As I wrote when reviewing Free Radical:
Vince Cable’s memoirs do much to explain both the praise and the criticism he has received. At one point he writes how “I am often asked why I am not party leader…”. Conceit or modesty? You can read that comment either way and it is easy to see why he produces such different views.
Views differ too over quite where on the political spectrum Vince Cable should be placed. As left-wing former Labour councillor with a line in anti-City rhetoric? Or a keen believer in free markets who wanted to abolish the Department of Trade and Industry? Cable himself admits the contradiction, pointing out how during his time working at Glasgow University and serving as a Labour councillor in the city he was arguing for socialism in the council chamber whilst teaching the virtues of free markets in the lecture hall.
The ambiguity of his political positioning is nothing new, and the book traces its origins to his time as an economist working on development issues in Africa. Cable eloquently recounts how that left him with a passion for improving society mixed with a distaste of the corruption and waste that can flow from centralised government planning and diktat. Crony capitalism as much as communism attracts his scorn.
It’s a fascinating read, and – if you’re not yet a reader of my monthly email newsletter Liberal Democrat Newswire – you can with an autographed copy of his memoirs.
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