Friday, October 19, 2018

On refusing to be outraged at Nick Clegg's new job

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Nick Clegg stopped being deputy prime minister almost three-and-a-half years ago. By modern standards he has waited a couple of aeons before taking the corporate shilling.

Fairly or unfairly, Nick is unlikely to able to continue a career in British politics and is still too toxic to be of much help to the Liberal Democrats, so he does need to find something to do with his life.

And I suspect he was always cut out to be a Eurocrat or corporate insider than a campaigning politician.

As James Kirkup once wrote:
Politics is about arguments, about persuading people, by fair means or foul, to lend you their votes and their permission to rule. And this is what baffles Clegg.
The idea that a politician has used the prominence we have given them as a stepping stone to riches will never be an appealing one, but that may be a diminishing problem.

Now that the Tony Blair Playbook no longer contains all the answers (it says nothing about what to do in an economic crisis, for instance), politicians no longer have to be attractive young men with families.

So we will see fewer retired politicians being left at a loose end after they leave written their memoirs.


Anonymous said...

Indeed. One would have thought most Lib Dems would have been relieved that he was moving away to California.

Perhaps the only grounds for disappointment are that the offer came from Mark Zuckerberg rather than Elon Musk - who could have made him his head of Galactic Affairs. Rather like Peter Sellers being made Bishop of Outer Space in Heavens Above! (Though, come to think of it, perhaps that job is being reserved for Tim Farron.)

Jonathan Calder said...

I am afraid Lembit Opik got there first.

Anonymous said...

How could I have forgotten Lembit's extraterrestrial role?

Still, surely Nick Clegg is now the undisputed Wizard of Menlo Park:

Frank Little said...

It seems that he is taking the family to California, though one suspects that Miriam, as an expert in European law, is going to be much in demand here if Brexit goes ahead. Much long-distance commuting to come, methinks.

Frank Little said...

Cue features in the media on what young MPs do after they have been voted out. Radio Wales' Sunday Supplement yesterday interviewed Jenny Willott, for instance.

Phil Beesley said...

I read some of the comments on the Guardian piece by Carole Cadwalladr. So I'm not surprised that Nick Clegg has chosen a new direction in life; he can't have a job in UK public life until a lot of mouthy people have somebody else to hate.

As Lib Dem leader, he didn't pick the right people to make a deal with the Conservative Party. But Nick Clegg is definitely a liberal. Optimistic, trusting and decent were the wrong attributes for the coalition deal.

They are probably wrong for working at Facebook too -- any belief that Facebook can change its ugly behaviour is almost fantastic. Clegg's predecessor at Sheffield, Richard Allan, has worked at Facebook for nine years. Has Ricard Allan made a difference?

Anonymous said...

Part of me is sad that he didn't stick around to sort out the mess he left the Liberal Democrats in.

Part of me would be willing to pay his family airfare if he promises never to come back.

Phil Beesley said...

Nick Clegg has tried to separate public and private life.

His eldest son is a cancer survivor. Maybe. Good luck to Antonio.