Tuesday 21 December 2010


Coalition government can be a good thing in my opinion. It can offer a more considered, thought out and less dogmatic approach to governance. But normally the parties involved have at least some policies in common, and have overall objectives broadly similar in direction of travel.

Having a centre left and a centre right party together in coalition was always going to be a risky business.

There have been problems from day one...well almost. Within a week of setting out on the journey to govern, one of the senior ministers, a Liberal, was forced to resign over financial irregularities in his expense claims. It was said that some Conservatives who had their hearts set on ministerial salaries were very unhappy about the number of Liberal Democrats in government. There has been anger too that Dave seemed to fold his tent at a hint of disapproval from Big Nick. In particular it is thought that Ken Clarke’s sentencing policies have their roots in lefty Liberals notions (given that it was a Tory pledge to jail people for having a knife, even if it was only to spread jam on croissants!)

On the other hand some very big guns in the Liberals have been less than happy with the way that their pledges to students up and down England have been ripped up because “of the economic situation”, so Nick says, but everyone knows it’s because Big Dave says so.

There have along the way been some very unhappy groans coming from backbenchers in both parties. The Tories had to be placated with promises that Dave would personally do something about the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, proving that good though education at Eton is reputed to be; they surely don’t cover the meaning of the word “independent”.

Nick has from very early on been trying to persuade the Liberals to embrace government, not seeming to notice that there are a lot of Liberals who aren’t actually IN government, and that comfy car and big office that he enjoys, is well...what HE enjoys. The drop to 9% in opinion polls has been hard to explain away.

And so to today. Everyone knows the story so only the briefest of recap here... Vince Cable meets two young giggly mothers in his constituency; they ask about child benefit payments and then use their womanly charms to get him to explain his take on the coalition (already rumoured to be less than favourable). Vince begins thinking like his evil twin Vice Cable and spills how he really feels, bragging that he could bring the government down if he walked... and that he is at war with Rupert Murdoch, who just happens to have a case before the Business Secretary (that’s you Vinny) to do with the takeover of BskyB. Ewwwwwwwww.

Now I’ve always been of the mind that silly little mistakes are no reason to sack a minister. There are so precious few with even the remotest hint of talent that it seems a shame to lose them because they couldn’t keep their trousers up or their skirts down... but when a minister is so openly stupid as to advertise his vendetta in a professional and quasi-legal matter over which he has ultimate power, to two people whom he has never seen before and who, of course, aren’t quite as stupid and giggly as they seemed, being in fact broadsheet reporters... then it’s time for that minister to pack up and go, voluntarily or otherwise.

And yet Vince is still in post tonight.



  1. In fact CH, there's MOORE!!!

    So, more Telegraph reporters posing as giggly girls to make hitherto not very important people, now inexperienced ministers, show off badly. I liked these ones...

    : Mr Davey warned that changes to housing benefit would "put people below the breadline" and that there were several proposed changes to the system that he and several of his Liberal Democrat colleagues could not support.

    : Mr Michael Moore described his own decision to back the increase in tuition fees as the "worst crime a politician can commit, the reason most folk distrust us as a breed".

    : It emerged that ministers believe that the Liberal Democrats should be doing more to express publicly their concerns over the operation of the Coalition. Mr Webb said "it looks a bit too cosy" to the public, while Mr Davey said the Lib Dems needed to "assert our identity".

    : Mr Moore said he could not work with politicians such as Dr Liam Fox, the Defence Secretary, "for very long" (no surprise there; the man is neanderthal) and ruled out standing on a joint Coalition-ticket at the next election.

    : It emerged that senior Liberal Democrats are boasting privately that they were responsible for delaying government plans to replace the Trident nuclear deterrent, which means nothing will happen on the project during the current

    Crumble Crumble Crumble...

    PS... I wonder if we can look forward to a load of Tory quotes, also made to giggly girls about how much they would like to send the Liberals packing on a one way ticket to Ulan Bator.

    I expect they had to send a giggly boy to flatter up Theresa... god help him, he 'may' never be seen again. "May"be he fell into one of her kinky wellies!!

  2. tris I was in a hurry and blame the temp dropping to -13.4C, its cauld out there.

  3. LOL CH... That's nothing to a highlander. I hope you've not taken to wearing long johns under your kilt, or anything soppy like that...


  4. Thats a phone box in Ulan Bator I take it?

    Go back to your constituencies and prepare for oblivion!

  5. Poor old St Vince! I always thought that his reputation as an economic whizz was based on one lucky question to Gordon Brown in 2005, where it seemed to me he was stating the bloody obvious. Brown couldn’t admit it because it was the basis of the New Labour economic miracle of no more boom and bust.

    That of course was the prerogative of the Lib Dems then. They could state the obvious, as they had no hope of ever having to put what they said into practice as a Government. Now of course they are waking up to find that being in government is not all that nice after all.

    St Vince’s halo has slipped right into his big gob and all that reputation built up over years has fizzled out in a matter of months. Now he looks like a stupid old prat, a liar and a turncoat!

    Obviously him, Moore and Davey are on a damage limitation exercise with voters in their own constituencies and that is why they are being so frank. Worried about their own seat on that gravy train after the coalition falls apart, no doubt. It probably never occurred to them that there would be the kind of sting waiting for them that they have seen so often happen to their Labour and Conservative colleagues. And so they are promising that they are not in agreement with the coalition at all and so on!

    Oh dear! I expected the next coalition wobble to come when the AV referendum falls flat on its face and when their representation in the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly is halved. But the Vince Cable wobble will suit very nicely as an early Christmas present! It seems he has to survive because he was right he can bring the coalition down. So he is being stripped of the power to wage war on “call me dave’s” mate Rupert and is losing 70 civil servants. One wonders that he wants to stay in that tent as an even more toothless item than he as before. Happy Christmas Vice, have the last dance on me!

  6. I beg your pardon the question asked by Cable was in Nov 2003 and it was:

    "Is not the brutal truth that ... the growth of the British economy is sustained by consumer spending pinned against record levels of personal debt, which is secured, if at all, against house prices that the Bank of England describes as well above equilibrium level?"

    How I bet Gordon Brown is laughing up his sleeve now. I heard someone describe Vince Cable as having gone from being Mr Bean to Mr Has been!

  7. Just been looking at Vince’s Wikipedia page and his foot in mouth incident is up there already. Such a shame to blot an otherwise glowing testimonial with a good big dose of reality. Dance on Vince!

  8. I note that Jeremy er.... 'unt has been given the job of regulating Mr Murdoch's bid.

    Clearly Mr Murdoch was on the phone to Andy Coulson demanding Mr ...Er....what's it. Mr Hmmmmm has made HIS feelings on the matter as clear as those of Mr Cable.

    He wants Mr Murdoch to have it.

    So, when he gets it, as he almost certainly will, the coalition will stand accused that it appointed the minister in charge at the behest of the purchaser.

    Oh dear, how awful to be so dependent on the Sun for your continued existence.

    Just imagine upsetting Mr Murdoch and finding that he was once again supporting Labour in England and the SNP in Scotland.

  9. If Cable had been a Conservative, he would have been out on his ear at once.
    His self regard appears to be limitless. He seemed to think that he alone could bring the government down. I am sure that the other Lib Dim ministers are all too fond of their salaries, red boxes and perks to follow him.

    The Lib Dem unique selling proposition has always been "We are NICE - not like those others". Contact with real responsibility has acted as a touchstone of truth to that fond assertion.

    One independent peer remarked this morning in disgust "Look at what Cameron did to Lord Young".

    It will all be building up a nice head of steam on the Conservative back benches.

  10. Rather silly of Mr Cable but have any of you commentators never minimised your faults and exaggerated your capabilities in order to try an impress a nubile young lady or two? I was going to say that the Telegraph are guilty of cable stitching but I don't post sad jokes.

    Incidentally, the picture of Cable reminds me that we "wee frees" frown on couples making love in a stand-up position in case any observer might think that they were actually dancing which we regard as generating lustful thoughts.

  11. I don't think that Cable's mistake is particularly galling on his own personal level, it merely shows the levels of corruption and poor organisation that the government is capable of. At least Cable has the balls to speak out of turn, though given that the government is a co-alition, that's not much good since they're trying to hard to convince the severely unconverted that they're not all biting at each other's ankles.
    At least they can find the time to block our ability to see their expenses though, otherwise the country might fall apart.

  12. Yes, it's true Mr S. Cable would have been gone if he'd been a Tory, which is why I query his continued presence in cabinet. What authority can he have now? He’s just a silly old man who was pretty impressed by two girls and wanted to show them he was big enough to spike the guns of Mr Murdoch, when we all know perfectly well that even God isn’t big enough to do that..

  13. Can I ask Mr Brownlie, if you are any relation to the other Mr Brownlie, who used to frequent this blog under the name of Brownlie?

    In any case, I bet we have all done the “I’m a big man” act. I most certainly have, but never when I was in the Cabinet...

    I think the problem is that people like the clever Dr Cable, who never expected in their wildest dreams to be cabinet ministers and as such never trained for the job at all, are just not ready for the challenge of people being out to get them.

    Vince, for example, as shadow finance minister was relatively unimportant, until he hit gold in the financial crisis and compared Mr Brown to Mr Bean... Nobody would have bothered with the expense of sending an undercover reporter to fool him into anything... now they have and he, as one of the pundits said, is Mr Has Been. How Gordon Brown must be laughing as he tours America and makes millions from his royalties.

    But now it’s all different. And it never occurred to Vince that it is so different. There really should be a course for Cabinet Ministers, but everyone is too busy dancing attendance on them they never get the induction.

    As for the rude picture. I apologise. Had I only known how it would offend your Wee Free sensibilities, I would have put a picture of ...erm.... something dour and miserable. My boss maybe.

  14. Mr S... I should have said that I agree with you. The explosion will probably come from disgruntled Tory back benchers...


    When do you reckon the next London general election will be?

  15. Well, I'm perfectly happy Laz, for the Liberals to speak their minds, but when they get into trouble from the headmaster and his deputy, I would hsve expected them to say "Stuff your job then" rather than "Sorry".

    NOTHING must ever come in the way of their expenses!!

  16. Does the fact that for the first time I can ever remember, the constitutency surgery of an MP has been violated by a journalist?

    Our representatives can't be expected to be straight talking with us - those they represent - ever again. Thanks a bunch Daily Telegraph, you've just made the cap between ruled and ruler ever more!

  17. Ask them to stick their tongues out to see how low they stoop. LJ's mandatory from October to April-May up here in the higher circles tris as we have to protect our medals!

  18. You make a good point Dean. But I think in fairness, that, at least as far as Vince was concerned the ladies went to speak to him about their child benefit. He could have been honest with them about that, but he started talking about using his powers to stab Mr Murdoch in the back. Now let's be honest, that's not a notion that fills me with any dread, but Vince shouldn't have been blowing off about it to pretty girls.

  19. Ah CH... I guess that a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do...

  20. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/conservative/8220360/Cameron-and-Osborne...-you-cant-trust-them-say-Lib-Dems.html

    There's yet more... and I'm guessing that Friday there will be even more!!

    The thing that sticks out is that wee Gideon is definately Billy Nomates...

  21. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/22/telegraph-journalists-sting-mps


    According to the Guardian, the journalists may have broken the law and may have to answer on several different charges.

    I reckon that they are probably pushing this a bit because the Telegraph has outdone them on the Wikileaks story.

    It's all a bit tabloid isn't it?

  22. Tris,

    I agree with you on that, all tabloid. Why discuss policies when you can try and push corporate agendas?

    And yep, the Telegraph has one, they have been wanting to destroy the coalition from the start - them and their journalists in this matter care little for the national interest.

  23. Fair point tris... would be nice to see Cable make good on his claims of being able to tear them down... Pretty sure he'd set himself up a sweet little position as national hero if he did.