Praise for the Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable comes today from a very surprising source, Peter Oborne in the Daily Telegraph.
Rebuking Adrian Beecroft for calling Vince a socialist, Oborne heaps praise on him:
I believe that any serious and objective consideration of Mr Cable’s record in office shows that he has been a formidable Cabinet minister, an important ally of enterprise, and, above all, one of the most loyal and supportive members of this Government.
And praises his record on employees’ rights:
Mr Cable is right and Mr Beecroft, along with his Conservative admirers, has taken a very dangerous wrong turning. The kind of untrammelled free market capitalism which Mr Beecroft is advocating is inhumane, unedifying and unBritish, and ultimately comes close to the false proposition that the Conservative Party should be the plaything of very rich men pursuing their financial interests at the expense of a disempowered workforce.
And shows how he brings business and jobs to Britain:
Mr Cable deserves the bulk of the praise for the recent small surge of inward investment into Britain, though characteristically he has not tried to grab all the credit.
Oborne then goes on to wax lyrical about Vince’s life experience:
It sounds paradoxical to say so, but Mr Cable is a new type of politician. He has knocked about the world, working as an adviser to the Kenyan government and chief economist of Shell. He has unusual personal accomplishment, as anyone who saw his remarkable appearance on Strictly Come Dancing will know. He is the author of the most gripping memoir by an active politician since that by David Blunkett. He has known personal tragedy through the slow death from cancer of his first wife, Olympia. He has rough edges and has enjoyed a genuine career outside Westminster. Alone among the Liberal Democrat members of the front bench, Mr Cable has managed to stay loyal to the Coalition without surrendering his identity.
Of course, I couldn’t agree with him for a whole article. That would be ridiculous. I’ll just point out that Oborne, in the last sentence of the paragraph above, seems to have forgotten the paper that he’s writing for ran a sting operation at the end of 2010 where Liberal Democrat ministers were recorded saying things you would very much expect Liberal Democrats to say. I wrote at the time that the whole episode had confirmed my faith in our MPs, even if I disagreed with some of the decisions they had made.
And, finally, the highest accolade:
Mr Cable is now in that very interesting place: he is the moral centre of gravity for the Coalition and of British public life
He even throws in a bit of a comparison to Gladstone.
You can read the article in full here.
* Caron Lindsay is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings