This morning it emerged that Julia Goldsworth, the Lib Dems’ communities’ spokesman, who nominally supervises local taxation, knew nothing of the mansion tax until hearing it announced over the radio. The Guardian’s Allegra Stratton writes that Goldsworthy’s disclosure proves that Clegg and Cable run a ‘duopoly on leadership’. Cable is not as popular within his party and resentment is building on the frontbenches. Andrew Neil reports that a private meeting of Lib Dem MPs rounded on Cable and his “suicidal” mansion tax. Also, Stratton was informed by one frontbencher that “Clegg will have to sack Vince” after the election.
Cable has begun to resemble the court’s jester rather than its grand vizier. As Sam Coates points out in today’s Times, Clegg is copping a lot of flak and will be wary that he’s not immune from a parliamentary party that’s developed the taste for blood-letting. The Liberal Democrats’ need for publicity means that Clegg cannot sack Cable the household name; but, with Cable’s credibility unravelling, Clegg could clip the ‘Sage of Twickenham’s’ wings and lead alone.