Deprived of the comforts of third party opposition - the ability to say and do as he
pleased – Vince Cable has had to put away childish things. Of necessity, the business and enterprise secretary cannot be a socialist. And Cable used yesterday’s speech
at the Cass Business School to prove he’s no socialist.
He convinced. Cable will enact the coalition’s plans to reform regional development agencies, cut preferential micromanagement grants that supersede the judgement of markets, demolish
stifling small business regulation, curtail short-term speculation on company takeovers to protect shareholders, cutting the deficit early and the part-privatisation of the Royal Mail. He also
endorsed long-standing Tory policy of splitting or ring-fencing investment and retail banking arms and the imposition of banking levy to remunerate the taxpayer. It may not go far enough for some,
but it is a triumph for clear blue thinking.
Capital Gains Tax remains a focal point for partisan dissent. Equally, Cable’s star has fallen behind David Laws and Danny Alexander. There are rumours of envy and his permanent
expression of befuddled concern has developed lines of resignation. But Cable can be relied upon to deliver the coalition’s business agenda; he may even believe in it.