But Cable tonight is a much diminished figure. He has been shown to be eager to be indiscrete, to be overly keen to air the coalition’s dirty laundry in public. His comments about being at ‘war’ with Rupert Murdoch’s media empire when he was involved in decisions over its takeover attempt of BSkyB also revealed a temperament unsuited to the responsibilities of office. He has with his use of the word ‘Maoist’ outed himself as a source for Andrew Rawnsley, though this is probably the least of his worries tonight.
One consequence of all this is that Cable’s ability to fight his corner on bankers’ bonuses has been much reduced. Having caused all this trouble, he’ll won’t be able to make his points as forcefully as he would have been before this episode. Expect the coalition’s final policy on this most sensitive of subjects to be far closer to Osborne’s position than Cable’s.