Why Vince Cable should be wary of Labour's advances

Comment

Opinion digest: Cable must learn from Clegg, Boris's golden moment, old-fashioned unions

LAST UPDATED AT 12:01 ON Tue 11 Sep 2012

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CABLE MUST LEARN FROM CLEGG’S MISTAKES

JOHN KAMPFNER ON LIB DEM LOVE-INS

Two years on from Vince Cable’s quixotic promise to take on the City’s “spivs and gamblers”, the business secretary is being kept at arm’s length by a Tory party that dislikes his politics and by a Lib Dem leader who suspects his motives, says John Kampfner in The Guardian. The dissenter may have seen his reputation enhanced by unintentional outbursts against the evils of Rupert Murdoch, but he would be advised to proceed carefully. His rebellious credentials have attracted a Labour olive branch, raising the tantalising but unlikely prospect of a future Lib-Lab coalition. Cable should know better than to blindly follow this prospect. If this coalition has taught us one lesson it is that the Lib Dems always pay dearly for placing too much trust in those who do not have their interests in mind. Cable needs to learn from his boss’s misguided Rose Garden love-in with Cameron and keep his distance from both Labour and the Tories.

BORIS JOHNSON STRIKES POLITICAL GOLD

RACHEL SYLVESTER ON CAMERON'S DANGEROUS RIVAL

David Cameron is hailing this as Britain’s “golden summer”, but it is Boris who has struck political gold in 2012, says Rachel Sylvester in The Times. While Cabinet ministers were booed at yesterday’s Olympic parade, London’s mayor received a warm welcome wherever he reared his ruffled head. Mounting speculation about a Boris return to Westminster will leave Cameron looking warily over his shoulder. After all, the British public sees the mayor as a breath of fresh air compared to a PM tied to a stuttering brand which now favours gloomy austerity over compassionate conservatism. Of course ‘Brand Boris’ has its weaknesses. Not only is there something phoney about his carefully constructed personal image, but he is also untested by the competing demands of national office. Yet the PM will need to rediscover the “winning brand” that brought him to power in the first place if he is to see off his rival.

UNIONS MUST MOVE BEYOND STRIKE ACTION

STEVE RICHARDS ON THE TUC CONFERENCE

Here we go again, says Steve Richards in The Independent, as the Trade Unions Congress (TUC) meets for its annual missed opportunity to move its agenda beyond strike action. Were they more politically astute, we could have awoken to headlines about their views on the demands of the changing workplace, or even how to make the public sector a more dynamic place to work. “No one can accuse union leaders of malevolent political subtlety,” writes Richards. “Instead, we get a stark message that will alienate the widest possible number of voters.” There is a nuanced case to be made against public sector cuts and pay freezes, says Richards, but this is not what the TUC is doing. Labour politicians, with their admiring eye on the modern approach of German and other northern European unions, will be bemoaning the blunt tactics of their British counterparts. The party’s relationships with the unions could yet be a significant vote loser. · 

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