X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week. If you receive it, you’ll also find your subscriber number at the top of our weekly highlights email.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.spectator.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050. If you’ve only just subscribed, you may not yet have been issued with a subscriber number. In this case you can use the temporary web ID number, included in your email order confirmation.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

If you have any difficulties creating an account or logging in please take a look at our FAQs page.

Coffee House

Cable and Fox tug at the Coalition’s centre

11 March 2013

9:11 AM

11 March 2013

9:11 AM

The leaders of both coalition parties are seeing ministerial colleagues and backbenchers trying to push them further way from the centre at present. Nick Clegg has Vince Cable continuing to push for what Ed Miliband might call ‘good borrowing’, telling the Today programme that he’d borrow to improve the economy, rather than to keep an inefficient economic model going. He said:

‘There’s borrowing for different reasons, and this was the point I was trying to make last week, that you can borrow simply to plug the hole in the deficit… The metaphor I’ve used which helps to explain it – there’s a difference between increasing your credit card in order to keep a gas-guzzling car on the road, and taking out a loan in order to get a more fuel-efficient car, and the latter is a more sensible form of borrowing. And that’s what, when people talk about capital investment, that’s what we mean. And those companies would make that distinction, and that’s a sort of healthy form of borrowing, providing you get good projects.’

Liam Fox, meanwhile, seems very excited about the speech he is giving this morning to the Institute of Economic Affairs, tweeting a photo of himself doing the final run-through. Funnily enough, he’s making similar attacks on the concept of ringfencing as Cable, although some of his other ideas might be closer to what the Business Secretary dubbed ‘some kind of ideological jihad against public spending and public services’.This is not Fox’s first intervention on the economy, and it won’t be his last, either. But it is a significant piece of positioning from a man who has worked extremely hard on relations with other MPs on the right of the party.

[Alt-Text]


By speaking before the Budget means that if Osborne delivers a statement that sets hares of disagreement and U-turn running around Westminster rather than a rabbit that keeps everyone happy, Fox can become a rallying figure for discontented Tory MPs. Remember the Budget is the next in the five key tests set by backbenchers – and the government has already failed the first two.

Those sitting in the Chamber will see the first signs of whether the Budget has worked as backbenchers watch the Chancellor deliver it. Last year there were certain announcements – the ‘granny tax’ being one of them – that MPs immediately spotted as being troublesome, and they started leaning towards one another to mutter about it. Too much of that quiet backbench muttering will suggest the Chancellor hasn’t kept things as steady as he’d hoped. All that those who don’t dream of an exciting coup this side of 2015 want is a ‘steady as she goes’ Budget with some gestures on the cost of living.

But the difference between these two groupings on either side of the leadership is that Clegg, as James explained in his Mail on Sunday column, is feeling secure against an attack from Vince. The Lib Dem conference this weekend showed that the biggest source of discontent comes from party activists, and the Liberal Democrats are becoming more like a party in government as they are starting to worry less about the long-term consequences of revolts from their members. But Cameron cannot feel quite so secure, given the febrile mood in his parliamentary party, and the number of senior figures setting themselves up as potential rallying points for when things get really rough.

Give something clever this Christmas – a year’s subscription to The Spectator for just £75. And we’ll give you a free bottle of champagne. Click here.


Show comments
Close