Come on chaps, Dr Vince is taking us all for a ride!

Nik Darlington 10.28am

Within moments it dawned on me. Vince Cable’s letter to David Cameron and Nick Clegg is not meant to be taken seriously. The minister with the Dickensian fizzgog has penned a satire of Swiftian proportions.

Because His Vinceship, as Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and President of the Board of Trade, possesses “overall responsibility for the [business] department strategy and all policies, [and] overall responsibility for BIS budget, particularly focus on business and banking issues”. He is also, rather grandly, the “lead Cabinet Minister for reducing regulatory burdens across Government”.

The letter unearths his unease about the lack of a “connected approach across government”, “a compelling vision…and a clear and confident message”.

Reading it, I was slapping my thigh, tears of mirth streaming in heavy torrents down my face.

It is like a history teacher writing to the school’s board of governors complaining the children’s history exams results aren’t up to scratch.

Or to make a more direct comparison, because I cannot dream to match Dr Cable for subtle irony, it is like Andrew Lansley lambasting colleagues for struggling with the NHS reforms.

So it must all be one big jape, scripted for bored hacks to show just what terrific tomfoolery those old buffers in Cabinet get up to. How instead of being worried about the lack of progress with deregulation, or the lack of even the most threadbare of industrial strategies, we really should just smile a bit more. Because you know what, at least we’ve got each other!

Of course, I could be entirely wrong. Cable’s letter could be serious. In which case he shouldn’t be concerning himself with, as he writes, how Britons “earn our living in the future”. He ought to be more concerned about how he earns his own.