I was in the hall for Vince Cable’s speech to the Lib Dem conference a little earlier, and one of the things that struck me is how much of a contrast Vince is to Nick Clegg when he speaks. And I mean this very much in a positive sense.
Vince speaks soberly about the challenges the country faces (though leaving room for the odd light-hearted moment, as when comparing Brown to Ashley Cole – asking the voters to give him another chance). It is perhaps in his nature (as an economist by profession) that Vince’s speeches are rational and analytical. There is no playful rhetoric; just sound, down to earth economic analysis, with a clear vision of what needs to be done.
But it is for this reason that Vince and Nick work so well as a team, because they provide a clear contrast in style. Nick’s speeches are there to do a different job. He needs to inspire, to motivate, to persuade: all things that require rhetorical skill, which Nick absolutely possesses.
In short, Vince did his job today: he laid out his analysis of what went wrong, told the public how we’d fix it, and highlighted the dire weaknesses of the other parties. I am very much looking forward to hearing Nick do his job tomorrow.