LibLink: Vince Cable warns that people underestimate our economic problems

The Guardian has an in-depth profile of Vince Cable:

“I think it is not understood that the British economy has declined by 6 or 7% – it is now 10% below trend.” The three deep grooves at the corners of his eyes give a sense of an incipient smile belied by the rest of his face. “We are actually a poorer country, mainly because of the banking crash, the recession that followed it, and partly due to the squeeze we are under due to the changing balance of the world economy. Britain is no longer one of the world’s price setters. It is painful. It is a challenge to us in government to explain all that, and it is a pity that the political class is not preparing the public for it to understand how massive the problem is.”

He lays a lot of that blame with Labour’s two Eds, whom he sees as regressing to comforting – but entirely unhelpful – tribal politics. “They are in a state of denial that there is a big structural problem with the UK economy. So we stick to this short term, tit for tat; why has the growth in this quarter been slower, the scale of the cuts should be slower – there is a genuine debate we should be having about how radical the reforms of the financial sector should be – but there is not from the progressive wing of politics a sustained critique or pressure and argument. Ultimately, it comes back to this defensiveness and an unwillingness to accept that Britain was operating a model that failed.” It is a strikingly frank assessment – a reversion, up to a point, to his role before the election.

You can read the full piece here and you might also like to take a look at my post from Friday which got lost in our server problems: So, why do you like Vince Cable?

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  • I am sure Vince , a long with a lot of us , realised this was coming a long time ago.

    Governments have been kidding themselves from Thatcher onward that we could live on what trickles out of the ‘financial services industry’ – rather than real industry.

    Best summed up by Dan Atkinson in his book ‘Fantasy Island’ , a few years old now but absolutely correct.

  • andrew purches 23rd May '11 - 9:53pm

    You are most certainly right,Vince, that we are not one of the world’s price setters, but nor have we been for decades now. How can we be with no built in structure to generate wealth? We have no manufacturing to rival our european competitors, our education system is pathetically poor, right up to and including University level, where money buys what is left of the the best. Our infrastructure is being fraudulently robbed by the PFI syndicates and the bankers.
    Property is vastly overpriced,and home ownership is being denied to more and more of our citizens,who are forced to pay ever more exorbitant rents for less and less, in properties that are bought by tax payer supported buy to let speculators. Our economy is rotten and our society is dominated by the over paid,under taxed celebs and city shysters. These buggers must be made to pay for the privilege of living in this country – and instead of cuts being forced upon the majority of those who can ill afford it, start with property taxes, and increase council tax in line with market values. This would go some way to sugar the cuts that local councils are having to make, and if your colleague Eric Pickles objects still, then get him kicked into touch with a boot to his ever more voluminous behind.
    Diatribe over, but please Vince be creative in your vision – we need hope! Andrew.

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