Get out of my way, Cable tells the ONS
Vince Cable, the Business Secretary (pictured), made some odd remarks to The Guardian last weekend, charging “arid” statisticians with thwarting his ambitions.
He said that the decision to make the Office for National Statistics (ONS) independent, while taken out of an understandable wish to end political interference, had proved to be "a mistake" because the ONS now sat in a "God-like role" when it decided what did and did not score as public borrowing. He said it had "hemmed in" the government and prevented it from "doing all sorts of things" to boost industry.
He was speaking at The Guardian’s Open Weekend, and there is a video available of his interview with Will Hutton, but unfortunately it does not include these remarks, so it’s not clear exactly what he was complaining about.
But I guess the arid interference he had in mind was the same kind that went unexercised at the launch of the Euro, when countries that didn’t meet the economic criteria were waved through by politicians who knew better. That went well.
Who would you rather have to determine what constitutes public borrowing, Vince Cable or the ONS? Hmm, difficult one, that.