He has not just acted by the letter, but in the full spirit of this reforming Government, quietly privatising the Royal Mail, standing out against new regulation in the workplace, and becoming a powerful advocate of Oliver Letwin’s “red tape challenge”. Mr Cable deserves the bulk of the praise for the recent small surge of inward investment into Britain, though characteristically he has not tried to grab all the credit.
Mr Cable is right and Mr Beecroft, along with his Conservative admirers, has taken a very dangerous wrong turning. The kind of untrammelled free market capitalism which Mr Beecroft is advocating is inhumane, unedifying and unBritish, and ultimately comes close to the false proposition that the Conservative Party should be the plaything of very rich men pursuing their financial interests at the expense of a disempowered workforce.
It sounds paradoxical to say so, but Mr Cable is a new type of politician. He has knocked about the world, working as an adviser to the Kenyan government and chief economist of Shell ... Alone among the Liberal Democrat members of the front bench, Mr Cable has managed to stay loyal to the Coalition without surrendering his identity.
Mr Cable is now in that very interesting place: he is the moral centre of gravity for the Coalition and of British public life. If Nick Clegg, as widely expected, steps down as Lib Dem leader before the general election, Mr Cable – should he decide to run – is highly likely to replace him. His best years may lie ahead.