Cable vs. Sky

Posted on December 21, 2010

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Revered by left and right-wing commentators, and seen by many as one of the most astute economic brains this country has ever produced, Vince Cable’s stock has suddenly plummeted after being duped by two Telegraph reporters posing as Liberal Democrat supporters. After approaching Mr Cable at his surgery in Twickenham, the journalists managed to extract many revelatory comments from the Business Secretary about fractions within the coalition government, his struggle to get tighter regulation on banks and, most interestingly, his admission that he has been waging ‘war’ on the media mogul Rupert Murdoch. The fall-out looks set to damage Mr Cable’s saintly reputation beyond repair after being condemned by Prime Minister David Cameron and his deputy Nick Clegg. Significantly, despite clinging on to his role as a cabinet minister, Mr Cable has now been stripped of the power to rule against Murdoch’s take-over of BSkyB.

Although he is guilty of tactless stupidity in so freely offering potentially damaging information to strangers, the essence of his arguments, and the precision with which he has chosen his targets, should be applauded. Surely the sight of a politician standing up against Rupert Murdoch and his quest to monopolise British media is something to be welcomed? Murdoch is already obscenely powerful – as seen so vividly in the run-up to the last general election – and any measures used to halt his mission of becoming an even more controlling figure are essential. I, therefore, applaud Mr Cable’s desire to derail Murdoch, even if his decision to disclose that information calls into question his ability to be trusted by cabinet peers. And by going head-to-head with his Conservative colleagues and arguing for tougher action on the banks, he is simply attempting to implement changes that the British public have desired for many months. In a coalition seemingly devoid of intelligence and integrity, Mr Cable is suffering for showing those very qualities.

Mr Cable was also quoted as saying that many of the coalition’s Conservative inspired policies were ‘not thought through properly’ and criticised the speed in which reform was taking place, suggesting he would rather see the process slow down whilst ministers take stock. Again, Mr Cable appears to be taking a stance more closely aligned to the average British taxpayer than any of his colleagues. Indeed, just when this country needs a man like Cable at full-flight, he has been shot down, handicapped in terms of his future influence.  Thanks to some pretty crass journalism on the part of The Telegraph, Mr Cable will forever be seen in a very different light to the one that has illuminated him in recent years, which wouldn’t be such a tragedy were he not so alone in offering some real human instinct in a government bereft of exactly that.

words by Robert Pollard

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Posted in: Politics