David Blackburn

Cable’s attack on the Tories does nothing for the Lib Dem’s credibility

Cable’s attack on the Tories does nothing for the Lib Dem's credibility
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Vince Cable’s caricature of Tory economic policy was so disingenuous that it failed to hit its target. He said:

“The Tories propose cuts, carried out in secret behind closed doors after the election, if they win.”

The Conservatives have pioneered the cuts debate and the other parties have followed. Although I’d like to see more detailed plans of Tory cuts, the party has been upfront about the necessity for and extent of cuts and where they might be made.

Then, Cable contrasted Tory secrecy and centralisation with Liberal openness and localism:

“We want an open, democratic debate about priorities. They want to control everything from Whitehall – just like Labour. We believe in local government.  Local decision making is more accountable and more efficient. This requires lifting the dead hand of centralisation and scrapping the command and control quangos who treat local elected representatives like children.”

It’s rich to dismiss the Tories’ radical plans for “a post-Bureaucratic age” on the same day that the Lib Dems announce a policy that would see central government re-distribute a tax that was collected locally.

Cable’s most unguarded rhetorical flourish was to say that “the Tories’ top priority is to cut taxes on millionaires”. That simply isn't true. As a disbelieving Coffee House points out frequently, George Osborne even refuses to reverse the 50% tax rate, despite that, in all likelihood, it will yield less than the current rate. At the moment, millionaires are hardly a going concern politically.

The Tories have a clear lead on the economy. The ‘Sage of Twickenham’ needs to do more than simply misrepresent Tory policy if he is to convince voters of his party’s credibility.