How dare Vince Cable come to my constituency to insult older voters

How dare Vince Cable come to my constituency to insult older voters

The Liberal Democrats have been haemorrhaging votes to both main political parties for the last eight years and yet, their prospects did not always look so bleak. Buoyed by the “I agree with Nick” hysteria in the run-up to the 2010 election, the then leader of Liberal Democrats whizzed around country preaching the benefits of a third way, committing to overturning a broken political system and pledging to abolish student tuition fees. Now, in 2018, the idea that the Lib Dems were once a prospective government-in-waiting seems preposterous – and for those who can’t understand how they ended up in this position, Vince Cable’s comments over the weekend perfectly illustrate why.

“Too many [Brexit voters] were driven by nostalgia for a world where passports were blue, faces were white and the map was coloured imperial pink,” Cable thundered to an entranced audience at the Liberal Democrat spring conference in my own patch of Southport on Sunday. He made this astonishing and outrageous comment in a truly bizarre speech that seemed to insinuate that the votes of older people did not count because “children are our future”, or some comparably naff platitude.

Interestingly, Cable was a key member of the Lib Dem hierarchy which oversaw the removal of the party’s (now infamous) policy to completely abolish tuition fees, much to the chagrin of all the students that had voted for the party… Is it me, or does this guy give out mixed messages? Or is it just that he, like so many Liberal Democrats before him, just wants to leap on whatever bandwagon he can in an almost pitiful attempt to garner publicity?

Ironically, for all of his and the Lib Dems’ attempts to inveigh against Brexit, nobody really seems interested; Cable, Farron, Davey and the rest of the gang hoped that anti-Brexit sentiment amongst young voters and metropolitan liberals would lead to a resurgence in the party’s fortunes in the 2017 election – yet ultimately their national vote share dropped by 0.5%. To add insult to injury, a cabal of milksops, led by a few old Trots and pinkos and going by the name of the Labour Party, swept up all of those anti-Brexit votes in London and other liberal centres, despite the fact that both Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell are widely known for their euroscepticism.

It amuses me that Cable and the Lib Dems are still trying to woo young voters with promises to reverse Brexit, for that ship seems to have sailed a long time ago. If they ever want to be something more than a sub-plot in the British political sphere, I would advise them to follow the lead of the Conservatives and listen to the older generations. It was the wisdom of an older generation that kept us in the Common Market in 1975 and it was many of the same generation that got us out in 2016 – after the EEC had evolved into the bloated, corrupt and inefficient behemoth we now call the EU.

So many older people voted to leave because they saw an undemocratic, stentorian state, run by shadowy officials telling them what to do – this is a generation that has lived through the Cold War with the threat of the Soviet Union – and heard, first-hand, of the horrors of Nazi Germany. It is small wonder that their experiences led them to vote the way they did.

And what then of Cable? He is not a bad man and was a capable business secretary when the Lib Dems were in coalition with my party, but he can’t think without his narrow fiscal hat on and he cannot think creatively. Reflecting on his recent faux pas, I am minded to steal one of the Speaker’s recent barbs and exclaim: stick to your abacus, man!