For most of this week the media have been wanting me to “hit out” at Vince Cable’s attacks on unbridled capitalism.
There seemed no point. Mr Cable was speaking to the Lib Dem conference. He obviously thought anti capitalist words would make him the conference darling. I had no wish to be party pooper. As I patiently explained to disappointed journalists, I could see no policy recommendaitons in what he was saying that alarmed me. A consultation on how we can have more competitive markets and more engaged shareholders need not frighten the enterprising horses. I was also aware that I would have to answer about his remarks on Question Time.
If you ask what has capitalism done for Mr Cable, you might mention it has provided his breakfast, his lunch, his dinner, his suit, his tie, his shirt, his home, his car, and the tax revenue to pay for public services. If you ask where the most rigged and damaged markets are, they lie in areas where government intervenes or controls too much.
I look forward to Mr Cable adding his voice to those of us who want competition to work its magic more extensively in the water industry, in broadcasting and media, in railways and in banking – all areas with nationalised industries, heavy government regulation and state ownership.