First cracks: now Clegg needs to protect Cable
The Mole: Osborne makes clear that he not Vince Cable will be overseeing banking reform
We have the first signs of a glitch in the Lib-Con love-fest. George Osborne, the Chancellor, has been quick to put Vince Cable in his box, getting his friends to pass the word that the Treasury will remain in charge of banking policy and the financial services sector, not Cable's Business Department, thank you very much.
When Cable was appointed yesterday morning - one of the first roles in the coalition Cabinet to be announced - he was presented as Business/Banking Secretary. That 'stroke banking' was important and has clearly riled not only Osborne but his friends in the City.
Cable took a tough line on the banks throughout the financial crisis and again during the election campaign. He has advocated splitting up the big banks like RBS and Barclays and he wants pressure put on bankers to lend more cash. Finally, of course, he had demanded a clampdown on "fat cat" bonuses.
The City clearly wants him kept at arm's length. Let him do what he likes to improve UK trade, just as Mandelson did as Business Secretary under Labour, but keep your mitts off our money.
Chancellors have traditionally guarded the Treasury's authority zealously - none more so than Gordon Brown when he was at Number 11 - and after only a day in the job Osborne looks like continuing the tradition.
Nick Clegg may need to step in quickly and sort this out. Not only because it is important to the coalition that things run smoothly - or at least appear to run smoothly - between Osborne and Cable, but because Cable of all people must not be allowed to throw in the towel.
The Mole has heard mutterings ever since last Friday morning from Lib Dems who believe that the sidelining of Cable after the first TV debate - when Clegg suddenly stepped into the spotlight - was a key reason why the Lib Dem vote fizzled out.
Cable, as much as Clegg, was the party's trump card, they believe. It was his commonsense approach to the banking crisis that put him ahead of Darling and Osborne in poll after poll during the election campaign.
The Clegg-Cable double-act needs to be put back on track. In the long term, their relationship could be more important than the cutesy one developing between Clegg and Cameron. ·
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