Tag Archives: vince cable

WATCH: Vince Cable talking about the Brexit Bill and how it undermines Parliament

Here’s Vince talking on the Daily Politics the other day about Theresa May’s offer to EU nationals, trade and how the EU Withdrawal Bill in its current form undermines democracy.

He emphasised that the British Government is in a very weak negotiating position with the EU.

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Vince Cable’s message for Diwali

Full text is below:

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LibLink: Vince Cable: Politicians get lost in search for fabled Magic Money Tree

Vince Cable has written for City AM about governemnt’s fiscal responsibilities and how it has become less important to be financially credible.

Yet since the 2015 election, belief in financial magic appears to have grown. Brexit’s biggest appeal was a treasure trove to finance the NHS. Labour has caught the new mood.

A few weeks ago, shadow chancellor John McDonnell added £200bn of PFI contracts to a lengthening list of Labour financial commitments, including the nationalisation of rail franchises, energy and water utilities, free universities, and much else.

The IFS was scathing at the June election about Labour’s numbers, but it did little political harm, perhaps because the Conservatives had no numbers at all, and have since oscillated between preaching austerity and signing cheques when pressed. My own party, the Liberal Democrats, received an IFS Gold Medal in 2017, but it did us little good.

He then goes on to talk about a recent discussion with economics students who thought that austerity had had its day. Vince recounts the main points that he made with his response:

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So Labour’s against a no-deal Brexit. Are we supposed to be grateful?

Labour’s Shadow Brexit Spokesperson Keir Starmer has been all over the media this morning proclaiming with great certainty that Labour is against a no-deal Brexit.

He actually said that with a straight face. You’d never have thought that Labour could have headed the prospect off at the pass by ensuring that the Article 50 Bill had a parachute attached to it so that we didn’t fall off the edge of a cliff. They could have ensured that we continued to stay in the single market and the customs union way back in January.

And don’t get me started on their lack of spirited campaigning during the referendum.

What is worrying me is that whenever the predicament we are in as a country starts to become clear, both Tories and Labour start trying to shift the focus onto No Deal in the hope that anything that eventually emerges from the negotiations will seem better in comparison. There is no better. There is only less horrendous. There is no satisfactory outcome other than staying in the EU.

As business gets seriously worried and it starts to dawn on the public that this Brexit idea is an absolute shambles, it looks very much like Labour is going to find itself on the wrong side of public opinion if it doesn’t actively look for a way to drag the country off the ledge.

Nothing we are hearing from Labour at the moment gives me any sense that the leadership is shifting its position.

John McDonnell might wring his hands on the sidelines all he likes. What Labour needs to do is pull a shift at actually opposing the Government.

In a tweet this morning, Vince gave them a good telling off:

Meanwhile, Tom Brake called on Labour to agree to an “exit from Brexit” referendum:

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A couple of observations about Vince’s reshuffle

So Vince Cable reshuffled his top team today.

There’s a very interesting change of language. No longer are they called the Shadow Cabinet. That probably makes sense for a team of 12 MPs out of 650. They will henceforth be known as spokespeople.

So who has the top jobs? A full list is here.

The team is gender balanced. In fact there is a majority of women – 15 out of the 29. That includes long time Vince ally Dee Doocey who is coming in with a Spokesperson without Portfolio.  This would certainly enable her to obtain a profile over a wide range of subjects. I don’t even know if this has been thought of, but it crosses my mind that she could be a contender for party president when Sal Brinton comes to the end of her constitutionally allowed terms in 2019. If it happens, remember that you heard it here first.

As requested in the comments, for those of you who don’t know Dee, she’s had a very long history in the party and the Liberal Party before it. Back in the day she was the Finance Director of the Liberal Party. She has been a Richmond Councillor and Greater London Assembly Member who was appointed to the House of Lords back in 2010. She’s been running Vince Cable’s elections for 25 years. You can read more about her here. 

Vince has a job

The Leader doesn’t normally have a job in these circumstances but when you are the most credible voice on the economy in the House of Commons or not the country, it would be daft if he didn’t speak up on these issues. Susan Kramer will reprise her role on this in the Lords.

More experience than Corbyn’s front bench

While they may not be called the Shadow Cabinet any more, they are more entitled to call themselves that than the Labour front bench. There are no fewer than, by my reckoning, seven former ministers, including Vince, Alistair and Ed as former Cabinet ministers.

Where’s Norman?

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The human element and the political reality – Vince on Theresa May’s speech

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Well, that speech probably contained everyone’s worst nightmares.

In April this year, just after the election was called, I was one of those recording a podcast made by the excellent Engender Scotland. I ended up having the mother of all coughing fits. Of course, there were half a dozen other wonderful women to hold the fort while I left the room until the spasms subsided.

So I really felt for poor Theresa May today. She was up there on her own at the keynote occasion of the year and the germs took control. I don’t mean Boris and the rest of the Cabinet.

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A lifelong “learning account”. Liberal, radical, just the way the party needs to go.

From free school meals in 1906 and 2014 to the Pupil Premium, Liberals have a proud and positive history in terms of reforming education in the UK. Despite this, Vince Cable’s idea of a “learning account” might be the most radical yet. The policy seems to be in its infancy at the moment with Vince Cable asking to “develop” the policy with the party. It would see all young people given a learning account, that they could use at any point in life for education purposes. As Mr Cable argued this is “fundamentally a liberal idea” and it is astonishing how little attention it has received.

The possible positives from this scheme seem remarkable; it would encourage social mobility as those from lower income households could make most use of the money. There are also deeper impacts in culture and sport, the power of education to inspire should not be forgotten. Giving people the freedom to choose exactly what to do with their education throughout adult life will give people an opportunity to pursue talents and careers they would previously only dreamed of.

There are of course some complaints. This of course would be an expensive policy and Vince Cable’s reply of taxing wealth certainly needs to be expanded upon. Yet here Vince Cable’s economic clout comes to the fold. In a recent speech to the Resolution Foundation on inequality he outlined how taxes can be improved. Specifically stopping loopholes in capital gains and inheritance tax as well as raising proposing tax on property value rather than council tax among other suggestions. Therefore, such a scheme would not be as hard to implement. 

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Recent Comments

  • User Avatarjames 22nd Oct - 12:09pm
    @E so no 2nd referendum then? Or even any referendum?
  • User AvatarAnne Williams 22nd Oct - 11:56am
    I agree with Nick too.
  • User AvatarJennie 22nd Oct - 11:47am
    Yes, Caron, the Azure card was what I had in mind. Horrible, nasty, punitive thing.
  • User AvatarCaron Lindsay 22nd Oct - 11:43am
    Well said, Jennie. The Azure card scheme for asylum seekers gives a concrete example of how terrible the provision of basic services would be.
  • User AvatarE 22nd Oct - 11:38am
    Well said Jim. Whereas I agree the police response was excessive. To even consider declaring independence on the back of a flawed, illegal and unrepresentative...
  • User AvatarGlenn 22nd Oct - 11:22am
    Jennie' I completely agree.