Vince Cable’s New Statesman article makes plain the need for a new economic strategy

Against the backdrop of the loss of the triple-A rating much coveted by Conservative Ministers - and trivialised by others - Cable is right again. Wednesday's remarkable New Statesman article makes plain the case for a new economic strategy, and the need for as elegant as possible a reversal of Osbornomics that was itself eclipsed by Cable in the economic debates of 2010.

Gareth Epps is the co-chair of the Social Liberal Forum

I am not an economist, but I do recognise common sense when I see it.

Around ten years ago, a then relatively obscure MP submitted a motion to the Liberal Democrats’ conference about personal debt. To the uninitiated, it seemed an esoteric and obscure issue.

But it wasn’t.

Indeed, it was the start of a period in which Vincent Cable’s analysis of the economic situation was unsurpassed.

Against the backdrop of the loss of the triple-A rating much coveted by Conservative Ministers – and trivialised by others – Cable is right again. Wednesday’s remarkable New Statesman article makes plain the case for a new economic strategy, and the need for as elegant as possible a reversal of Osbornomics that was itself eclipsed by Cable in the economic debates of 2010.

At the same time, and free from the shackles of cabinet collective responsibility, the Social Liberal Forum (SLF) has been describing the need for an economic Plan C which also argues for fuller investment, a wider reform of the economic system than the sticking plaster of greater spending alone, but an understanding that dogma should not preclude increasing borrowing if growth is at stake.

This evening, Vince Cable will make a keynote speech at our Spring [Liberal Democrat] Conference fringe; a conference that, curiously, does not include a frontline keynote economic platform speech.

As at Eastleigh, Lib Dem campaigners understand the axiomatic value of winning the economic argument. Hence SLF has also tabled an emergency Conference resolution calling for the following immediate steps – not a strategy, but urgent initiatives – to be taken:

. Get the builders building
. Get the banks lending to business
. Prevent a slash and burn approach to public spending
. Bring in the mansion tax.

While the third point relates specifically to the need to avoid further regressive cuts in the year 2015-16, the rest are not new. Indeed, they are consistent with the economic position taken by Liberal Democrats since the onset of the financial crisis.

It would be quite astonishing if a serious Keynesian political party were not to place them centre stage.

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