The Storm by Vince Cable

John Vincent “Vince” Cable was born 9 May 1943 in York, England. He was the son of a working-class Tory, Len Cable, and his wife Edith. Len was a craftsman at the Rowntree chocolate factory while Edith packed chocolates for rival firm Terry’s. He is a British Liberal Democrat politician who has been the Secretary of State for Business, Innovations and Skills in the Conservative Liberal Democrat Coalition Government from 2010 to 2015. He has also been the Member of Parliament for Twickenham since 1997. Twickenham is a town in south west London on the River Thames in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, located 10 miles (16 km) southwest of the centre of London.

vinceCable studied economics at the University of Cambridge and the University of Glasgow, before becoming an economic adviser to the Government of Kenya between 1966 and 1968.  It was there he met his first wife, Olympia Rebelo with whom he had three children. He was was working and where Olympia had been raised by her Indian parents. He combined his time during his last days betwwen his responsibilities as an MP and as her carer. She died of cancer 2001. He re-married Rachel Smith in 2004.

Dr Vince Cable has held many posts prior to becoming an MP. After he worked in Kenya, he was economic advisor to the Commonwealth Secretary-General in the 1970s and 1980s and from 1968 to 1974 he lectured in economics at Glasgow University. Later, he served as Chief Economist for Shell from 1995 to 1997. In the 1970s Vince Cable was active in the Labour Party and became a Labour Councillor in Glasgow In 1982 he joined the Social Democratic Party. This later joined with the Liberal Party to form the Liberal Democrats. Cable’s experience in the industrial world have led weight to his financial and business views in political circles.

I found The Storm by Vince Cable in the non-fiction shelves of my local library. One of the many merits of Cable’s bestselling book about the crisis, is the author’s preference for explanation over blame. He also avoids the temptation to polemicise must have been huge, especially for a politician. Cable a Liberal Democrat refrains from denouncing his rivals’ mistakes, he allows himself only the occasional sardonic aside. That non-partisanship is admirable and rare. It helps explain why Cable is probably Britain’s most trusted politician and why the media sometimes defer to him as a commentator, as if he is above the fray.

However, The Storm, does have a clear agenda. Cable surveys the wreckage of ultra-free market capitalism with a the stormview to salvaging a more moderate, classical form of liberalism. He anticipates how the crisis will destabilise world trade and provoke nationalistic reaction and makes the case for open markets that are well-regulated but not state-managed. It is vital, he argues, that an alliance of liberals and social democrats seize the moment to reform capitalism. The alternative is a drift back towards the old, unstable laissez faire model and an inevitable illiberal backlash.

I found the breadth of Cable’s analysis extraordinarily clear, especially given how briskly he narrates. Pressure to pack so much into a slim volume does perhaps mean that he relies a little too heavily on economic jargon but he is right to avoid angry populism. As a political performer his style exudes the wisdom of moderation. So does this book, The Storm. I am neither a politician, nor an economist. However, This book was eminently readable. I enjoyed it very much and learned a lot from it. I highly recommend this book.

Valerie Penny

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1 Comment

  1. Reblogged this on normanjkennedy.

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