How seriously should we take this?

How seriously should we take this?

On the Betfair next chancellor market the Lib Dem treasury spokesman, Vince Cable, has moved into the favourite slot after speculation by the Mole Column in the First Post that he could be the next chancellor. As of the time of posting he was at 2.15/1. Wow.

The Mole, who I generally quite rate, writes: “..Would Brown do it? Those advancing the idea reckon that his current mantra that he will do “whatever it takes” is a political as well as an economic statement. And he has form in this area..In the salad days of his administration, as he sought to fulfil his promise of creating a Government of All the Talents (GOAT), he offered a Cabinet post to former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown. He was rebuffed after Ashdown consulted the Lib Dems’ acting leader – Vince Cable. They reckoned it was born of pure political calculation.”

The big question would be how the Lib Dems and Cable himself would respond. You could see Vince very much liking the idea but it would cause real problems for Nick Clegg. The last thing the Lib Dems need to do is to be seen to be propping up a lame-duck Labour government.

Maybe it could be part of an overall package that includes things like electoral reform – but that would do little to put sticking plaster over the splits that this would create in the Lib Dems.

We shall see. My view at the moment is probably not – but Brown has shown that he can surprise us.

Mike Smithson

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