Listening to Vince Cable's speech

  Forum Editor 19:57 22 Sep 2010
Locked

today I found myself wondering whether he had forgotten that he is the government's business secretary - it's his job to encourage and promote British businesses.

"I make no apology for attacking spivs and gamblers who did more harm to the British economy than [transport union leader] Bob Crow could achieve in his wildest Trotskyite fantasies, while paying themselves outrageous bonuses underwritten by the taxpayer.
There is much public anger about banks and it is well deserved."

Come on Vince, we're not stupid, we know a deliberate crowd-pleaser when we hear one - time to stop behaving as if there's an election coming up, and concentrate on delivering, rather than blustering.

Time to start remembering that overseas investors might think twice about bringing their money here if they read about a member of the cabinet ranting about British businesses as if they are being run by a bunch of shady scrap metal dealers.

Downing street has apparently said it was 'relaxed' about his comments, which only serves to make me less than relaxed about the judgement of the people who are running the country.

  morddwyd 20:39 22 Sep 2010

Totally agree, and thought exactly the same as I listened to the speech.

With every day that passes this coalition shows its inexperience with power.

Obviously we all have to gain experience somehow, no matter what the job, but most of us have enough sense to keep our ears open and our mouths shut until we can at least pretend we have some idea what is going on

  sidecar sid 20:42 22 Sep 2010

"On banks, I make no apology for attacking spivs and gamblers who did more harm to the British economy than Bob Crow could achieve in his wildest Trotskyite fantasies, while paying themselves outrageous bonuses underwritten by the taxpayer. There is much public anger about banks and it is well deserved."
Is actually what Vince said.Hardly an attack on British business as a whole.
Speech in full here.
click here

  Strawballs 21:35 22 Sep 2010

Even members of the government are admitting it has a lot to do with the banks

  bri-an 22:22 22 Sep 2010

"..as if they are being run by a bunch of shady scrap metal dealers."

This would probably be a fair description if you had said it about banks - as sidecar sid said, it wasn't 'businesses' Cable was talking about, just banks.

  Forum Editor 22:40 22 Sep 2010

just banks"

Ermm... what are banks, if not businesses then?

I'm well aware that Vince referred specifically to banks - it says so in the quote that I posted. Banks are businesses, and Vince is the UK business secretary, he has a very great deal to learn about what you do and do not say when your country is in economic difficulties and you want to attract overseas investment. What you don't do is stand up at a party conference, with foreign TV crews in the room, and call your country's bankers 'spivs and gamblers' - the very people who are trying to attract said foreign business.

We need confidence in the businesses that operate in the City of London's financial sector more than Vince seems to realise, and the fact that he obviously doesn't realise it is deeply disturbing.

I predict a short shelf life for Vince, unless he grows up very rapidly, and starts appreciating what a finely balanced and fragile thing financial market confidence is.

  Strawballs 22:52 22 Sep 2010

Everybody sugar coating and scared to tell the truth for fear of upsetting the markets means they will keep getting away with it knowing they can't be allowed to go under any other buisness that fouled up in such a big way would not be bailed out with billions of taxpayers money it would be left to collapse and die with it's management called useless.

No I applaud Vince for having the courage to stand up and tell the truth.

  flycatcher1 22:56 22 Sep 2010

Vince Cable has reinforced my long held opinion that Proportional Representation does not provide sensible Government.
The small number of Lib Dems have power in the Coalition far in excess of their National Support.Just a shame the First Past the Post did not work this time.(whoever would have won is immaterial at least we would have had a positive result).

Cable spoke as though he was talking as a Lib Lab, lately Labour Councillor, politician and not as a responsible Minister in a Coalition Government. I think that this Cable is a bit twisted and I hope that someone will straiten him out.

  bri-an 08:12 23 Sep 2010

"Ermm... what are banks, if not businesses then?"

Ermm...one could say "All banks are businesses, but not all businesses are banks".

I'm not convinced by the 'foreign TV crews' argument. Surely all around the world people are now somewhat contemptuous regarding banks - it wasn't just British ones that caused the mess (although to hear many people on here it was one man to blame, and he wasn't even a banker!!).
So if Cable speaks his mind, he is to be respected - at least he's had experience of working in business, which is more than many in the Cabinet?

  Al94 08:50 23 Sep 2010

In my opinion and experience Vince Cable is absolutely correct, I wouldn't be concerned in the short term about the potential effect of what he said. The issues aired need to be highlighted and addressed in an attempt to reform thye banks and get "the right sort of people" in to the top jobs in future.

Before retirement I worked for a bank that is now part of a large UK Bank that has been bailed out. Many years ago, the directors and heads of departments were decent honourable respectable people who in the main had worked their way up through the organisation. They were prudent, cautious individuals generally and whilst not seen as "risk takers" would be very supportive of good business cases and the character of the borrower was usually a substantial factor in decisions. The banks were all profitable and there were no extremes of profit or bonuses.

This all gradually changed especially in the last 15 years. The "new breed" were often seen as corner boy types who hung around with businessmen of questionable character and background, wheeler dealer types. I know bankers who were often challenged "why aren't you doing business with x or y" and if they responded that they wouldnt let them in the door for whatever reason were ordered to get close to them and try to secure business.

Severe pressure was heaped on front line lenders to achieve challenging lending targets and they were expected to be "creative" with how propositions were packaged. Backhanders in one shape or form were rife to enable these "creative" packages to be put together for example inflated property valuations, "how much do you need it to be valued at" was a question often asked.

The cautious bankers were replaced by qualified accountants and the relentless pursuit of growth, profit (and bonuses) replaced all previous sensible growth. many bankers got into bed with clients to share the percieved riches to be gained from deals.

Many of these types are still in their jobs in most of our banks and despite paying lip service to reform, they are still stuck in the same mindset and the industry will not move on until we get a return to more traditional respectable banking. New regulation re structure of capital will assist but it needs a more radical reform of the type of bankers required and this is where cable is spot on.

  bjh 08:50 23 Sep 2010

On a more general point, if the LibDems want us to vote for a reform of the voting system that will, in all likelihood, leave them as part of a coalition government for the foreseeable future, I think they need to show a maturity about playing a constructive role in the governmental process.

It's all a matter of give & take. No members of a coalition are likely to see all their personal preferences become policy.

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