Today’s Financial Times reports an interview with Vince Cable in which the Lib Dem business secretary declines to exclude the possibility he might one day become party leader:
Mr Cable stressed that the Lib Dem leadership was not on his radar screen, nor remotely up for grabs, insisting that Nick Clegg was “doing a good job and is standing up to the pressures”. But in an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Cable was careful not to close down the prospect of a leadership bid when a vacancy arose. “I don’t exclude it – who knows what might happen in the future,” he said. …
“The worship of youth has diminished – perhaps generally – in recent years,” he said: a comment that might be deemed by some as a criticism of the generation of forty-somethings at the top of the government. Mr Cable added that this reappraisal might be because “there is a certain respect for people who have had some insight into what’s going on”.
Vince also notes his popularity among Lib Dem members as recorded in our regular LibDemVoice surveys:
He enjoys what he jokingly describes as “North Korean levels of support” in the party – a reference to an 80 per cent approval rating in a recent survey.
“They’ve always been my opponents and I have seen them in that light,” he says. Mr Cable attempted to forge a Lib-Lab deal with Gordon Brown after the inconclusive 2010 election and he happily describes himself as “a social democrat”. While he admires David Cameron’s leadership style, he says he is unsure whether the prime minister is a traditionalist or a modernising one nation Tory. “He speaks for the latter but I don’t know whether he is – deep down.”
As for suggestions that he’s anti-business — well, they get short shrift:
“I think where it may come from actually is people in the City and the banks because I don’t pull any punches where they’re concerned. There is an anti-business culture in the banking system. … When I made my statement on executive remuneration and responsible capitalism, I had some of those [macho-right] backbenchers jumping saying this is socialism or Marxism, they just completely don’t get it.”