Coffee House

Michael Fallon and Vince Cable join forces

9 September 2012

10:45 AM

9 September 2012

10:45 AM

Michael Fallon has given a pugnacious interview to the Sunday Telegraph. He said that Britain must end its obsession with the ‘politics of envy’ and celebrate wealth creators as ‘Olympian’. (I wonder what the minister makes of the Romford Business Awards, which are presented by his colleague Andrew Rosindell, the Conservative MP for Romford.)

As well as having venerated wealth, Fallon introduced several policy objectives: a new round of privatisation (Royal Mail being the first target), employment law reform to ease the dismissal of underperforming workers or where working relationships have collapsed, and a sustained attack on 3,000 regulations.


The Sunday Telegraph describes Fallon’s ideas as an ‘agenda pursued by Lady Thatcher’s government’; but, to this reader at least, Fallon seems to be operating within present coalition thinking. His employment law proposals seem to be an extension of what the Business Department has already suggested to empower employment tribunals and tighten unfair dismissal rules; they fall someway short of the controversial ‘no fault dismissal’ recommendation of the Beecroft report, which would allow employers to dismiss employees without providing a reason.

Vince Cable appeared on the Andrew Marr Show and endorsed Fallon’s views. Cable was also laying the ground for the imminent announcement of a new coalition industrial policy (trailed in detail by James Forsyth in today’s Mail on Sunday). Cable emphasised the need for a mixed economy, saying that the state had a greater role to play in securing lasting growth. He was clear that this does not require central direction or subsidy for failing businesses, but rather that Britain would learn the lessons of countries (he mentioned Germany, Finland and the United States) which have recognised the value of long-term planning and partnership with the private sector.

Even when Vince Cable is loyal, he is the focus of intrigue. Ed Balls was making dirty eyes at Cable across Andrew Marr’s casting couch, simpering that he wanted to work with ‘sensible’ voices within the coalition to foster economic growth. Balls was on the show to discuss Labour’s new idea: predistribution. Balls was not wholly enthusiastic, saying: ‘I’m not sure that predistribution is going to do it on the doorstep.’ And as ever with Balls, there was a shock of chicanery. A key part of predistribution is that old Ballsian canard ‘controlling unskilled migration’, which he first raised this during the 2010 Labour leadership contest. Now as then, Balls’s comments recall bolting horses as EU law, incorporated by the previous Labour government, prohibits such controls on EU citizens, who make up a large proportion of migrants. Predistribution was fun while it lasted.

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Show comments
  • De Souza Robinho

    margeret thatcher messed up uk killed manufacturing . uk kings of manufacturering in 80s need support like banks in 2010. thatcher we do no support private companies ony companies tories have shares in. The world banks moving to uk saved her ass. Now the banks have fallen off the pyramid scam. UK ARE BROKE. Thacher politics are great

  • De Souza Robinho

    dont give money to poor watch your centre close every idiot knows the rich dont spend their money the poor make the money go around . simple watch the the business close while the poor have no money

  • De Souza Robinho

    bring in the immigrants for your masters , we know how greedy politicians are . when the immigrants out vote your voters what will you do

  • michael

    ‘controlling unskilled migration’ -Which includes giving em each a 5k housing start-up allowance as they move into a fully furnished rental probably organised by their employer, + 3 to 4k payable to the relevant dealer for a car to get them to ‘unsociable’ shifts even though the are no doubt living over the shop.

  • Curnonsky

    Cable would be much more comfortable in a Politburo than a Cabinet.

  • MK

    Mr Fallon needs to stop confusing wealthy with wealth generators. Most ‘wealth generators’ are hard working SME owners and employees who are being taxed in to the ground to support a staggeringly large public sector.

    The party I had hoped would govern with moderation, consensus and common-sense are, sadly, lurching the right – only this time it is with 25 year old / failed ideology.

    The issue of tax on wealth needs to be discussed and it needs a sensible / progressive policy change.

    I strongly advise reading through the top comments on the Fallon article in the Telegraph – this new backbench appeasing post-reshuffle message is not selling.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    That Cable photo reminds me of the sort of bloke we used to hand over at Checkpoint Charlie.

  • Brian Lovett

    Balls and a length of Cable, says it all really….

  • anyfool

    Fallon was on Murnaghan on Sky, then Justine Green of Sainsbury’s came on, Murnaghan’s every question was angled to undermine what he had discussed with Fallon, Murnaghan must be angling for a job with the BBC when they put the oleaginous Neil out to grass.
    Other than that Fallon came across as someone who can handle the likes of them two slippery turds by reason of knowing what he is talking about.

    • dalai guevara

      Any fool would believe that going for some infighting in the business department would actually resolve anything.

      When QE has one-sidedly favoured the asset rich to keep hold of and grow their assets, and inequality is on the rise in both the US and UK (source: IHDI), then we finally grasp where the true problem lies.

      Address this issue and see the benefits for all, not just the top 1%.

      Love the headline btw, it cracks me up.

  • Bruce, UK

    Politics of envy?

    How in hell do you imagine Cable and Balls got where they are without it?