Free Radical, By Vince Cable

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The Independent Culture

Vince Cable's tendency to ponderousness in this memoir can be excused by the sheer likeability of the man, as well as the integrity with which he approaches his chosen profession – one not currently associated with either of those qualities.

The Lib Dem MP-cum-coalition Business Secretary is also extremely modest about his predictions of financial meltdown, and being hailed as having "gifts of foresight that Nostradamus might have envied". On the contrary, he says, he "laboured for a decade and developed some expertise in a field that other politicians had judged to be too complicated, boring and potentially unrewarding".

That field was economics, and after a period lecturing in Glasgow and working for the Foreign Office, Cable joined Shell to look at impending issues such as environmentalism and China's growing financial and industrial clout. He doesn't regret those years, he says, and clearly they helped to shape his financial view.

There is no post-election coda, however ("the Conservatives... have little conviction or purpose beyond personal ambition"), so we'll have to wait for volume two to find out what he really thinks of the coalition.