It is often easier to get a perspective on what is going on at a conference if you are viewing it from outside. My colleague Simon Shaw emails me from Birkdale observing that it is hardly surprising that Vince Cable is one of the stars in Bournemouth this week. He is reminded of a very interesting article in last Wednesday's Times, headlined "Voters tip their hats to trusty Mr Cable". It reported that Vince Cable is the politician most trusted by the general public in a recent 1500-strong opinion poll conducted by Populus. To quote: "By contrast Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrats' Treasury spokesman, is the most trusted, especially by Conservative voters who have more faith in him than they have in Gearge Osborne, their own Shadow Chancellor. Mind you coming above George Osborne in a poll about who you trust is not setting the hurdle that high. "The results are presented in a chart here:
Here in Bournemouth that there is widespread approval that it is the Lib Dems who are leading the debate on the economy. There can't have been a time since the 1929 election when we have had the economy as our strongest suit. (I shall return to the 1929 election and the its aftermath; a hung parliament when I post about the Liberal History Group meeting) Suffice to say that it is the economy that determines elections more than any other single factor and to be leading the way in this policy area will pay electoral dividends if we present our case locally as well as Vince is doing nationally.