11 Jan 2011

Clegg begins to play Cable’s tune

The bank bonus cave-in is the latest set-back for Vince Cable.

He’s long thought that the Chancellor was too easily intimidated by the banks’ threats  to up and leave the UK if the pressure got too much for them.

There is another round of meetings between Vince Cable, George Osborne and the bank bosses starting next week but it is focusing on transparency and lending with the towel pretty well thrown in on trying to change bonus policy.

Listening to Bob Diamond a moment ago in front of the Treasury Select Committee saying he wouldn’t dream of relocating Barclays’ headquarters from London, Vince Cable might feel vindicated.

And Vince Cable might be feeling vindicated on another front – Nick Clegg’s shift of tone and style on how he defends the Coalition.

Rachel Sylvester writes about it in The Times today. I  detected it in Oldham when I distinctly felt Nick Clegg was pointing at the trophy cupboard of Lib Dem policy gains more than he used to. It’s nothing revolutionary but it marks the second shift in tactics.

After the Budget, Nick Clegg’s team sensed the Lib Dems had not looked like they owned the strategy and were an add on. So in the run-up to the Spending Round and especially in his Conference speech, Nick Clegg took total ownership of everything the Coalition did and refused to show a glimmer of light between his views and the Tories.

Vince Cable offered a very different type of speech which did more than nod towards a separate Lib Dem identity and now Nick Clegg is  edging towards that approach.

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