New Times,
New Thinking.

  1. Election 2024
7 May 2011

Cable condemns Tory attacks on Nick Clegg

First Chris Huhne, now Vince.

By Jonathan Derbyshire

After Chris Huhne’s outburst at David Cameron and George Osborne became public last week, my colleague Jon Bernstein noted that Huhne had replaced Vince Cable as the bookmakers’ favourite to be next to leave the cabinet. Huhne, Jon wrote then, “will need to consider what influence he can hope to have from the back benches and may conclude that he is better off fighting from within. For now.”

Cable, the man Huhne replaced in the bookies’ affections, is surely now asking himself precisely the same question. As he told the BBC News Channel today: “Some of us never had many illusions about the Conservatives, but they have emerged [during the AV referendum campaign] as ruthless, calculating and thoroughly tribal.”

He went on to add that this “doesn’t mean to say we can’t work with them. I think they have always been that way, but you have to be businesslike and professional and you have to work with people who aren’t your natural bedfellows and that is being grown-up in politics. We are going to continue to do that.” But he would say that, wouldn’t he?

Such public grumbling on the part of two Lib Dem cabinet ministers is striking, of course, but, as Vernon Bogdanor argued in an article for the New Statesman in January, “peacetime coalitions collapse through disaffection at the grass roots, not conflict at the top. In Britain, the leaders can only lead for as long as the followers are willing to follow. When the followers cease to follow, the leaders cease to be able to lead.”

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

Perhaps the misgivings of Lib Dem activists are finally getting through to the leadership?

Content from our partners
We need an urgent review of UK pensions
The future of private credit
Peatlands are nature's unsung climate warriors