WATCH: Vince Cable on LBC talking homelessness, brexit, being a puritan on drugs, knife crime and Nick’s knighthood

In case you missed it yesterday, here is Vince Cable’s start of year phone in with Nick Ferrari

He got the chance to talk about the scandal of so many young people sleeping rough while there were so many empty properties. He highlighted the role of Universal Credit in causing homelessness among young people. He also talked about the need to build more houses.

Nick Ferrari actually raised the issue of homelessness among veterans which led to a discussion of how veterans with mental ill health don’t get the support and treatment they need.

Vince also talked about how commuters were getting a bad deal from their rail services – and highlighted the success of the nationalisation of network rail, saying that the Tories had kept quiet about it because they didn’t want to be accused of nationalising the railways and Labour had kept quiet because he had stolen one of their policies.

Of course the issue of Brexit came up. He used the analogy of buying a house to make the case for the people being given the chance to Exit from Brexit. You can decide to buy a house but once you’ve done your due diligence you might find out that it’s not as good as it looks, you can pull out of the sale.

He also brought what seems to be a new recurring theme – emphasising how the Lib Dems have been right on the main issues of the day and have stuck to that line, even if it has been unpopular at the time – highlighting our opposition to the Iraq War.

On drugs, he said he was a real “puritan” about them, but all the evidence suggested that decriminalisation was the way to go.

Nick Clegg deserves credit for keeping the country running for 5 years and providing strong and stable government, said Vince. “It was a bit awkward,” he says, “because I was his deputy and I got one first.”

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • I was reading the interview or article in Prospect Magazine by Vince Cable. I was a bit disappointed that he appears to have moderated his tone on stopping Brexit. There is at the moment no way the MPs are to be given a meaningful vote or indeed a say in the negotiations.It seems that the best we can hope for is a take or leave it decision on the deal brought back by the Government or drop out of the EU when the time limit expires in March next year. Given the inadequate situation is it not better to canvas hard to stay in The EU and find an emotional message to send to the aggrieved Brexiteers. Reason and common sense was not an argument the leave campaigners used to appeal to the voters. The points Mr Cable raises about Homelessness poverty etc can only be adequately addressed by a country that is thriving economically. Of course there are many other fundamental problems that need to be addressed as well and at the same time, repairing the broken electoral system , re balancing the economy, giving back a sense of worth to all working people, to address globalisation and digital economy. But I cannot see how anything can be achieved by being isolationist in this changing world. The Brexiteers hark back to the War. They forget that it was won ,if that is the right word, by international co operation and not by the UK alone. The EU offers the opportunity to work in co operation with other countries in an attempt to better things. The EU is not perfect but neither is democracy but it is the best we have to change things for the better.

  • Helen Dudden 3rd Jan '18 - 5:02pm

    In Bath there was an article written on a Breakfast Club for a school in an area that has poverty. One other comment other than mine. I think we have to rethink attitudes, I feel all children should have a decent meal at lunch time. It’s also very important to have breakfast. Without, being judgemental to others, we have to provide. Perhaps,
    retired teaching staff could help those schools who would benefit from extra help. Leaving school with an ability to read and write to an acceptable level will help for the future.
    Rents are too expensive eating into a salary. Housing Benefit, is now taken as a necessary benefit to cover very expensive rents.

  • Glad to hear of Vince’s concerns about the homeless.

    But don’t you just love the sensitivity of the Tories ?? Simon Dudley, the Tory leader of Windsor Council is demanding that the police use their legal powers to clear the area of homeless people by 19 May.

  • Windsor ? 19 May ? The Royal wedding of course !!

  • Byelection tomorrow Borehamwood. If things were okay with our support we should expect what minimum of 15 – 20%, but will we make 5%?

  • I watched this online. In the actual interview, there was no sense of Vince softening on Brexit, albeit I did spot some write-ups lending that emphasis to what he said. To me, it was very clear that he knew that Brexit was a terrible idea and that May was not going to get a good deal. He may as well have said ‘when pigs fly’ at which point it would be written up as him predicting pigs are growing wings.

    Overall, he came across very well, with good insight and his usual thoughtful answers that appeal to those with a genuine interest in hearing what other people think on a subject. Unfortunately, we live in a world where most people tune in to this sort of show to confirm what they already thought, which could be that Vince Cable is sneering at Brexiteers etc.

    I felt the discussion on the regulation of cannabis didn’t quite work. It’s very reasonable for Cable to make the point that our policy is based on the recognition that it causes harm, rather than because we’re a bunch of hippies with an ‘anything goes’ attitude. However, I felt the “puritan” card was over-played. It’s legitimate to make the personal case for being anti-drugs, but when asked about the risk of regulated cannabis being a gateway drug, then it’s a mistake not to point out that our proposal makes this less likely than the status quo, and when being asked if he’d had any experience of a family member with a serious drug problem, this should be an opportunity to stress that it’s because we’ve considered their experiences that we know this is the right thing to do. It’s not the time to ‘brag’ about how you’ve managed to keep your own family on the straight and narrow, which can leave the impression that other families, and not the current system, are to blame.

    This is a policy that allows us to show off our commitment to evidence-based policy, and willingness to consider radical solutions to problems, but it can easily turn into a stick with which to beat us if not communicated properly.

  • I never said anything about the actual referendum. I simply said that clegg supported an EU membership referendum, which is true.

    If you, as a presumably fairly invested lib dem, don’t know about it, I’m going to call it a successful burial.

  • Jayne mansfield 3rd Jan '18 - 9:34pm

    @ Simon Shaw,
    Are you saying that the following article is untrue?

    ‘ Lib Dems set out their red lines: a EU referendum is no longer one of them’, The New Statesman 2014.

    One does no have to delve too deeply, with a deeper understanding of ‘politics speak’, to believe their might have been some ambivalence on an EU referendum .

    Daily Telegraph ( 2015) reporting on Nick Clegg’s performance on the Andrew Marr show

    ‘Nick Clegg refuses to rule out a referendum deal

  • Simon Shaw 3rd Jan ’18 – 9:47pm………….What you said was rather silly. If you really think that “Clegg supported an EU membership referendum” then does that really mean that you think that the reason what we didn’t have a EU referendum in 2010 to 2015 was because the Conservatives opposed it despite what you allege was Clegg’s support?……If that’s not what you think then how else do you explain the non-holding of a referendum within that time frame?………….

    Why is it ‘silly’? (BTW I thought gratuitous remarks, like ‘silly’, had no place on LDV )..

    Cameron, Osborne, May, et al were not fans of a referendum; after all, Cameron once told the right of his party to, ““Stop banging on about Europe”…
    What changed was the rise of UKIP… UKIP went from 7% in the PR European Elections of 199 to 26% in 2014…
    Cameron failed to win a majority, against a discredited Labour party, in 2010 and his pledge to hold and an in/out referendum on UK membership of the EU, if the Conservatives won the next election, was a blatant attempt to hold on to the right of his party against the perceived threat of UKIP, which senior Tories feared could prevent them from winning an overall majority in 2015…

    The rest is history!

  • Jayne mansfield 3rd Jan '18 - 10:51pm

    @ Simon Shaw,
    I can’t provide a link, but tap in the words of the what are in fact headlines and lo and behold!

    Maybe some kind soul will provide the link for you.

  • Malcolm Todd 4th Jan '18 - 12:10am

    Simon Shaw
    Jayne Mansfield

    Here you are, Simon:

    It doesn’t matter whether the article is really “true” or not, anyway. Clegg’s on record (and it was party policy) in favour of an in/out referendum. The “only if there’s another shift of power to the EU” proviso is hardly a principled difference. Especially as the policy was formed before the Lisbon treaty did just that and no referendum had in fact followed, until June 2016. To claim otherwise seems to me a bit, well, silly.

  • Peter Watson 4th Jan '18 - 7:45am

    @Malcolm Todd “Clegg’s on record (and it was party policy) in favour of an in/out referendum.”

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 4th Jan '18 - 8:28am

    Peter Watson, Yes, the leaflet to which you give the link does make it clear that Nick Clegg was calling for an in/out referendum on EU membership – and he was not, at that point, attaching any conditions about a referendum only happening if there was a new treaty.
    This call for an in/out referendum appeared on Lib Dem election leaflets, and no doubt the party won votes because of this policy.
    The party’s refusal to respect the result of a referendum that it had called for, and won votes by calling for, is a broken promise comparable to the broken promise on tuition fees.

  • Good article by Owen Jones in the Guardian today. Do not often agree with him but this challenges the Exit from Brexit campaign into something that will appeal to those Leave supporters in socially deprived areas etc. In my view worth a read, because at the moment we have little or no support in such places.

  • OnceALibDem 4th Jan '18 - 9:03am

    The party had many and varied stances on a referendum, however what is more relevant is that stance it took on the referendum bill. The only contribution at 2nd reading (which is a vote on the principle of the bill) was Tom Brake who said:
    “We in the Liberal Democrats have changed our position. The coalition had already legislated for a referendum if there were any proposals to transfer powers from the UK to the EU, but it is clear that in the general election a month or so ago people voted for an in/out referendum. It is going to happen and the focus should be on ensuring that we win it. The priority now for my party is first to help secure reforms in the EU that benefit all EU countries. We are not the Eurofanatics painted by the Conservative party. Indeed, the Secretary of State acknowledged in his opening remarks the reforms that the coalition was able to make in relation to the European Union.”

    “I hope that the outcome of the referendum, whatever it is, will give a certainty about the future of the EU which, unfortunately, the outcome of the Scottish referendum did not give for Scotland.”

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 4th Jan '18 - 10:05am

    OnceALibDem, Tom Brake’s speech certainly seems to suggest that he took for granted that the referendum result would be implemented, and that he expected – indeed hoped – that the result, whatever it might be, would settle the matter for some time to come.

  • Tim Brake stated

    “I hope that the outcome of the referendum, whatever it is, will give a certainty about the future of the EU which, unfortunately, the outcome of the Scottish referendum did not give for Scotland.”

    I’m afraid this is a classic case of hope over experience. The Scottish referendum was a pointer to what would happen with the Brexit referendum and to hope for certainty after a biter devise referendum was never a likely outcome. We now have plaintiff pleas of can’t we put it all behind us, but that can’t happen until Brexit is over (no time soon) and a lot of water has passed under the bridge. There will be finger pointing and accusations arising from this for years if not decades to come, to think otherwise is simply delusional.

  • Jayne mansfield 4th Jan '18 - 11:01am

    @ Theakes,
    I share some of Owen Jones’ gloominess.

    The result of the EU referendum was first and foremost a protest vote. People were offered a vote that they finally felt would really mean something , and they used it.

    As someone from the old mining areas of South Yorkshire, I have been an observer as towns and areas decimated by Thatcher have become petri dishes for right wing sentiment and movements, e.g. Rotherham, Barnsley, Doncaster. The notion that clever politicians can use disaffection and persuade people to aim their anger at the wrong target is not new.

    Ironically, the BNP and then UKIP used the community politics of the Liberal Democrats to gain strength, showing concern for local issues, but often offering racialised solutions. It is within these communities that the battle for ideas must take place. I wish that I still had the vigour of my youth.

    Yesterday I was with a group of people who were discussing the referendum, and yet again , their conversation was down the alleyway of what is, and isn’t, democratic, rather than focussed on what politicians can and should be doing to persuade people that they have heard the protest, lessons have been learned, and that there is a new found determination to offer a positive outcome for them as individuals and society as a whole. It is a message that has been muddied.

  • Peter Watson 4th Jan '18 - 12:02pm

    @Martin “The proviso of a trigger involving a substantive shift of power to the EU was clearly aimed at putting a lid on the issue.”
    That was Tory policy in 2010. From their manifesto: “We will ensure that by law no future government can hand over areas of power to the EU or join the Euro without a referendum of the British people.”
    Lib Dem policy was less reluctant to hold a referendum: “Liberal Democrats therefore remain committed to an in/out referendum the next time a British government signs up for fundamental change in the relationship between the UK and the EU.”.

  • Peter Watson 4th Jan '18 - 1:05pm

    @theakes “Good article by Owen Jones in the Guardian today.”
    I agree with a lot of what Owen Jones has written there (, particularly the poor strategy followed by Remainers.

    If I had any confidence in the competence of the Lib Dem leadership over the last several years, I could believe that the party’s approach has been part of a very cunning plan: deliberately throw the referendum by going along with the dismal Remain campaign, adopt a single-issue party-political approach to win over Cameronite tories (and a few Blairites from Labour), save the country by overturning the referendum result, and emerge as a bigger better Cleggite version of the Lib Dems.
    Sadly, I fear the approach is more likely to help deliver what the party says it does not want for some of the reasons Owen Jones outlines, and I agree with him that stopping Brexit requires “a grassroots, populist insurgency”, not one led by politicians and a party with so much baggage.

  • Owen Jones is often challenging – and rightly so. There’s plenty to challenge about.

    He would probably have fitted in comfortably in the National League of Young Liberals and the Union of Liberal Students back in the 1960’s when the Liberal Party could still legitimately claim to be a radical party.

  • Interesting poll on views of party members.
    Should be 2nd Referendum:
    Con 14%
    Labour 78%
    Lin Dem 91%
    SNP 87%
    Stay in Single Market
    Cons 25
    Labour 87
    Lib Dem 96
    SNP 95
    Stay in Customs Union
    Con 27
    Labour 85
    Lib Dem 95
    SNP 91

    Labour figure is most interesting, is Corbyn missing a trick?

  • Peter Watson 4th Jan '18 - 2:40pm
  • paul holmes 4th Jan '18 - 4:27pm

    @theakes But what trick do you think Corbyn is missing?

    If he reverses his personal lifelong antipathy to the EU and follows the views of Labour Members, he might win more seats in current Tory but Remain voting areas but he might lose a lot more traditional Labour seats in Leave areas as he did N E Derbyshire and Mansfield for example in June 2017.

    As the Lib Dems discovered to their cost, in the ‘Party of In’ 2014 Euro elections and the 2017 General Election, pro EU voters do not seem to make that their prime motivator when deciding who to vote for, unlike a lot of Leave voters.

  • Paul Like your goodself I wish our party would stop banging on about Brexit. There are other. at the moment, more important matters to deal with. However the ground has clearly shifted in the last 6 months with Remain support holding up better than Leave.
    If Corbyn wants to hold onto his job he needs the members, they put him in. He may need, I say may, to be more and more pragmatic to their views.

  • paul holmes 4th Jan '18 - 9:12pm

    There has only been a marginal shift other than one ‘rogue’ survey that found a 10% shift towards Remain -but only among people who didn’t actually vote in the 2016 Referendum and so are far from likely to vote in a future one.

    But in any case what is the likelihood of a new Referendum? There is no way the Conservatives are going to renounce their promise to implement the 2016 Referendum result -made during the 2016 Referendum and during the 2017 General Election -or to hold a new Referendum.

    Their Government could collapse but remember that the 1974-9 Labour and 1992-1997 Cons Governments, both badly divided and with smaller majorities than the current one, both survived for a full 5 years. In the unlikely event that it did collapse pre March 2019 the subsequent Labour Government would then have to reverse its policy on Brexit at the risk of large scale losses in their Northern heartlands. There has been more or less zero sign of Labour members pressure for a change of heart and only a couple of weeks ago Labour MP’s were whipped against a Labour rebel amendment on the Single Market.

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