The front page of this morning’s Mirror newspaper may bring a smile to the face even of that most sober of politicians, Vince Cable:
The reality is of course that there’s next-to-no chance that David Cameron will reshuffle his long-standing political friend from the Treasury — and, even if he did, the Tory party would demand he be replaced with one of their own (eg, William Hague or Phillip Hammond).
A YouGov poll showed this week that Vince would be the most popular choice as Chancellor if George Osborne were to be moved, though more so among Lib Dem (39%) and Labour (32%) voters than Tory voters (13% — Hague was their preferred alternative).
If this were a rational world, there’s no doubt Vince would be a shoo-in for the Chancellorship. As the Independent’s Matthew Norman pointedly asked earlier this month, ‘How often does Vince Cable have to be right before they make him Chancellor?’
But this isn’t a rational world. In fact, the scenario in which Vince becomes Lib Dem leader is far more plausible (as Steve Richards observed this week) — even though it’s the job to which he’s far less suited, with his tendency to wrong-foot colleagues with surprise announcements (mansion tax, tuition fees).
* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.