Vince Cable: Insulting Our Allies
Vince Cable has attacked “US right wing nutters” who are the “biggest threat to the world financial system”:
The irony of the situation at the moment, looking to markets opening tomorrow morning, is that the biggest threat to the world financial system comes from a few right-wing nutters in the American Congress rather than the eurozone.’’ Democrat President Barack Obama is desperately trying to get Republicans in Congress to agree to lift the £8.8trillion limit on US borrowing.
The background to this is that Republicans in the US Congress and the US President have been negotiating for weeks on public spending and tax. The US government will run out of money in early August unless a bill is passed increasing the limit on what the government is allowed to borrow.
The Republicans want a deal to cut public spending over the next few years before they will agree to the increase. The President prefers more tax, and fewer cuts.
Mr Cable, then, is wide of the mark in blaming Republicans for the impasse. The truth is that there is a disagreement in the US about the right way forward, and both sides have so far failed to give in. The Republicans want spending cuts; the President wants higher taxes. Mr Obama could have a deal today if he agreed to the cuts.
Mr Cable could just as easily have blamed “the left wing nutter in the White House” rather than “right wing nutters in Congress”.
It is also pretty fatuous to draw attention to this disagreement in the US, when events in Europe, including the recent huge bailout of Greece, have been destabilising the world financial system for months. Mr Cable, though, is a Liberal Democrat, and the Lib Dems are the most Euro-fanatic British political party, so for him, the EU can do no wrong and the US is a threat.
But all of this rather misses the most important point here. Mr Cable is a British Government Minister and he was talking about senior politicians in our closest and most important ally.
Mr Cable’s antics will have damaged Britain’s reputation in the US and therefore damaged British interests. They were also gross interference in the internal politics of another country. His comments were ill-judged and inappropriate.