The newspapers were quick to declare victory for the Liberal Democrats’ Vince Cable in last week’s “Ask the Chancellors” TV debate.
“The consensus tonight … is that ‘King Vince’ was the runaway winner of the first major televised debate,” said the Guardian.
The Independent newspaper gave him four stars, a clear winner.
Even the Sun had a “readers’ panel” fawning over Cable, with a cabbie praising his “radical ideas”.
Vince Cable is widely hailed as “the man who predicted the recession” and a wise economic head who can guide Britain out of it.
There is even wistful talk of him becoming chancellor—that is if some Guardian-reading woolly liberals achieve their dream of a “hung parliament”, handing the Lib Dems the balance of power.
But what the television debate really showed is how little difference there is between the parties on the issue of cuts.
They may disagree about when the cuts should fall, but all three agree that harsh cuts are needed.
The truth about Vince Cable—and the Lib Dems in general—is very different to the fluffy, friendly public image it tries to portray.
Cable was the chief economist for oil company Shell for two years.
He is firmly on the ultra free market wing of the party—represented by the “Orange Book” faction.
In the debate he even equated the Unite union’s funding for Labour with the Tories’ Lord Ashcroft, saying, “We are not beholden to either the super rich or militant unions.”
The reality is that the Lib Dems have no ties to, or interest in, the working class.
It is an opportunist party that will veer wildly left and right depending on what it thinks will bring the greatest electoral advantage.
So yes, it did oppose the Iraq war—until it began—and student top-up fees back in 2003.
But today it is pushing for “savage cuts” which are even harsher than those planned by the Tories.
The party’s record in local councils shows it will often form coalitions with the Conservatives to push through cuts.
Cable wrote in a flagship pamphlet, “If the pendulum swings, it may swing to a combination of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.”
And Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has refused to rule out a coalition with the Tories. He recently praised Margaret Thatcher’s “immensely significant” defeat of the miners.
The Lib Dems offer nothing for people looking for an alternative to the betrayals of the Labour Party and the vicious nastiness of the Tories.
They are a rum bunch of Thatcherite wolves in sheep’s clothing who don’t deserve a single working class vote.