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29 June 2012

Vince Cable warned us about Bob Diamond

The business secretary expressed reservations about the Barclays chief on his appointment two years ago.

By Richard Morris

Here are a couple of remarks from Vince Cable.

“We are worried about this combination of the casinos and the traditional banking.”

“Mr Diamond illustrates in a particularly graphic way what happens when you have an extremely high paid head of an investment bank taking over one of these major international banks.”

They don’t seem especially unusual over the last few days do they? The sort of thing you might expect any politician to be saying at the moment. And of course they echo a sentiment that I suspect is shared by many today.

Only Vince didn’t say them yesterday. Nor indeed this week. He said them almost two years ago, on Bob Diamond’s initial appointment.

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I know I’m partisan. But this does seem especially prescient, does it not? And not the sort of thing you’d expect George Osborne to say, or indeed be capable of saying.

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Nor is it the first time he has been so discerning. Nor indeed, is it the second. In fact, it’s a bit of a habit.

And when it’s combined with the courage to ask the awkward questions – well, it’s the sort of judgement you’d want in a Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Isn’t it?