Daily Mirror: ‘Time for Plan V’ (aka ‘Vince for Chancellor’)

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.

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8 Comments

  • Sadly, this will not be an option as the largest partner will always warrant control of the most important Cabinet post. Perhaps a more realistic option would be Ken Clarke ?

    He has the experience, is not on the hang ‘em flog ‘em wing of the Tories and may be seen as a safe pair of hands.

    Of course our current PM will not sanction a move based upon the needs of the Country and his pal George will keep plodding on…

  • Tony Dawson 26th Jul '12 - 9:41am

    So there’s Dave C, tucking into his 6 am bowl of Shreddies and he turns to Samantha, saying:

    “Cripes, Sam, there was I wondering what to do about the country and here it is staring me in the face from the Daily Mirror. Why on earth didn’t I think of that myself, all along? You would have thought Nick would have suggested it, wouldn’t you? ” :-)

  • The economy will get a lot worse before we have a “night of the long silver spoons”.

    Cameron is world class at fiddling while Rome burns – we saw it last summer with the riots.

  • James Hardy 26th Jul '12 - 1:07pm

    If that were to happen, we’d be annihilated at the election. I don’t care how good Vince Cable is, no way he could get Britain back in the black in two an a half years, and then both Labour and the Tories would both blame the Lib-Dems for the economic problems. It would be the ultimate poisoned chalice

  • Richard Dean 26th Jul '12 - 1:22pm

    I agree with James Hardy. Vince was confident and happy to accept compliments last night – because he knows he’ll never be tested.

  • I agree with the comments from James Hardy and Richard Dean. It’s great to be getting so much exposure for Vince , and all the compliments about how he is the answer to the current lack of competence. Thankfully this won’t happen as it would be a poisened chalice. But this way, we can distance ourselves from the Tories at the election, by saying how much better it would have been if only we’d had Vince Cable as Chancellor.

  • Couldn’t agree less with the last two comments which would apply to Cable were he to take over the leadership rather than the Exchequer. He’s also well on the way to re-establishing his reputation (badly damaged after tuition fees) as one of the Government’s very few competent ministers.
    As the YouGov Poll shows, a large majority of the public simply do not like George Osborne. In my opinion he is far more dangerous to the LibDems as Conservative Party strategist so in purely political terms he should be allowed to stay with his ‘Plan A’ so Vince can continue to hint at ‘Plan A+’ . Cameron and Osborne are joined at the hip so the PM’s future could be vulnerable if his friend’s 2010 spending review were to be seen by a majority of the apparently ever enduring 30% of Tory hardcore voters as a catastrophic error of judgement.
    Judging by this Poll, that could happen within the coming year: just around the time Brooks and Coulson take the spotlight and shine it on Downing Steet.

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