Cable's Attack on Capitalist Culture; but Lib Dem Minister Insists 'I'm No Marxist'
Byline: James chapman Political Editor
VINCE Cable will today declare war on fat-cat company directors and hostile takeovers in the most aggressive assault on the excesses of capitalism by a minister since the 1970s.
The Liberal Democrat Business Secretary will tell his party conference of a wide-ranging Government inquiry into the 'murky world of corporate behaviour'.
Last night, as news of his speech emerged, he insisted his rhetoric was not an 'outbreak of Marxism'.
Today Mr Cable will reveal that the inquiry will consider measures to allow shareholders to rein in executive pay, limit the scope for takeovers and end a culture of 'corporate short-termism'.
'Capitalism takes no prisoners and kills competition when it can,' Mr Cable will tell the conference in Liverpool.
His Left-wing rhetoric will alarm many Conservatives and business leaders, who point out that the Coalition is asking the private sector to take the lead in hauling the economy out of recession as the public sector is cut back.
Richard Lambert, CBI Director-General, said Mr Cable 'thinks it sensible to use such emotional language'. 'The case for corporate takeovers is that they allow control of poorly run businesses to pass into more efficient hands,' he added.
'Mr Cable has harsh things to say about the capitalist system: it will be interesting to hear his ideas for an alternative.' As news of the keynote speech began to circulate last night the Business Secretary was forced on to the defensive.
'This was interpreted as an outbreak of Marxism,' he said. 'I have had to go round explaining this is not quite what we meant.' Though Gordon Brown raised concerns about 'unfettered' markets in the wake of the financial crash, rhetoric of the kind adopted by Mr Cable has not been heard from the government benches since Denis Healey vowed to tax the rich 'until the pips squeak' in the 1970s. …