Vince Cable's outburst to undercover Telegraph journalists posing as constituents shows him up as the self regarding pompous egotist he is.
He thinks so much of himself that he considers his resignation from the government would amount to a fatal blow. He really believes that the coalition couldn't survive without his glorious presence, his wise council, faultless economic insights etc. etc.
Well, I have to say I, and no doubt many other political observers, don't share his estimable view of himself. He's encouraged the view that he is a semi-detached member of the cabinet, holding his nose to even be in the same room as a Tory and only doing it to get his policies enacted. He's always been the Bookies favourite to be the first Lib Dem to resign and I think he now should, or be sacked.
He can then join the rest of the malcontents on the left of the Lib Dems & right of the Conservatives. He'd be in good company; Paddy Ashdown, Charlie Kennedy, Ming Campbell, Simon Hughes, David Davis, Norman Tebbit, Bill Cash etc. What an ensemble they would be. They could create their own club called the Grumpy Old Men and bathe in their love of oppositionism (is that a word..? it is now).
Because, when you look at the rebels on both the left and the right of the Coalition, you see men who, when they had more influence on the agenda of their parties, helped keep it in opposition, and would have done so perpetually had their influence not been broken.
I know what you may be thinking, surely Norman Tebbit helped maintain Thatcher in power with his no nonsense common sense and ideological clarity? True, especially when a forthright, no compromise approach was required, such as during the battles with the Unions, for example. But his approach grated with the electorate after the enemies within were defeated and attention turned to public sector reform, regardless of how right he may have been ideologically. Since then he's been an opponent of change in the Tory party and a catalyst for those who dream of a return to the party of the 80s despite the fact that time has long since got on its bike and moved on.
You may agree with him, as I do, on many subjects, but you get nothing done in opposition, although you can comfortably mouth off at those in power and that is what the likes of Vince Cable are missing so much. They crave the freedom to snipe and moan without fear that their own ideas and credibility will ever be tested in the real world.
The Coalition government needs unity to continue to be effective and to retain the confidence of the electorate. Cable's outburst threatens that unity and merely adds to the evidence that he is more of a liability that an asset.
By all means fight your corner in internal discussions, Vince. But don't boast to constituents about how difficult you are being or how you think you can hold the government to ransom in order to get your way. It makes you look like a self regarding arrogant tosspot. This isn't the make believe world you lived in all the time you've been a Liberal Democrat, this is real power in the the real world and unity matters. Your other Lib Dem colleagues in government are showing real courage and leadership, either support them or go.