Village People: Is Cable a convert to the Mugabe method? Don't bank on it


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Compare this – "where action is needed to sustain demand, and it currently appears to be, the best instrument available is the expansion of money supply through quantitative easing", from a pamphlet published yesterday by the Business Secretary, Vince Cable – with this – "The big, looming, monetary issue is 'quantitative easing': that is, printing money. The Robert Mugabe school of economics provides a salutary warning about uncontrolled monetary expansion in generating hyper-inflation..."

The latter is from an article in The Independent on 8 January, 2009, by someone calling himself the "Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesman Vince Cable".

Daily Mail continues to haunt Neil Kinnock

Some people just cannot let their old vendettas be. During Neil Kinnock's eight grinding years as leader of the Labour Party he had daily abuse heaped on him by the Daily Mail, which cannot stop, almost 20 years later. Last week's headline was, "Will the Kinnock curse strike again? Former Labour leader's glamorous Danish daughter-in-law faces election defeat". A week has passed, and Neil Kinnock's glamorous daughter-in-law, Helle Thorning-Schmidt is Denmark's first female Prime Minister.

Government shows it cares about Libya's other lions

Our Government's commitment to the Libyan revolution knows no limits, as I see from a note tucked away in Hansard. The International Development Secretary, Andrew Mitchell, is "making enquiries" to ensure that there is food getting through to the "lions, tigers, hyenas, hippos, deer and monkeys" in Tripoli Zoo.

Lies, damn lies and...

A well-known fact about opinion polling is that the answers you get depend on the questions you ask. This has prompted David Lipsey, a former deputy editor of The Times who now heads the Straight Statistics campaign, to write a withering critique of the poll that produced the front page headline in his old paper this week, "Voters tell Ed Miliband: you're not set for No 10". This gave the impression that 63 per cent of those polled thought young Ed could not cut the mustard as a potential PM, which would be bad news indeed for Labour. Except that the question the sample was asked was whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement: "I find it difficult to imagine Ed Miliband running the country as prime minister." As Lord Lipsey pointed out, there could be any number of reasons for saying yes to this proposition, ranging from Ed Miliband is a wash-out to they cannot imagine anyone running the country because it's unrunnable. It might be completely irrelevant to mention that Populus, which conducted the poll, was set up by a group of former Conservative Central Office staffers, one of whom, Andrew Cooper, is now in No 10 advising the PM.

Ask a lengthy question, get a short answer

That adornment of the Westminster Village, Sir Peter Tapsell, 81, asked David Cameron a question at PMQs, which took in Indian nabobs, Edmund Burke, Lord Shaftesbury and Margaret Thatcher before coming to its essential point, which was why the US authorities have launched a swathe of prosecutions in the wake of the bank crisis while in the UK there have been none. "To answer your question directly," David Cameron replied, "if people break the law ... they should face the consequences." Which gives a whole new meaning to the word "answer".

The omnipresence of Vince Cable

Mark Pack, a Liberal Democrat with a nerd's eye for odd facts, has combed the Liberal Democrat fringe diary to compile a league table of MPs' speaking engagements. So far, so dull. What is much more entertaining is what Mr Pack calls "The Simon Hughes Memorial Prize for Multiple Simultaneous Fringe Booking". To quote from his blog: "There were numerous MPs who managed one, or more, double bookings. Special mention for daring double booking must go to Julian Huppert and Norman Lamb, both of whom have a double booking when in one of the slots they are down as the only speaker. Presumably they are hoping for ... long-winded questions that are so unclear that they can safely nip out, give a talk somewhere else and then return in time to give an answer. In fairness, evidence from past conferences suggests this is not an unreasonable hope. Vince Cable [has] an extra special triple booking where not only is he the only speaker listed at one of the events, the format is in fact him being interviewed."