ship (their natural home if only they would admit it to themselves) their shore parties tend to be scared and confused, causing them to lash out at all and sundry.

    We are witnessing great events here. Devolution has popped the genie from the bottle and devolution was Labour’s brainchild. How ironic that it might lead to their complete destruction as a viable party of government in England together with their LibDem pilot fish.

  • Paul Nicholls

    Yeah, they’re not all called Boris!

  • Rhoda Klapp

    Are there two Martin Brights? This post makes sense.

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