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Vince Cable - an absolute star

Vince Cable MP's self-effacing character is such that I expect he'd be the last person to want celeb status, but his sheer quality shone through here at Brighton on Tuesday morning when he summed up the debate on taxation. His understanding of financial and economic issues is a deep well from which he draws apparently effortlessly the clear, easy language with which he is able to explain complexities and take a diverse lay audience with him. He explained, in his nice way, that although the leadership feels now is not the time to propose a new land tax, and although the council tax is too unfair to be reformable and must be binned, in the long term he is in favour of shifting the tax base from income on to land. I am for that too, so I was glad to hear him say that. And thus reassurance was given on what could have been a major bone of contention to many of us. Despite the heavy content, his speech was never dull, and was at times extremely funny. But we don't listen to Vince to be entertained: we listen because we have learned to greatly value what he has to say, and he is very well liked. If Vince became Chancellor of the Exchequer tomorrow, the country would be in very good hands, and he is a fine deputy leader of the party, too.

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