Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
22 September 2010updated 27 Sep 2015 2:12am

Vince Cable saves the day?

His attack on "unbridled capitalism" will infuriate some Tories. But it'll keep restless Lib Dems qu

By James Macintyre

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.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A weekly dig into the New Statesman’s archive of over 100 years of stellar and influential journalism, sent each Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy

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.