Rod Liddle Rod Liddle

Politicians boasting about the women they’ve slept with is not candour: it’s spin

Rod Liddle says that Nick Clegg’s toe-curling remarks are part of a deceitful tendency in the political class to tell us things about themselves that we don’t want to know rather than speaking the truth about policy

Another terrible night spent tossing and turning, racked with worry over whether or not I have ever had sex with Nick Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democratic party. It is not something I remember doing and on the face of it, both of us being heterosexual, it seems highly unlikely. But one can never be too sure. Given Mr Clegg’s singularly ectoplasmic tenure as leader of his party it seems to me possible that we may have had some desultory form of intercourse without my even knowing about it. He might have slithered in and then out again, wraith-like, while I was oiling the garden shears in the shed, or reading an interesting book by Will Hutton. The sensible thing to do would be to stop worrying about the whole thing entirely, as it is quite unknowable. Sex with Mr Clegg falls into the category of what Immanuel Kant, in the Critique of Pure Reason, called the noumenon — that which is not an object of our sensible intuition. Thinking about it, Mr Clegg, per se, may well fall into this category too. I should be worrying about other things at night — like sausages giving me cancer, or why Morgan Tsvangirai makes me feel a little twitchy, or the ultimate destination of my mortal soul.

Nick Clegg made a decision to reveal his number of sexual partners to a journalist of colossal stupidity and self-absorption, Piers Morgan, in the magazine GQ. Compared to Morgan, the surface tension of a bowl of pea and ham soup possesses both depth and intellectual gravitas. Politicians shouldn’t speak to this disgraced butter-faced public-school ape about anything, let alone how many women they’ve shagged. But he did, which was political miscalculation number one. Perhaps he was simply flattered that GQ had shown an interest.

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