Vince Cable has a justified reputation for political repartee and he indulged himself by teasing Tory MPs for voting him the minister they would most like to see sacked and styling himself a "mere pleb."
But his criticism of banks for their "short-termism" and "anti-small-business" attitudes cannot hide the fact that Cable and his party are up to their necks in implementing the bankers' cuts agenda.
His big idea laid out at the Liberal Democrat conference concerned establishing a bank to loan money to small and medium-sized enterprises (SME), set up initially by a government donation of £1 billion but with the expectation of raising 10 times that sum from the private sector.
Why would the very private banks that have refused to back SME change their minds to so now?
Either this is a hollow claim or the conservative coalition is planning to underwrite all loans by this bank so that private-sector profits are guaranteed.
Similarly hollow was his assertion that the Liberal Democrats are "not in hock to fat cats, unions barons or media barons."
Has he forgotten the £2.4 million donation in 2005 from subsequently jailed fraudster Michael Brown, which the party took even though he is not a registered voter and lived overseas? His party still refuses to cough it up.
Cable made a decent fist of attacking the outrageous record of the big banks in prioritising short-term profits, taking unjustifiable salary and bonus packages and selling "useless insurance and dodgy derivatives."
But "despite all that we must work under a market-based private enterprise economy," he declared, as though this is the apogee of human attainment.
And to remove any idea that he represents a progressive alternative to Nick Clegg, Cable made "no apology" for the pace and scale of cuts, believing that the government has "struck the right balance." Enough said.
The more that Andrew Mitchell "apologises" for showing lack of respect to the police, the more questions he leaves unanswered.
For him the only sticking point appears to be whether he called police "plebs," which would certainly be politically harmful, confirming the widespread impression of undeserved entitlement exuded by Cabinet multimillionaire public schoolboys.
The Tory chief whip apparently believes that, as long as he sticks to a twin-track approach of reiterating how sorry he is while denying the plebs allegation, the row will die down.
Not now that the Labour opposition has joined the Metropolitan Police Federation in demanding an inquiry to establish the facts.
The federation's chairman John Tully is fully justified in saying, despite Mitchell's insistence that he is not accusing anyone of lying, that refuting the verbatim accounts in two police officers' notebooks impugns their integrity.
If his version of events is accepted, it is difficult to see how the officers could avoid disciplinary or even criminal charges.
That's why this affair has to be brought to a speedy conclusion by an official inquiry in which those concerned are questioned, their statements reviewed and CCTV footage scrutinised.
Many people will wonder why Mitchell wasn't arrested or cautioned over his foul-mouthed abuse of police, which raises once more the issue of double standards for our rulers and the rest of us.
The Prime Minister should stop dithering, accept that this matter cannot be allowed to drag on interminably and institute an inquiry without further delay.
If you appreciated this article then please consider donating to the Morning Star's Fighting Fund to ensure we can keep developing your paper.