Vince talks to Iain Dale

The Lib Dems’ deputy leader Vince Cable is the cover star of the December issue of Total Politics, trailing a feature interview with the Tory blogger we all love to name-check, Iain Dale. Here’s a taster:

Do you see the Liberal Democrats as a centre-left party?

No, I don’t use that description. I know some of my colleagues have in the past. There are some areas where we are, to use the jargon, centre-left progressive. A redistributive approach to taxation is obviously one of them, but there are other respects in which we are genuinely liberal, which puts us on the other side. Lots of the writing I’ve done on economics is very much about a liberal approach to economic policy, free-trade and open markets. I don’t use that term because, although some of the things we say can be very clearly put in that box, in other respects, we are economically liberal. I think the other thing is, a lot of the things we’re about have nothing to do with the traditional left/right spectrum – localism, environmentalism, civil liberties, you can argue these from either a libertarian or a leftist perspective.

Imagine you have six months as Chancellor of the Exchequer. What’s the one thing you’d like to look back on and say: “I did that in my six months”?

I would put sorting out the banking system at the top of the list. I think the government did the right things in October last year. It behaved well in the emergency – it was prompt and the rescue operation was necessary. I acknowledged it at the time and it’s still true. But they’ve let the situation drift, and if I had six months as our Lib Dem chancellor, I would first of all be much more proactive in making sure that the semi-nationalised and nationalised banks are lending to solid British companies, because they’re not doing it at the moment – they’ve lurched from extreme recklessness to extreme conservatism. So they’ve got to use the directors on the bank to make sure that they lend to good companies.

You can read the interview in full here.

Nich Starling and Jonathan Calder have both picked out their favourite snippets here and here.

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4 Comments

  • Martin Land 21st Nov '09 - 9:16pm

    Well, I’m centre left, Vince. I was when I joined NLYL 36 years ago, and I’ve not moved anywhere. And I never have and I’m not planning to.

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