Tag Archives: vince cable

Social Liberal Forum Conference – a belated report of an enriching day

Social Liberal Forum conference Jul 19 2014 closing panel Photo by Paul WalterThis time last week, I had just arrived at a very crowded Euston Station in London for the Social Liberal Forum’s Annual Conference. It was more than worth the 800 mile round trip, even if  I’ve been ill ever since.

Our own Mary Reid had a major hand in the organisation of the event, which was attended by over 200 people. She did a fantastic job. Everything ran smoothly and the food and drink on offer all day was …

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SLF Conference 2014 – Governing as Liberal Democrats

Social Liberal ForumThe Social Liberal Forum have organised their next conference to take place in London on this Saturday  19th July. You can register via the website. We have an excellent line up of speakers and all Liberal Democrats of various shades of opinion are very welcome to attend, and for that matter anyone outside the party who is interested in the Liberal Democrats.

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Dear Daily Telegraph, Enough already. It’s actually okay for MPs to claim 11p for a ruler.

The_Daily_TelegraphSo the Telegraph is back to its old tricks on expenses. Five years ago, the paper uncovered some serious abuses by MPs at the taxpayers’ expense – along the way, the paper was also (as I wrote at the time) “guilty of flaky fact-checking, unfair distortions and disgraceful smears”.

Yesterday the paper attempted, rather desperately, to re-live past glories by running the story, ‘MPs’ expenses: Ken Clarke bills taxpayer for 11p ruler’. It wasn’t just Ken who attracted the Telegraph’s ire though: ‘Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, was found to …

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Cable backs right to strike and opposes strikes

Vince Cable speaking to mediaQuoted in the Independent

We believe that getting round the negotiating table is better than striking.

We do not believe unions should be striking and causing mass disruption when everyone has been affected by similar pay conditions.

This reflects the fact that a better deal for one group of public sector workers would be paid for out of taxes on other workers, that the strikes if successful would not win a better deal for working people in general, rather for some at the expense of others. There is …

photo by: bisgovuk
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5 things Nick Clegg could do next

Nick Clegg Q&A 8My last piece of advice to Nick Clegg was to stand down as Lib Dem leader. He didn’t, and it’s pretty clear now that Nick will lead us into the next general election.

Two problems remain, though, and we need to find ways of addressing them. First, morale in the party has dipped since the May elections. Secondly, support for the party has also dipped in the polls. Yes, Lib Dem MPs benefit from the incumbency effect but that only stretches so far – we also need to start winning the air war, or at the very least avoid being ignored. As it stands, what Nick says just isn’t getting a listening. However unfair, it’s a reality we need to deal with.

Here are five suggestions from me for ways in which Nick Clegg could help restore party morale and maybe get himself a hearing from the media and public…

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Vince Cable scraps exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts

Vince Cable, Business Secretary at the launch of the joint government and UK automotive industry's automotive strategyVince Cable has introduced a Bill which will ban zero hours contracts that prevent people from looking for other work. These “exclusivity” contracts are particularly unjust. It’s one thing to not offer work in a particular week. It’s quite another to prevent an employee doing another job to supplement their income.

He spoke about this and other things that he had done to encourage fairness in the workplace in this video including increasing the Minimum Wage, enforcing it and curbing high executive pay, which is also available

photo by: bisgovuk
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The Orange Book, 10 years on: 5 thoughts on its legacy

Orange_BookToday saw what its co-editor Paul Marshall called the belated launch party for The Orange Book – such was the controversy surrounding its publication 10 years ago that the original event was cancelled. I was only able to attend one of the sessions (on public service reform) so here are five more general observations on its legacy…

1) The Orange Book remains much misunderstood, sometimes deliberately by those who enjoy internal warring, more often by those who’ve not read it (whisper it, some sections are pretty turgid) but know its reputation and assume it’s a right-wing, Thatcherite manual for destroying this country’s social contract. As Paul Marshall re-affirmed today, the aim of The Orange Book was to show how socially liberal aims could best be achieved through economically liberal means, recognising that in the real world both markets and governments fail. Two of its leading contributors are currently the most popular Lib Dem ministers in government: Vince Cable and Steve Webb. That said, it was (for both Marshall and David Laws at any rate) also a very deliberate statement of intent in 2004 that the Lib Dems needed to do more than simply out-Labour Labour by proposing new money and extra staff in every area of public service and argue that was liberalism (which is largely what the party’s 2005 manifesto did).

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Lord Storey on Nick Clegg: Not popular, nice guy, principled. What do the headlines report? “Toxic”

Lord Storey photo by Keith EdkinsWhen I first heard that Nick Clegg  had been described by former Liverpool City Council leader Mike Storey as “toxic”, I expected to see some sort of angry denunciation. Actually, Mike Storey’s comments were much more considered and balanced. What he said was what every single Liberal Democrat knows, that if you speak to lots of voters, you know that Nick Clegg is not a popular person. He said “some might use the word toxic.” He then went on to add that he found that very …

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Opinion: Liberal Democrats’ principled decision gives civil servants continued workplace protection they need

PCS picketOne of the announcements at Nick Clegg’s press conference on Monday was his categorical rejection of Tory ministers’ attempts to abolish check-off across government.

What’s check-off? This isn’t a Michael Gove attempt to ban a celebrated Russian playwright, it’s a mundane administrative convenience which allows members of trade unions to pay their union subscription by getting their employer to deduct it from their wage packet and send it on for them.

Union members like check-off because it’s the easiest way to keep their subs up to date. Trade unions like it because …

photo by: secretlondon123
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The Chinese are coming!

Vince in ChongqingChinese Premier Li Keqiang left on Monday this week on a 5 day visit to Britain and Greece.  With him, according to the press, is a 200 strong business delegation, expected to sign up some £18 billion worth of deals.

Just over 2 weeks ago, I was part of Business Secretary Dr Vince Cable’s business delegation to China, taking in 5 cities in 6 days.  Vince was scheduled to be in Beijing to attend UK-China Joint Economic & Trade Committee (JETC) talks with his opposite number, Mr Gao HuCheng, the Minister of Commerce.

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++Breaking: Lord Oakeshott resigns from the Liberal Democrats

Matthew Oakeshott speaking at Lib Dem conference, Brighton 2007

The Guardian reports that Lord Oakeshott has dramatically resigned from the Liberal Democrats. Here is his resignation statement:

I am today taking leave of absence from the House of Lords and resigning as a member of the Liberal Democrats. I am sure the Party is heading for disaster if it keeps Nick Clegg; and I must not get in the way of the many brave Liberal Democrats fighting for change.

I leave, with a heavy heart, the party I helped to found with such high hopes

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Cable: “Lord Oakeshott’s actions are totally inexcusable”

Vince Cable - Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsBusiness secretary Vince Cable has released the following statement in the last few moments:

Lord Oakeshott’s actions are totally inexcusable and unacceptable. I have made it very clear repeatedly that he does not speak or act for me.

Commissioning and publishing polls without the consent of the Member of Parliament, as in the case of Sheffield Hallam, is utterly reprehensible.

There are undoubtedly raw feelings in the wake of poor local and European election results. We need to respond in a measured way. Public speculation about the leadership is an unwelcome distraction and as I made absolutely clear yesterday there is no leadership issue as far as I’m concerned.

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Research on impact of change of leader on four key seats

Nick Clegg, Danny Alexander and Vince Cable vote for the Make it Happen resolutionThe Guardian today leads with a sorry tale headlined: Clegg taking Lib Dems to wipeout.

An unnamed Lib Dem supporter has commissioned ICM to carry out research in four key Lib Dem constituencies, including Nick Clegg’s own seat, and the report has been leaked to the Guardian.

Voters were asked how they would vote in a General Election if the party were led by Nick Clegg, Vince Cable or Danny Alexander.

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++ Breaking.. Vince Cable: There is no leadership issue

Vince Cable speaking to mediaStatement from Vince Cable who’s away in China on Government business:

These were exceptionally disappointing results for the party. Many hard working Liberal Democrats, who gave this fight everything they had and then lost their seats, are feeling frustrated and disheartened and we all understand that.

Nick did a bold thing in standing up to the eurosceptic wave which has engulfed much of continental Europe. We are the only party to have taken that on and he personally deserves tremendous credit for that. There is no leadership issue. We

photo by: bisgovuk
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The two Orange Bookers who’ve won over the Lib Dem membership

Orange_BookIt’s 10 years since The Orange Book was published. Edited by David Laws and Paul Marshall it was widely regarded as an attempt by economic liberals within the Lib Dems to wrest back control of the party from social liberals.

Both Laws and Marshall would argue their attempt at ‘reclaiming liberalism’ (the book’s sub-title) was more about re-balancing liberalism as practised by the Lib Dems — that the party had grown intellectually lazy, happiest with simply saying ‘tax more, spend more’ as the answer to every public policy problem without thinking …

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When Vince Cable warns we should listen

Vince Cable - Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsWhen Vince Cable issues a warning we should all pay heed.

According to the Guardian he was speaking last week at the Resolution Foundation and claimed that booming house prices are destabilising the economy. He said we should all be worried about what will happen when interest rates return to normal.

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Headline of the day: How exactly do you “bloke” a takeover?

You’ve got to love this headline from the Yorkshire Post:

Vince blokes takeover

In the article, Vince is reported as telling the Commons Business Committee that he and the government were prepared to intervene over Pfizer’s planned takeover of Astra Zeneca, emphasising how important it was to protect the research base in the UK.

He said:

Yes, we work as a team and my colleagues have made very clear that, like me, they want options kept open.

We recognise that we have to keep the options open both in terms of

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Who should be the Lib Dem shadow chancellor in 2015 – Vince or Danny? Here’s what Lib Dem members think…

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Over 830 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.

vince or danny

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Vince Cable to crack down on “rogue” directors

License Some rights reserved by eyewashdesign: A. GoldenVince Cable has rogue directors in his sights, announcing plans to stop people who are convicted of commercial crime overseas from being directors of British companies.

The BBC reports:

The business secretary said dishonest directors could cause “huge” harm.

UK criminals can already be banned as directors, and Mr Cable wants the same for those committed overseas.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) said the measures are due to be tabled in the Parliamentary session which ends in spring 2015.

They would mean “stronger deterrents”

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LibLink: Martin Horwood – Lib Dems clamping down on the arms trade

martin horwoodOver at the Lib Dems’ website, Cheltenham MP Martin Horwood has welcomed today’s announcement that Vince Cable has put out a call for evidence on a new register of arms brokers, introducing tougher regulations on the arms trade. Here’s an excerpt:

Arms brokers act as intermediaries in many arms deals by bringing together potential buyers and sellers in return for a cut of the transaction. Currently UK companies require a license before they can export military goods, but brokers are somewhat of an unknown entity. Under the proposals all brokers will

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Vince Cable in his own words on the sale of Royal Mail

Vincent CableThe publication of a report today by the National Audit Office criticising the “deep caution” of Vince Cable’s department in setting the sale price of shares in Royal Mail has, inevitably, been leapt on by opponents of the policy. Critics who would, of course, have been equally happy crowing if the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills had set the price too high causing the flotation flop.

Vince Cable went to the despatch box of the Commons today to defend his department’s actions, making headlines for unambiguously stating, “The last thing …

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LibLink: Vince Cable: Smell the coffee, Boris. The Mansion Tax has slipped in already

Mansion Only - Some rights reserved by Gerg1967This story appears under the byline of a “Daily Mail Reporter” which is a bit odd, because I don’t think they’ve let any of them into the Cabinet yet, and certainly not any who oppose the Tories. The reference to “my Cabinet colleagues’ kind of gives the game away that it’s our Vince who has taken on Boris over the Mansion Tax. Now, there’s another debate I’d like to see alongside Nick vs Nigel. Vince vs Boris. One day, maybe..

Anyway,  Vince started by pointing out that action was taken in the Budget to tax corporate property buying:

One less publicised move was a crackdown on people using high-value property to make easy capital gains from property inflation and then dodge tax, hiding behind a corporate façade.

At a time when families are desperate for housing, thousands of luxury flats sit empty in tower blocks along the Thames. The Government is stopping this abuse by charging a penal rate of stamp duty and a charge on the property value – a mansion tax.

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Independent: “Lib Dems fall out over who should take on George Osborne in election debate”

Cable alexander clegg some rights reserved by liberal democratsStephen Tall’s article here yesterday – Without a shadow of a doubt: Vince Cable should be the Lib Dems’ Shadow Chancellor at the 2015 election – has been picked up by today’s Independent:

As the minority coalition partner, the Lib Dems do not have a shadow chancellor. Nick Clegg must choose between the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, and the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, who represented the Lib Dems in the 2010 debate.

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LDVideo: Vince responds to the budget (and takes on Labour “hubris” in the process)

Business secretary Vince Cable was on his feet in the Commons on Thursday, providing his response to budget. His speech has already proved something of a hit, not least for his deft responses to point-scoring interventions by Labour MPs, including with the Voice’s Stephen Tall.

You can watch (and read) Vince in action below.

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Without a shadow of a doubt: Vince Cable should be the Lib Dems’ Shadow Chancellor at the 2015 election

Vincent CableOne of the quirks of being in coalition is the Lib Dems no longer have a shadow chancellor. But we shall need one in time for the 2015 general election – not least for the traditional televised ‘Ask the Chancellors’ debate.

There have been newspaper reports that there’s some jockeying for this position, with the Financial Times reporting that “Senior Lib Dems say the high-profile job is very likely to go to Danny Alexander, the Treasury chief secretary”.

Meanwhile, over at the New Statesman, Lib Dem blogger Richard Morris …

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Some first thoughts on the Budget

George Osborne with Red Box, Budget 2012So the Chancellor has just sat down. Here are my first thoughts on the Budget.

Nick gets his Workers’ Bonus

The personal tax threshold rises to £10,500. I doubt it was anything to do with the petition being pushed on social media in the last few days. This was down to the hard work of our ministers staying on message, in volume, over time, in budget negotiations. Nick Clegg has stuck with this through the entire Parliament and given us a very tangible promise kept – and more. “I am proud of what we have achieved”, said Osborne. Aye right.

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Vince Cable: I don’t understand why bankers need to earn a million quid a year

Vince Cable speaking York Europe Jobs Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsIn an interview for the Observer magazine’s “This much I know” feature, Vince Cable has shared his life lessons.

He shares his incredulity that anyone needs a salary/bonus of over £1 million to live on:

I don’t understand why people need a million quid a year. I’ve asked one or two of the more sympathetic bankers to explain it to me. The response has been: “It’s not that I need the money, it is because others get it so I should, too.”

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Rachel Smith talks to the Telegraph about the Coalition, being a politician’s wife, and how she’s a fan of Nick

In 2001, Rachel Smith, went along to a local meeting in the New Forest at which Vince Cable was speaking. She asked him a question and the rest is history. They were married in 2004. Last year about this time, she gave an interview to the Telegraph. This year, she’s done it again. She comes over as very warm, human and honest – just the same as she does when you meet her.

She had this to say about Vince’s supposed leadership ambitions:

She pre-empts questions about her husband’s alleged bid to oust the Lib Dem leader. “When people mutter about

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Opinion: A poor careers move

Nick Clegg and Vince Cable at a factory 2 - Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsMy name’s Adam and I’m a careers teacher. This presents something of a challenge because it turns out that as a teacher I know nothing about careers.

I must say before continuing that I am a fan of Vince. On the credit crunch, on banking regulation and on bonuses I not only agree with what he says, but also with how he says it. This is part of why I was so surprised, and not a little bit irked, that he said of teachers “They know how universities work, they know what you have to do to get an A-level, they know about UCAS forms – but they know absolutely nothing about the world of work. They don’t know how to direct people to apprenticeships or traineeships which we’re now doing as a first stage for people”.

I am fully aware of the way that the media often quote people out of context so I have taken great care to read what he actually, and there is no way around it: he was clearly referring to the fact that most teachers are graduates and that is what he said.

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What Vince Cable said about teachers – and, more importantly, what he meant

vince cable“Teachers know absolutely nothing about the world of work.” That’s what Vince said if you believe today’s newspaper headlines. And they’re right, he did use those words. But what the newspapers are choosing to ignore is what he meant by them.

Here’s the full quote, from a question-and-answer session about how best to improve the quality of careers advice:

“There has been an argument in Government about how to get the right careers advice in schools and successive governments have frankly messed this up. But the underlying problem is of course that most teachers, particularly in the secondary sector, are graduates. They know how universities work, they know what you have to do to get an A-level, they know about UCAS forms – but they know absolutely nothing about the world of work.”

At that point, Vince’s audience of 600 representatives from the manufacturing industry laughed and clapped. Vince quickly realised how his remarks could have been (mis-)interpreted, commenting “I’ve only one joke today and it was unintentional.” You can heard the exchange below:

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