Vince Cable’s weakness for women (continued)
The Mole: Cable should do his sums again before boasting he’d be better off out of the cabinet
Holidaying Tory MPs who caught the The World at One on Radio 4 yesterday will have choked on their asparagus when they heard Vince Cable tell presenter Becky Milligan that he felt "comfortable" in the coalition cabinet, that it was unlikely he would be turfed out in a reshuffle ("I'm doing an important job of work") and, anyway, if he did lose his job, it would enable him to double his income, thank you very much.
This show of bravado comes, of course, after his comment last week that David Cameron was "very unwise" to make a speech about cutting non-EU immigration numbers and on the day Cable very publicly took on Cameron in the AV referendum campaign.
The Mole argued yesterday that Cameron has no need to sack his business secretary, so diminished a figure is he in the cabinet. While I'm not going back on that after his smug appearance on The World at One, it has to be said that the PM must be a very patient man indeed not to be tempted to chuck Cable out just for the hell of it.
Cable does, of course, have a weakness for showing off in front of women in the media. The honey-trap saga that got him barred from adjudicating on the BSkyB deal started with his boasting to two Telegraph reporters, posing as constituents, that he could bring the coalition government down with a click of his fingers.
Yesterday he could hardly contain himself as he showed off to Becky Milligan about how indispensable he is to the coalition cabinet.
But before he boasts again about doubling his income if he leaves the cabinet, perhaps Vince should do his sums.
He earns a tasty £135,000 a year (give or take a few bob) as a cabinet minister. This will go back to £65,700 a year if he returns to the backbenches. So, it doesn't need a team of researchers at the Treasury to calculate that to bring in double what he has been earning, he'll need to make £200,000 a year from books and speeches.
A year ago, when Cable was flavour of the month, and everything he said about the economy was treated as gold-dust by the media, that might have been easy. Today, Mr Right is getting it wrong on too many fronts and is not seen as the loveable rogue he once was.
Even his stance on AV is unpopular, based on today's Guardian ICM poll. This shows the No to AV campaign (that is, those arguing we should stick to first-past-the-post) is 16 points ahead of the Yes to AV campaign, with the referendum fast approaching on May 5.
That represents a serious collapse in the Yes to AV campaign which back in February was two points ahead in a similar poll.
And whose is one of the loudest voices in the Yes campaign? Vince Cable.
Anyway, Cameron has bigger political dinosaurs to deal with this morning. Namely Gordon Brown.
Speaking on the Today programme, Cameron indicated that he will seek to block any attempt by the previous prime minister to become head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the grounds, basically, Brown isn't good enough to replace Dominique Strauss-Kahn when he stands down.
"If you have someone who didn't think we had a debt problem in the UK when we self-evidently do have a debt problem," said Cameron, "then they might not be the most appropriate person to work out whether other countries around the world have debt and deficit problems."
Perhaps he'll push for Vince Cable to have the job instead? Just kidding.
Though the IMF salary of £270,000 is, coincidentally, exactly double the business secretary's current income. ·
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