Business Secretary Vince Cable caused a great deal of overblown media fuss in his conference speech in Liverpool the other week by explaining some fairly basic economic theory. As good a speech as that was, I have been much more impressed by the remarks he made on Friday to a meeting of MEPs at the European Parliament in Brussels. While it has fewer jokes, I think that this speech is of much more significance and needs greater attention paid to it than seems to have been the case.
There is some interesting stuff in there about the government’s approach to Europe, about the differing responses of European nations to the economic situation, and Cable’s take on what the priorities for the EU should be. However, the thing that most struck me was how embedded in liberal traditions his argument was.
To be a liberal is to advocate free trade.
Free trade was at the heart of the speech. And expanding free trade is at the heart of what Cable argues should be our response, not only to the aftermath of the economic crisis, but to the longer term issue of the economic rise of China, India and other developing nations.
This content was originally posted on my old Strange Thoughts blog.