Cable to Vince-Time to go.

JR Max Wheel 23 December 2010

It is pretty rich of the troubled Business Secretary to whinge about the damage done to constituency politics and the vital work done by MPs by the Telegraph’s sting.

Dr. Cable never made a secret of his preference to have joined a coalition of the left, rather than the clearly uncomfortable position, in which he finds himself with the Conservatives. If he had a shred of principle he would not even have joined up to it. However that we know is not the political way: much better to make some cursory apology and throw sand in the air by making this about some violation of our democratic ideals.

I rather doubt that it will have any effect on MP’s surgeries at all, other than hopefully for Cabinet Ministers to learn to the art of discretion, especially when confronted with two allegedly attractive female reporters.

During the death throes of New Labour, and the height of the Credit Crunch, Dr. Cable briefly garnered a reputation for plain-speaking on financial matters and hence acquired a degree of popularity with the electorate, of which he can hardly have dreamed, resulting in the fatuous sobriquet “St.Vince” That is now well and truly over.

Vince has become trouble for the Coalition, even a malign influence, as just about everyone has pointed out, had this been a Conservative Minister, he would have had to go. Disentangling the Business and Skills Department to avoid a clear conflict over the Murdoch acquisition to accommodate Vince seems absurd. This is a critical position in any economic recovery and having a lame-duck Minster in a key role is hardly helpful.  It is nonetheless clear that both PM and Deputy PM are sufficiently concerned to want to keep their enemies close and their “friends” even closer in this fractious political fix. This is a cop-out though, like leopards, politicians in their sixties do not change their spots It is clear that if he cannot accept Cabinet joint responsibility, he should go. The arrival of Christmas it is obviously felt may make this story go away. I doubt it; Grub street’s finest are busy chipping away at other troubled Lib-Dem MPs and one assumes that they will do the same with the disgruntled Conservatives. So what has happened to the New Politics, burying the hatchet was meant to be in the national interest, not an internecine tomahawk-throwing exercise by the over-looked.

It is probable that if Vince stays he will face many issues at least as contentious as the Murdoch acquisition of the remaining shares in BSkyB, they will require judgement and hard-headed decision taking. Personal vendettas are not part of the remit, nor is failing to keep a sense of care and proportion about matters discussed in constituency meetings. It would be rather better for the sake of the Coalition to rid themselves of this “troublesome” saint before he turns himself into Mr. Bean!