Vince is in the news. Again. And I mean that in a good way: I had a go at him for the unfortunate Mein Kampf comment a little while back, but since then, he has nary put a foot wrong. There’s an article in the Guardian from a couple of days back entitled, “Vince Cable: PM seeking a Tory-Labour coalition to achieve hard Brexit”, which is exactly the sort of headline a Lib Dem leader (I know he’s not leader yet, but still) should be attracting.
His comment about there being “something inherently implausible about a modern party competing for government on a programme of Venezuelan socialism” in regards to Corbyn was the kind of thing I always wished that Tim Farron would say about the Labour leader, but could somehow never bring himself to. The Lib Dem approach to Brexit did not electorally work under Tim for a variety of reasons, but a major one that came back to wallop the party was the reluctance to go after Corbyn and furthermore, to call out his support for hard Brexit whenever possible. As a result, Labour attracted the Remain votes a lot of Lib Dems thought they had in the bag.
What is interesting about this is that Farron started his political life in the Liberal Party, whereas Vince was Labour to begin with. Yet it starts to make sense when you consider the fact that Vince has first hand recollection of how brutal the SDP split was, something that makes him understand inherently the vicious side of the hard-left. Considering that many on the left of the Lib Dems have always had a hankering for Vince as leader, this puts his already outspoken critiques of Labour into an interesting light. Some like to forget that Vince had a chapter in the Orange Book.
Already the Lib Dems are getting more cut through on the Brexit issue than ever took place under the Farron period. That’s good – but the party still has a lot of problems to work through. But at least I’m starting to think maybe Vince will be better than I had expected.