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Vince Cable is leading the debate again

September 16, 2009

observer-columnWhilst people are still suffering the effects of the recession, Labour and the Conservatives are engaged in a war of words – manoeuvring about how they will spin the next General Election.

On Tuesday, Vince Cable, the Lib Dem Shadow Chancellor, launched his pamphlet for the ‘Reform’ think-tank, outlining in the most specific terms of any party to date, just how we should support Britain’s fragile economy, and how we can start to put right the economic havoc wrought over the last months.

In the days leading up to the Lib Dem Party Conference in Bournemouth, Vince has shown once again that it is the Liberal Democrats that have the intellectual muscle to make positive proposals in the pursuit of progressive goals.

At the launch of the report (entitled, ‘Tackling the fiscal crisis – a recovery plan for the UK’) Vince said,

“The time for generalities is over. Instead, we need serious proposals for cutting public spending and tackling the UK’s budget deficit.

“The priority is to move the economy out of recession, but there is also a need to restore fiscal credibility and to allow government to focus its resources where they are most needed.

“We need to debate when, how and where the cuts will come.

“Undoubtedly more are required to meet the exacting fiscal disciplines but asking the British public for their vote at the next election means being upfront from the outset about what government should and should not be spending its money on.”

As someone who has been a public sector employee for most of his working life, I admit to being annoyed that the inevitable savings that will have to be made there have not been prefaced by my party with a renewed attack on the private sector mismanagement that has led to the current economic state of affairs. In Vince’s defence, he has clearly (and as always) wanted to stick to the figures and debunk any accusations of spin.

It used to be a lazy jibe from the other two parties that Liberal Democrat policies were not costed, and should therefore be ignored.

With his pamphlet, Dr Cable has finally put this to bed, and has challenged Labour and the Conservatives to say exactly how and where they will make the ‘spending constraints’ alluded to by Peter Mandelson this week.

The three main parties have agreed that radical action is needed to bring us out of recession. Labour and the Conservatives must now follow Vince’s lead, so that the electorate can make an informed choice about putting taxpayers’ money where politicians’ mouths are.

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