Lib Dem conference: Vince Cable accuses Tories of stooping to 'dog-whistle politics' and being hostile to immigrants

Business Secretary devotes large sections of his keynote speech in Glasgow to assault on values and priorities of senior Conservatives

Deputy Political Editor

Vince Cable today launched a venomous attack on the Conservatives, accusing his Coalition partners of stooping to “dog-whistle politics” and being hostile to immigrants, benefit claimants and trade unions.

The Liberal Democrat Business Secretary attacked the blinkered “Tea party Tories”, scorned the party’s growing hostility to the European Union and tore into the “Tories’ friends and donors” whose greed triggered the credit crunch five years ago.

He devoted large sections of his keynote speech to the Lib Dem party conference in Glasgow to an assault on the values and priorities of senior Conservatives.

His comments will be seen as a barely-coded warning to Nick Clegg, the party leader, not to become too close to the Tories in advance of the general election and potential negotiations with Labour over going into power.

Many on the Lib Dem left suspect Mr Clegg of instinctively leaning towards the Conservatives, with whom the party has shared government over the last three years.

Mr Cable insisted it had been right to go into coalition with David Cameron in 2010 but claimed the Tories were now reverting to type following the recruitment of the Australian election strategist Lynton Crosby to advise them.

“We have got dog-whistle politics, orchestrated by an Australian Rottweiler, we have got hostility to organised labour, people on benefits and immigrant minorities.”

He accused the Tory party of disapproving of public sector workers, teachers, the unmarried and people who rented their homes.

“I think these prejudices can be explained in part by their age profile - I suspect I would qualify, not on ideology, but on age to be a member of the Young Conservatives.”

He claimed they were driven by a “simple calculation” that “competence requires callousness”.

Mr Cable told activists: “That is not our kind of politics. It is ugly and we will not be dragged down by it. That is why our Liberal Democrat message about fairness is absolutely key.”
He added: “We are not just a nicer version of the Tories. There are fundamental differences about how we create a stronger economy and more jobs.

“We are five years on from the biggest market failure of our lifetime. Financial capitalism collapsed and was rescued by the state.

“Labour was in charge, falling asleep at the wheel, and they were negligent. But the Tories’ friends and donors were also at the heart of the greed and recklessness that lay behind that disaster. They yearn to return to business as usual.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£17000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity is now ...

Recruitment Genius: Account Executive - Graduate / Entry Level

£22000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital advertising infras...

Recruitment Genius: European Sales Director - Aerospace Cable & Wire

£100000 - £125000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a top tier supplier to the...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Project Manager

£17100 - £22900 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the North West's leading...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral