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Cheap Press or should Vince Cable go?

by Barry
Vince Cable at a Liberal Democrats meeting

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Was the Telegraph wrong to deceive Vince Cable, and other Lib Dem MPs to get quotes, or was it fair game and in the public interest?

Its a very interesting question, because on the face of it, i think the Telegraph journalists were bang out of order and they should not be doing such things.


Why on earth would Vince Cable unload himself onto two constituents that he did not know?  If it was constituents or party members he know and was overheard, then that would be more forgivable, but this just seems an odd thing to do.  It was either very clever questioning, or Vince’s ego was working overtime.

He has got off very lightly, as far as punishments go, maybe proving that he was right that he is the Nuclear warhead tot he coalition of he goes.  Cameron has been quite “open” saying that this shows that the coalition os working, IE that there is discussion and disagreement but they still deliver.  However I bet in private that the Prime Minister had a few choice words with his Deputy PM over this.

The winner has been the Murdoch empire, who can almost be guaranteed their growth in BSkyB, becuase if they are blocked, then they get to cry foul.

So, the Telegraph played dirty and on principle, I think that was wrong.  Their excuse is “public interest” and unfortunately they have been proven right.  Everyone can cry foul, but Vince could have kept his mouth shut and ego in check.


Lee Griffin December 23, 2010 - 8:33 am

When you look at what Cable actually said, I think it’s evident he didn’t believe he was saying anything that could be taken as bias. I’m still not convinced that he shows that he is unable to perform a duty of independent and impartial arbitration.

There is nothing wrong, at all, with MPs being full and frank with their constituents. We are the people that elect them and we are the people that need to hold them to account. I don’t have a problem with the news of what he said getting out, that’s part and parcel, but the way people (like yourself) have reacted only serves to do one thing… scare MPs off of speaking their mind and resorting to parroting the party line.

I already have a (Tory) MP who doesn’t respond to my letters with anything other than the head office approved statement, and this comes after years of the same from my Labour MP before her. I would *love* to have an MP like Cable that actually told me what he individually was thinking and doing as well as the stance of his party. We should applaud the Lib Dem MPs that are being honest to those they should be being honest to, not vilifying them.

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Joe K December 23, 2010 - 10:13 am

A few years, well, more than a few years back now, after my account on the GFM message board kept mysteriously disappearing, I went to a public surgery held by councillors Carol Francis and Sonia Friend, and an employee of Community Counts. I may have related this story before. The venue, IIRC, was what is now the Bartongate nursery. I was the only person to turn up, or at least, no-one else was there while I was. I asked some questions about the regeneration of Barton, engaged in a little chit-chat about the Trust Centre, and how it used to host Gloucester LETS markets before being refurbished (and the manager, Patrick Samson, leaving. He’s never been replaced). Just before I left, I mentioned, dead casual, like, the GFM boards, and that they weren’t currently working. Carol replied that they’d had to close them because someone kept joining ‘despite being banned’. I nodded politely and took my leave, rather than pointing out that I was that soldier, and rather than being banned, I had been told by the person in charge of the board, Dan Robinson (or DJ Calllide), on signing up again and sending him a PM, that it was a ‘computer glitch, mate’.

The point is that if I had told Carol Francis who I was, and why I was asking, I probably wouldn’t have got to the truth (I might have, to be fair to her, but it had already become pretty plain that at least one person working for GFM had told a complete porky, probably with the compliance of the management, so it wasn’t a certainty). People are on their guard when they think people have an axe to grind, and honesty tends to suffer, as when Eddie wouldn’t tell me when the managing committee of the Trust Centre asked him to make them a new web site, or even mention to me the fact that they’d asked (I was a trustee, and supposedly in charge of overseeing the creation of a new site). If he’d given me the date, and it had turned out to be days after I created the Barton & Tredworth Neighbourhood Partnership Facebook page, that would have been a strong indication that Mahmoud Patel and the rest of the committee were working behind my back because they didn’t want me having anything to do with the web site. But Eddie couldn’t tell a trustee and long-standing poster that.

My attitude to sharing information is simple. With the exception of my wife, I don’t tell anyone something I wouldn’t be happy to share with the public. That applies to conversations I have with anybody by email. Actually, technically, it applies to what I send to other people, not what they send me. No names, no pack drill, but I’m sure some correspondents share things with me that they wouldn’t want me blabbing to the world in general, so if it isn’t already public knowledge, I don’t. Harsh as it may sound, though, I’m realistic enough to know that at some point, someone I converse with, whether it be a campaigner, a councillor, a council worker or a police officer (or staff worker) is going to let something slip, so it doesn’t make sense to share sensitive info. Plus, it’s nice to able to say, after pointing out that someone has told a blatant lie, to the Charity Commission, say, that the accusation can be disseminated freely. I’m as open and honest as can be, not because I have no secrets, but because I never have to worry about who knows what. Full disclosure, very good for peace of mind.

As for Cable, he should have known a hell of a lot better. The excuses being made don’t wash, a senior politician knows not to make such things public. Is it being principled to reveal that you are in position to make an unbiased judgement, but not step down from your post? This was more than saying ‘I disapprove of Murdoch, but…’, Cable announced an effective jihad against News International. And yes, he wouldn’t have survived if he wasn’t too important to sack, but he’s a bit more sackable now…

‘The winner has been the Murdoch empire, who can almost be guaranteed their growth in BSkyB, becuase if they are blocked, then they get to cry foul.’

This sounds a tad naive, Barry. Do you really think this government would let an outcry of any kind stop them doing what they want to do? With Hunt in charge of the decision now, they will weather any questioning of it.

Joe K December 23, 2010 - 10:14 am

Guess I missed a slash/stroke after ‘anybody’…

bazkirby December 23, 2010 - 1:21 pm

Nope, just got a bit entusiastic with opening it again 😉 Have edited it for you

bazkirby December 23, 2010 - 1:41 pm

And Hunt has a track record of projecting a balanced view when it comes to Murdoch, doesn’t he 😉

Joe K December 23, 2010 - 1:55 pm

Cheers, Barry 🙂

Hunt is a separate issue from Cable’s gaffe, or at least a side issue.

Joe K December 23, 2010 - 6:21 pm

Just reading back, and I see that should have been ‘Is it being principled to reveal that you are in no position to make an unbiased judgement’.

In passing, ‘Hunt & Cable’ would make a rather edgy double act…


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