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This review is from: Free Radical: Memoirs (Hardcover)
Born in York and brought up in an aspiring lower middle-class family, Vince Cable was educated at a local grammar school and Cambridge University, where he was president of the union. He began a science degree but later converted to economics and it is as an economic analyst and commentator that he has made his mark on British public life. Before that however he had spells in the diplomatic service in South America and as a senior adviser to the Shell oil company. He was a local councilor in Glasgow and in 1997 won the previously safe Conservative parliamentary seat for the London constituency of Twickenham. Always a small-l Liberal or social democrat he moved from the Labour party to join the Liberal Democrats and rose to be acting leader of the party and the chief critic of Gordon Brown in his days as Chancellor of the Exchequer. His capacity for clear exposition of complex economic issues won him celebrity and recognition as one of the few public intellectuals who could straddle the academic, business and political worlds.
Written with style and brio and not a little emotion, Vince Cable's account of his rise to the top echelon of British politics is a wonderfully informative and enlightening autobiography. I have to declare an interest since I was a colleague of his at Glasgow University in the 1970s, while my wife's closest female friend at the time was Vince's wife, Olympia.