Coffee House

Vince Cable tells Philip Hammond, cut Trident not welfare

3 March 2013

On The Sunday Politics today, Vince Cable told Andrew Neil that he disliked ring fencing particular departments. But he accepted that the NHS and DFID budgets would remain protected for the rest of this parliament

Cable, who joked that he was being fingered as a shop steward of the National Union of Ministers, made clear that he opposed any further welfare cuts. When asked about Philip Hammond’s comments that welfare should be cut not defence, Cable responded by saying that the Ministry of Defence should scrap Trident.


Interestingly, Cable conceded that capital spending was still too low and that he would push for further increases in it in the Budget. He indicated that George Osborne was sympathetic to this point of view. He also admitted that Britain’s manufacturing record was pretty terrible.

On his own ambition’s, Cable said that his working assumption was that Clegg would lead the Liberal Democrats into the next election. But he wouldn’t absolutely rule out himself becoming leader because Clegg might fall under a bus or something like that.

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  • Cable Coating

    FS21 Firestop Coated Panels are manufactured by spraying high-density rock fibreboard with a fire rated ablative coating. The coated panels are simply cut and friction fitted between the services and the edges of the structure. Plastic pipework needs to be sealed with FS23 High Expansion Intumescent Sealant or sleeved with Insulated Fire Sleeves prior to installation of the coated panel system.

  • Tony Quintus

    The Tories should tell the Lib Dems to go spin, unless they come back with the votes to pass boundry reform they should get no recognition or considerations, if that means they vote down the budget and force a general election so be it.

  • andagain

    Trident was bought to protect us from the Soviet Union. It does not exist any more.

    You will notice that whenever someone pops up to demand a Trident replacement, it is never a soldier, sailor, diplomat, or member of the Institute of Strategic Studies.

  • Ian Walker

    Hey Vince, stop helping out Indian companies to steal our home-grown IT businesses, and maybe we could get the economy growing so you’d have plenty of cash to waste on your socialist projects?

  • fubar_saunders

    There IS a case for getting rid of Trident and its successor, but its not purely on cost, its on whether there is a need for a Continuous At Sea strategic deterrent, given that a) the current and immediate future force balance is completely out of kilter and not in any kind of joined up way, b) what the role is seen to be for both the UK Defence wise and foreign policy wise, whether we should still be pursuing Blair/Cameron’s interventionist policy, or whether we should just concentrate on Defence of the homeland and c) the kind of circumstances in which it would ever be used then finally d) affordability.

    Against that kind of backdrop, there has to be a stronger case made for keeping CASD, rather than “because we’ve always had it”; if you are to have it, you have to protect it properly, you have to make sure that it fits the whole strategic purpose. We do not have that at the moment. We have a series of different capital projects that have been more about sustaining jobs than defence capability – Eurofighter, T45, Astute, the Carriers – there is no joined up thinking being applied here, no real structure, caught in a sort of post-Cold war halfway house.

    Vince’s case for getting rid of Trident is not based on any strategic military understanding. He doesnt have any. Its based purely on the fact that he is an old red and that he simply wants shot of it to appease his own weirdy-beardy element and that it continues satiate his own hatred of everything that Britain used to stand for, the same as the left has always been and to buy votes by benefit dependence.

    Anyone who thinks that such a decision can be seriously made without absolutely and totally fulfilling steps 1-4 above and then placing that stance in front of the public at a general election, does not have the intellect that is necessary to make decisions on behalf of the population and is absolutely unfit to hold high public office.

    End of.

  • Anthony Makara

    Manufacturing is indeed terrible, in spite of devaluation and the attempt to open up more markets in India. Which indicates that the problem’s that manufacturing faces are less governed by the need to export and more by its inability to supply the UK internal market, a market that it should dominate and have access to by right of being British business. Our shops are brimming over with shoddy Made-in-China items yet Cable and others have done nothing to see that quality goods, Made-in-Britain, replace these second-rate imported wares. Export markets will not be enough to revive manufacturing. We need a Home-Market policy that makes it profitable for UK manufacturers to supply the domestic market. Stores stocking mostly UK produced goods should get big tax breaks. We need to reconquer our own market.

    • Tom Tom

      You do post some good comments ! Markets in India, I think JCB has a factory there to deal with that market, and JLR will move production of Land Rover Defenders there as its diesel engine fails to meet new EU emission controls. I think India is happy to have factories and Tata Steel had a boost from UK aid to build up its steel works to replace those in Redcar. Made In China rubbish – I agree – whether mugs where handles fall off or radios that might work and cannot be repaired, or even fire-risk appliances from Beko in Turkey – all could be made better in the UK if this bizarre government actually had a grasp of detail

      • Makroon

        Oh blimey, the Brave New World strikes again.
        British industry churning out radios and fridges (at triple the cost), and all organised by those well-known geniuses, the politicians and bureaucrats.
        Luvverly-jubberly Tom Tom.
        I award you the WM (worthy of Maris).

        • Anthony Makara

          Triple the cost means better wages and no need for the taxpayer to prop up bad wages through in-work benefits. Remember the Chinese goods you see on sale are only cheap because of currency manipulation and sweatshop labour used by Beijing. UK goods would be more expensive, yes, but will allow for better wages to be paid. As TomTom says above Chinese goods are generally trash £50 radios consisting of three transistors and a big flashy plastic outer case. So in effect not much better than a 1970s pocket radio. UK produced goods would be an opportunity to bring quality workmanship back.

  • Austin Barry

    An apposite, if vaguely Chaucerian, definition from Dictionary net, with my apologies for distressing any Sunday lunchers of a sensitive disposition:

    “A cable is a slang way of referring to a very long, large piece of human faeces, or stool that comes out in one fell swoop …”

    Yes, sireee.

    • telemachus

      The chain of a ships anchor
      Or verb
      To provide power

  • James Strong

    ‘On his own ambition’s…’
    Please correct this as soon as possible.
    The apostrophe is for possessives and contractions, not plurals.
    I know you know that, and it’s just a mistake, but please put it right. The flying apostrophe really annoy’s me.

    • Chris Morriss

      Shouldn’t you have put a ‘sic’ at the end, to make certain readers realise that the intrusive apostrophe of your own was intentional?

  • @PhilKean1

    The curse of the Socialist politician.

    Leave the British people unprotected against nuclear-armed rogue states and terrorists, purely to perpetuate a welfare culture that is destroying our country.

    • MichtyMe

      What threat would require unilateral action by this country that requires a system using missiles with multiple, individually guided warheads, delivered from the deep ocean that could not be done by some other means, such as nuclear cruise missiles. Trident was a means to penetrate and destroy the Soviet Union, it’s gone.

      • Tom Tom

        Go on tell us, you seem to be an expert on Cruise Missiles and no doubt you have a GPS satellite system to guide them. MIRVs are the logical counterpart to an ABM shield. Why don;t you address you comments to Putin who is modernising the entire Russian nuclear arsenal because of the threat posed by Britain-France-USA by interference in Syria and Libya….which is why he has SAM batteries on the Turkish frontier and a fleet off the Syrian coast. When will you complain about British intereference in Syria, Bosnia, Kosovo, Libya ? This is provocative to Russia and China

      • Tom Tom

        “What threat would require unilateral action by this country”….go on Omniscient One, do tell us what threat ? You who can see into the future …..or are you like Winston Churchill the creator of the Ten Year Rule……every year from 1925 he declared there would be NO WAR in the next decade…he cut Defence dramatically 1925-29 but thankfully Neville Chamberlain knew Churchill was a fraud and started funding rearmament afrer 1935 so we actually had monoplanes and ships and factories to fight a war when Churchill’s stupidity came home to roost

      • @PhilKean1

        There will come a day, maybe within ten years, when a UK Prime Minister will receive credible intelligence that a rogue state is about to supply terrorists with a nuclear device for an attack against London.

        I need not tell you that even a crude, deliberately dirty weapon, exploded high, say in a van on top of a multi-story car park, would inflict death and destruction not seen in London since WW2, and bring the entire UK economy to its knees.

        A UK PM MUST have the potential to threaten nuclear retaliation to prevent that dreadful situation happening.

        However, credibility is the problem with the scenario that I have described. NOT the credibility of having an adequate nuclear deterrent, but the LACK of credibility in trusting that our weak, clueless, cowardly and inexperienced political leaders would have the courage and the foresight to threaten to use our deterrent, and USE them if a pre-emptive strike was needed in order to save the British people from a terrible fate.

      • Tony Quintus

        There are no Nuclear cruise missiles left in existence, which would mean to use them we would have to design our own, not to mention having to tell everyone in the world when we’re about to launch a conventional missile just so they don’t nuke us by mistake. Also cruise missiles are slow, relatively easy to shoot down (by a half decent air defence system) and cannot reach everywhere on the planet, and as such do not provide a complete deterrent.
        Just saying “Use something else” doesn’t make it a workable prospect, nor would it save any money.

    • Patricia

      Very well put.

    • Abbey Lane

      Don’t you think both might be ‘destroying’ our country, along with the EU contributions and unlimited foreign aid?

  • Tom Tom

    Cable is eligible for State Pension and Winter Fuel Allowance and Bus Pass and Free Prescriptions. He is a Privy Councillor charged with defence of the nation. He is signally incapable of taking responsibility and may simply be addled or superannuated

    • telemachus

      He is probably one of the few ministers confident enough to appreciate and articulate the problems visited by the coalition on the disabled and poor

  • Smithersjones2013

    Cut Cable not the Military!

    • telemachus

      Let us look at the costs of renewing Trident. It will cost £25 billion just
      to build replacement submarines. The new warheads will be £2.6 billion
      each.Running it will cost at least £2 billion every year. A conservative
      estimate is for costs to run to £100 billion.

      The planned £18 Billion cuts in welfare benefits, are targeted at the
      poorest and most vulnerable. The biggest losers are people with

      The IDS claims that these cuts are justified by the increase in the number
      of people wrongly claiming disability benefits is contradicted by research
      published in 2011 by Richard Berthoud of the Institute for Economic and Social

      The cuts in housing benefit will also have a huge impact on the
      disadvanaged. Shelter’s chief executive Campbell Robb has said they will have
      problems to find the extra money they will need to keep a roof over their head
      leading to social cleansing of the poor from the south east.

      So let us prevent these calumnies by stopping trident

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