This is the dynamite question, the one that has the potential to bring down this government. Whose idea was it for The Telegraph to conduct a covert recording on Vince Cable in December 2012? Could it have been the Tory leadership? If this was demonstrated to be the case, then the Tories have deliberately destroyed the reputation of a Liberal Democrat colleague, and the coalition would immediately come to an end.
It’s difficult to believe that the Telegraph investigation was a fishing trip. Like any newspaper, they concentrate their resources on leads, not on speculative chance. If that’s the case, then someone put them onto this story. Someone on the inside knew what Cable would be likely to say. The question is who?
Is it possible that the Tory leadership could have been so concerned about Cable’s likely decision on the NewsCorp judgement, that they would want him destroyed and replaced by Murdoch fan, Mr Hunt? There is plenty of evidence that they went to extreme lengths to ensure the outcome found in favour of NewsCorp. We know they wanted to please Rupert Murdoch. We know it was important to them. Was it important enough that they would resort to such an aggressive tactic, to publically destroy Vince Cable? I think they would, I think they did, and I think they enjoyed it.
However, this theory has one major flaw. The sting was conducted by The Telegraph. The Telegraph is a competitor to Rupert Murdoch. They would never have agreed to such a sting if they knew it was designed to help the owner of The Times. For the Conservatives to induce the Telegraph, they would have had to have been deceitful, in concealing their motives. That would be an extremely cavalier way of treating The Telegraph, especially since the paper would likely discover the true motive once the story had unfolded. Could the Tory leadership have been so arrogant that they simply didn’t care?
Yes, they could. They were arrogant when they created the A-List of parliamentary candidates, thereby informing the rest of the Tory backbenchers that they are considered inferior. They were arrogant when they decided to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600, for no good reason, leaving many MPs furious with their circumstance. Complete disregard and disrespect to those around them is a key characteristic of Mr Cameron and Osborne, although I must admit, they would be entering a whole new level by making The Telegraph a cuckold of Rupert Murdoch.
However, in their experience, it is all perfectly OK. The Telegraph knows its place. There will be no consequence. In the same way that the Lib Dems had nowhere to go, The Telegraph also has nowhere to go. This newspaper is not going to switch its support The Labour Party. In the arrogant thinking of Cameron and Osborne, The Telegraph is inferior to the current leaders of the Conservative Party.
If this were all true, then the Tories are hardly likely to blow the whistle on themselves, so only The Telegraph could confirm. But what could possible persuade them to nudge this particular bombshell into the public sphere? What could persuade them to publicise to the fact that they have been used by the Tory leadership, been made a cuckold by Cameron and Osborne? Why would The Telegraph choose to make their own humiliation public?
If Cameron and Osborne believe that The Telegraph has nowhere to go, that may have been a big mistake. The Telegraph will be here long after they’ve gone and so will the Conservative Party. We may never know who arranged the Cable Sting, but we may well enjoy watching The Telegraph turn the screw on Cameron and Osborne over the next couple of years. If so, it would be fun to watch the hastened demise of this pair of arrogant posh boys.