The LDs would be fools to choose Cable over Alexander as shadow chancellor at GE2015

The LDs would be fools to choose Cable over Alexander as shadow chancellor at GE2015


There’s a little debate going on within the LDs over whether Vince Cable or Danny Alexander should by the party’s “shadow chancellor” at GE 2015. Both are cabinet ministers – Alexander is chief secretary to Treasury while Cable is the business secretary.

My old Oxford colleague and leading Lib Dem blogger, Stephen Tall, is arguing the case for Cable while others in the party say it should be Alexander. The latter are right for four main reasons:-

First the yellows need to differentiate themselves from the blues and having Alexander, a key part of the coalition for four years debating with Osborne would send out a much clearer message than letting Cable do it. Everybody knows where Vince stands and Alexander being critical of the blues would carry much more weight.

Secondly Alexander has worked closely with Osborne since May 2010 and knows where “the bodies are buried“. In fact he’s far better on the detailed numbers than George. It will be harder for Osbo to spin a line if he’s immediately contradicted by Alexander. Danny will act as a dampener on the chancellor.

Thirdly if there is any credit to be had for the recovery then Alexander is in a much better position to claim it for his party than Cable. Alexander’s presence would be a perpetual reminder that this has been a two party government.

Fourthly Alexander is probably more vulnerable in his constituency than Cable and the bigger his public profile the better.

Sorry Stephen – on this one you are wrong.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble

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