His decision has been half-leaked and hinted at for days, and was finally drawn out of him with a whimper this evening. Vince Cable will abstain from the Commons vote on his own proposal, as Business Secretary, for increasing tuition fees. He has allowed himself, and his party, to be the ultimate fall-guys for a Tory policy which he implacably opposed a few months previously.
The Lib Dems are insisting that coalition means they have little choice. Nick Clegg at DPMQs today even made a reasonable stab at defending the alleged fairness in the policy while he was desperately refusing to say how he will vote on it. But Vince Cable - the economic whizz who predicted the banking failure, the best leader the Lib Dems never had, the hero of the election campaign - has taken a hit from which his reputation among the electorate will likely never recover.
The great irony of course is that it was Vince who memorably told Gordon Brown in the Commons that his reputation had gone "from Stalin to Mr Bean". And yet, even as Vince's fall is being played out across the news channels, Gordon's reputation is bolstered by the revelation, from Wikileaks, that in diplomatic negotiations he worked hard to secure justice, but never publicised that work for his own aggrandisement.
Vince Cable used to be the most popular and respected politician in both the House and the country. Coalition has flipped him over and exposed his pure politician heart, prepared to do anything to anyone for power. "Yellow Tories" has never been a more apposite description.