Coffee House

Eeyore Cable undermines George Osborne by echoing his comments on the economy

11 September 2013

8:47 AM

11 September 2013

8:47 AM

Poor Vince Cable. He just can’t help but brim with joy about the economy. He’s often spotted skipping across Parliament square to the Business department, humming ‘Oh, Happy Day!’ under his breath at the latest set of GDP figures. George Osborne and Cable’s Tory colleagues are always having to tell Vince to calm down a bit: he doesn’t want to seem too complacent about the clouds lifting from the economy.

But even such a joyful Lib Dem as Dr Cable must have been a little dispirited to read that everyone has written his speech this morning up as an attempt to undermine George Osborne. ‘I think George Osborne’s comments the other day were spot on!’ he told the Today programme a few minutes ago, puzzled that anyone should infer anything else from a speech just two days after the Chancellor’s address in which he will warn against complacency on the economy. It’s not as though the Labour party likes to slip ‘complacency’ into conversation as often as possible, after all. Fortunately, no-one has yet tried to dent his joyful demeanour by also suggesting that perhaps he’s trying to undermine his own boss Nick Clegg, who on the same day said ‘the clouds are lifting’ and the ‘sinews’ of the economy were starting to grow again.

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Cable told Radio 4:

‘I think George Osborne’s comments the other days were spot on. I think some of the reactions to the new over the last few weeks have sort of somehow suggest that we’re out of this dark, long tunnel and until we get very sustained investment, a commitment to industrial building up exports over a long period of time we will not have solved the problem, that’s the point I’m trying to emphasise.’


Perhaps the Business Secretary was so happy on Monday that he didn’t notice the very cautious terms in which the Chancellor couched his speech. Sure, George Osborne used it as an opportunity to say that his critics were wrong. But he also made very clear that this was only the start, not the finish line:

‘The economic collapse was even worse than we thought. Repairing it will take even longer than we hoped. But we held our nerve when many told us to abandon our plan. And as a result, thanks to the efforts and sacrifices of the British people, Britain is turning a corner. Many risks remain. These are still the early stages of recovery. But we mustn’t go back to square one. We mustn’t lose what the British people have achieved. This is a hard, difficult road we have been following. But it is the only way to deliver a sustained, lasting improvement in the living standards of the families of this country.’

Cable said his speech was aimed more at ‘some of the reactions to the news’ than George Osborne. But the effect of following a clouds-are-lifting speech, no matter how packed with caveats, with a be-careful speech is to suggest that the first speaker was getting a bit ahead of himself and needs to calm down. Which is clever, because both men have managed to say roughly the same thing

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Show comments
  • Mynydd

    Please, Mr Osborne’s speech was not about the economy, it was a free-to-air party political broadcast. What surprised me, what he didn’t say, he didn’t say, we are paying down the debt, which Mr Cameron said in that other party political broadcast. One can only conclude that at the top of government there is a major split between Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne over the National Debt, Mr Cameron wants to lie about it, whereas Mr Osborne keep on telling him there is no need to lie, the thick voters don’t understand the difference between debt and deficit, anyway we’ll just keep on blaming Labour it’s worked so far, and 2015 is a long way off. Crosby and the spin doctors will sort ant lies out.

  • itdoesntaddup
  • Abhay

    I think in the 1st seven minutes, when the economy was discussed, Cable came across as mature and level-headed. The interviewer on the other hand came across as a condescending media-pimp who thinks he knows more than he does.

  • asalord

    Eeyore Cable undermines Piglet Osborne

  • dalai guevara

    “humming ‘Oh, Happy Day!’ under his breath at the latest set of GDP figures”

    When Jesus washed
    (When Jesus washed)
    When He washed
    (When Jesus washed)
    When He washed
    (When Jesus washed)
    My sins away, yeah
    (Oh, happy day)

  • David Booth.

    And that Telemachus speaks volumes on your judgement.

  • David Booth.

    Col Mustard – No doubt Yoda is now seeking advice from My Learned Council to defend his good name following your scurrilous comparison !

    • telemachus

      “Yes, a Jedi’s strength flows from the Force. But beware of the dark side. Anger, fear, aggression; the dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will, as it did Obi-Wan’s apprentice.”
      *
      Remember it was the dark force that made the comparison

      • Colonel Mustard

        To the moral kangaroo court and pejoratives back to you are again. Impoverished of intellect you are.

        • telemachus

          “forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will”
          Yes you

          • Colonel Mustard

            Nah, this is just an idle pastime for me, not the full-on soviet authoritarian zealotry you and your kind represent, e.g. anger towards UKIP, fear of UKIP and aggression towards UKIP.

            Didn’t you see the anger, fear and aggression demonstrated towards Farage in Edinburgh? Or did you turn the same blind eye the BBC uses?

            The expression you are full of . . . springs to mind.

            • telemachus

              On the contrary, I find Farage to be a personable fellow who spices up political life
              But the disciples and other hangers on could destroy everything I know

              • Colonel Mustard

                But your comrades in UAF and a hundred other collectivised outrage production facilities do not agree. For once you significantly use ‘I’ rather than the presumptive ‘We’.

                • telemachus

                  Nigel is one of the few politicians with whom I could sink a jar

                  “In his very rare spare time he likes fishing, country sports and traditional English pubs”

  • David Booth.

    Care? Perhaps the good doctor needs to be in-care.

  • David Booth.

    With colleagues like “Dr”Cable you certainly don’t need enemies.
    This man is as he looks: A bitter twisted model for a garden gnome.

    • Colonel Mustard

      He is Yoda’s thick younger brother on steroids.

    • telemachus

      Or perhaps one of the few in the Coalition that care

      • David Booth.

        Care Telemachus ???
        Perhaps the good doctor needs to be in-care.

        • telemachus

          I would much prefer Cable at Health than Smug Hunt

  • Hello

    Cable so desperately wants to be credited with the recovery, doesn’t he…but should he be credited for anything, has this cheeky chappy been an influential man?

  • telemachus

    “clouds-are-lifting” complacency
    *
    Ed Balls will give you the real story on 22 September
    *
    Those up to the bracing Bighton air will hear how Osborne turned the growing recovery into the double dip recession
    And how ongoing policies are costing billions by slowing down growth and therefore potential tax returns
    Thus needing to claw back from the disabled and poor

    • Hello

      According to Gavyn Davies (http://blogs.ft.com/gavyndavies/2013/09/04/clouds-lifting-over-the-uk-economy/):

      “According to Fulcrum Asset Management’s statistical system, which tracks all of the available data sources and combines them into a single composite indicator of activity, economic growth in the third quarter is running at an annualised rate of 4.5 per cent, the highest rate seen since the booms of the 2000s and the 1980s”

      If that assessment is correct, and it seems plausible enough given recent economic data, then I don’t think that the Bank of England would allow the economy to grow any faster…thus “ongoing policies” cannot be “slowing down growth”.

      • telemachus

        Yes
        We have seen single quarter booms before
        We have suffered 3 years of contraction, the effects of which have been bourne by the poor
        We want no more of it

        • HookesLaw

          ‘We have seen single quarter booms before…’

          Yes, just before the 2010 general election.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            …and the one Boy George is trying to pump up right now.

          • realfish

            Paid for by £40bn additional borrowing.

            • Mynydd

              Sorry the latest figure is £60bn and you are not allowed to call it additional borrowing. After all Mr Osborne has got all is sums wrong, another typo error I mean right all along.

      • HookesLaw

        Yes, but I do not think we should expect a sudden rebound of growth to continue. We should expect it to settle back.

        • Hello

          No, we should expect it to run at somewhere between 3% and 4.5% for several years until the output gap is closed.

        • Mynydd

          But Mr Osborne has inferred that growth will continue to rise for ever and a day.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Don’t forget the karaoke. We will hear plenty of that too.

      But I’m surprised Labour are being allowed to get away with the discriminatory sexism of a “National Womens Conference” when what a country being swamped and destroyed by strident left-wing feminism really needs is probably a National Mens Conference before it is too late.

      • telemachus

        The reasonable and the caring also have fun ( that does not involve whips and chains )

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