Sir Menzies Campbell, speaking to the media at the Liberal Democrat conference in Liverpool, has just pointed out that “it was unbridled capitalism that caused…the economic mess this Government now finds itself in”. He was backing the forthcoming and heavily trailed speech by Vince Cable, the business secretary, who will announce an inquiry into “the murky world of corporate behavior”.
Despite the fact that the speech isn’t until this afternoon, the CBI has already gone on the offensive, with ex CBI head Lord Jones attacking Cable personally on the Today programme this morning. He said:
“He is the business secretary. If he wants to be a Liberal MP, go to conference, and have the whinge that they’ve had every year, fine … But you can’t be the secretary of state for business and then behave as if you’re just the campaigning Liberal he always has been.”
In our topsy turvy new political world, it is apparently often forgotten that much of the modern the Conservative party stands for just the sort of “unbridled capitalism” Cable will attack today. Cable’s words will anger some Tory MPs, but that is no bad thing for a Lib Dem party that badly needs to assert itself. The speech today will also help calm nerves among Lib Dem grassroots, the majority of whom desperately want a full review into replacing Trident.
So how is Vince Cable’s balancing act going in Government? Is he still a “haunted” man? Find out tomorrow when he goes up against our very own Mehdi Hasan on Question Time, BBC1.