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.