It was one of the most remarkable – and unsubtle – public attempts to sweet-talk a political rival in living memory. By the end of The Andrew Marr Show, Labour's Ed Balls had made no fewer than 12 first-name references to "Vince".
In return, the Liberal Democrat Business Secretary said he was "very happy to talk to Ed" – just as he was to his "Conservative colleagues" in the Government.
As the Liberal Democrat summarised his philosophy of combining centre-left principles with the promotion of a market economy, Mr Balls said: "Sounds right to me."
He gushed: "Vince has distinguished himself by always making the argument about what's right for Britain."
But Mr Cable played hard to get, telling him: "Flattery doesn't necessarily deal satisfactorily with the issue."
Mr Balls laughed at the brush-off as he knows "Vince" isn't available yet. But that could change in a hung parliament in 2015, with Mr Cable susceptible to Labour's overtures.Reuse content