Here we go again - a "proper industrial policy". Yes, Grandad Cable has decided he can pick the winners, and he's targeting ... the oil & gas industry !
Any government meddling in business is to be viewed with the utmost skepticism: but of all sectors to choose, oil & gas is the daftest. Here we have the richest, most capable companies on the planet, producing something that is rivalled only by food and water in terms of guaranteed demand - and unlike food & water, it can't be produced on a small scale, only by the energy companies in question. So what can Vince possibly offer ?
The answer, of course, is subsidy and general featherbedding, because even hard-bitten energy types will gleefully take a sucker for every penny. So the UK oil & gas lobby will duly raise a cheer, while trying manfully to suppress its collective grin.
But that's only a start: Vince has more plans in mind, oh yes. "Other industries to be targeted include aerospace, media, film and fashion."
The queues of lobbyists are already forming along Victoria Street. I gather the police have recently acquired some handy tents they could use, if the wait is protracted and the weather turns inclement.