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Amol Rajan

Amol Rajan is Assistant Editor on the Comment desk at The Independent. He was previously a news reporter and Sports News Correspondent, and writes columns for The Liberal and The Salisbury Review.

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How Cable is spooking Tory grassroots

Posted by Amol Rajan
  • Thursday, 9 April 2009 at 10:48 am
Vince Cable has written a marvellously lucid book called The Storm, which I shall review here presently.

Over on the ConservativeHome website, Philip Dunne MP has put up a post with the headline: "There's nothing invincible about Vince".

This states the obvious, of course. 

And reading through the rather flimsy evidence Dunne provides, it soon emerges that the post is really an attack on the Liberal Democrats rather than their Treasury spokesman.

The Tories are spooked by Dr Cable, which is why they're caught between showering him with praise (as Alan Duncan has) and trying to launch a counter-attack, as this post and various musings by Iain Dale, such as this, both show.

This is as much about George Osborne as it is about Dr Cable.  Tories know how lacking in gravitas Osborne seems to the public.  They ought to ask themselves if Osborne could have written The Storm himself.  If they're honest with themselves, they won't like the answer.



Osborne Gravitas
jaded63 wrote:
Thursday, 9 April 2009 at 11:39 am (UTC)
Much as I admire Vince Cable, I don't see Osborne as lacking gravitas. I have been very impressed with his performances in the Commons and on television. He is very lucid, has a very strong grasp of his arguments, and always seems to me to be very persuasive.
Sixth Form Gravitas
unclehohoho wrote:
Thursday, 9 April 2009 at 04:04 pm (UTC)
Osborne possess all the gravitas of a fumbling upper sixth form debating society hopeful - constantly in awe of the "cool" boys and embarrassed about being a bit posh but a bit dim.

Cable, on the other hand, could easily be Osborne’s headmaster and head of the economics department, to boot.

2 illustrations of the differences between Cable and Osborne:

1. The "Latest News" section of Osborne’s web site ( leads with a finger-on-the-pulse up-to-the-minute article entitled "Christmas Message 2008".

The News Section of Cable's web site ( leads with 2 stories from April 2009.

2. Cable's web site includes a full breakdown of his 2007-2008 Expenses. 2008-2009 are not finalised yet.

Despite a long and rambling article entitled "It's Your Money", Osborne’s web site strangely omits to even hint at the scale of his parliamentary expenses. Such transparency and openness from the Shadow Chancellor is errr refreshing, or maybe not.
Re: Sixth Form Gravitas
brumbar wrote:
Friday, 10 April 2009 at 10:22 am (UTC)
You are absolutely right. The difference in content between these two sites really does say it all.
bob_irving99 wrote:
Thursday, 9 April 2009 at 07:11 pm (UTC)
Why is this post tagged with "cricket"? Politics is more like table tennis!!
Lightweight double act
red_planet92 wrote:
Friday, 10 April 2009 at 02:07 am (UTC)
My impression is that Osborne and Cameron both come across as lightweight to most people. But there are now so many reasons NOT to vote Labour that a lot of voters are prepared to put a peg on their nose and tick the Tory box.

Tory lightweights
49niner wrote:
Friday, 10 April 2009 at 04:42 am (UTC)
The Tories have been greatly spooked by the current crisis. They have no solutions, and the charge that they are the "do nothing" party will stick when the election campaign starts for real. They are good at pointing the finger at Gordon Brown, an easy target, but people with memories pre-1997 know how hopeless the Tories can be at economic management.

Vince Cable has gravitas because he has held senior posts in business, not least as senior economist at Shell. George Osborne has held nothing of the sort. He's articulate because of the silver-spoon education he's received. But he's nick-named "Boy George" for a reason. In political terms he's hardly out of short trousers.

The Tories may well become the next government, though is far less of a shoe-in than people suppose. But they may regret what they wish for, as the next government will have a very large mountain to climb. A Tory Shadow Cabinet clearly lacking in star-quality, experience and gravitas will struggle in government.

And the Liberal Democrats will not go away. Vince Cable gives them gravitas, but their Front Bench as a whole is probably more able collectively than the Tories. With the exposure an election campaign gives, expect the Liberal Democrats to do better than the pundits are currently predicting. The Tories know this is so which is why they are attacking Vince Cable now.
rayatcov wrote:
Friday, 10 April 2009 at 11:42 am (UTC)
I would be inclined to agree that probably the only one of the three main parties I would trust is Mr Cable, however, when you mention Mr Osbourne I must submit the following:-
Shadow Chancellor George Osborne has been working with Demos over the past 6 months on a series of seminars on the ‘post-bureaucratic age’.
How can the Tories be working with a pro-labour think tank established and supported by Blair?
bgarvie wrote:
Saturday, 11 April 2009 at 07:59 am (UTC)
Ossie has made some very astute judgements and has proved to be right. He has been the subject of smear campaign, instigated by No 10 'spin quacks' and has come through with flying colours. Many in the electorate support him for his forthright views and are prepared to trust his judgement. He has a refreshing approach and has some excellent ideas. He will only be ablt to catagorically implement policies when he has seen the diabolical state of the 'books at the Treasury'.Those that have, what can only be described as an incorrect perception should listen carefully to what he says and learn before they pontificate about subjects they patently know little about.Despite the torrid dysfunctionality at No 10, Ossie has much support amongst the electorate.


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