In an article for the Independent Vince Cable calls on David Cameron to admit what public services he will cut. Mr Cable writes:
This is a time for grown-up debate. The deficit is too big and the public is too cynical of politicians to be taken in by vague, unspecific, promises. The only way forward is to identify, explicitly, areas of government activity which will have to be cut right back. My party has already identified several specific cuts – like the ID card scheme; the NHS IT project; "baby bonds"; refusing unlimited taxpayer subsidies for nuclear power. We believe that there now has to be a serious debate about how to scale back the reach of tax credits; ballooning public sector pension commitments, especially to "fat cats" (like MPs); gross military overstretch; the promise of access to universities for half of all young people; and much else.
In order to have Mr Cable’s grownup debate, first the people of this country need to be treated like adults. As Tom Cloughrety convincingly argued on this blog last month, the country could be run effectively for £70 billion per year.
In truth Mr Cable is part of this political machine that needs dismantling. His positioning against the Conservatives is just not convincing. Does he want the Conservatives to cut public services or does he want them to say that they will cut public services?
The political parties talk to the people like poisonous divorced parents manipulating, bribing and failing the child at every turn. We of course need a different type of politics, but much better would be just less of it.