Nick clegg

How to save money: switch to cash and reprogram your boiler

We’ll find out shortly whether official statistics agree with economists surveyed by Bloomberg who say UK GDP probably shrank by 0.2 per cent in the second quarter. But at an uncomfortable moment when we know things can only get worse, looking backwards doesn’t help and nor does holding out hope for a miraculous ‘emergency budget’ in September. As for forecasting beyond that, it’s almost too scary to contemplate. Better to shun economists and politicians and focus instead on facts that tell us what’s happening now – such as data from Barclaycard – and things we can do keep our own budgets in balance. Spending on ‘essential items’ was up by

The tragic embarrassment of Sir Nick Clegg

If you thought Nick Clegg’s career reached its nadir with the ‘I’m sorry’ video then think again. The former Deputy Prime Minister is re-enacting the stunning success of his political career out in Silicon Valley where he’s paid £2.7 million a year to sell his soul to Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg and the rest of the Facebook – today rebranding as Meta – cabal. Whereas Sir Nick is all too familiar for us here in Britain, Americans were not au fait with the former Lib Dem leader when he was appointed as vice president of the social media behemoth back in 2018. But all that has changed in the last month, with Clegg

Nick Clegg’s Facebook nightmare

There have been many ironic fates for the lead actors in the Coalition government. For David Cameron, the premier who pledged to ‘clean up’ the ‘culture of excessive lobbying’ there was the Greensill scandal. For George Osborne, the austerity Chancellor who decimated the culture sector, there was a smorgasbord of jobs and the chairmanship of the British Museum.  Chris Huhne was jailed, Oliver Letwin lost the whip while Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, now works at the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank – an institution used to front China’s ‘Belt and Road Initiative.’ But none of these have been as both paradoxically high-profile and humiliating as Sir Nick Clegg’s strange parliamentary

Six times Remainers denied an EU army would happen

One of the points of discussion which dominated British politics in the Brexit era was the possibility of the formation of an ‘EU army’. During the referendum campaign and for years afterwards, Remainers and ‘People’s Vote’ campaigners repeatedly claimed that there was no serious chance of establishing an EU army because the upper echelons of the Commission had no interest in the idea – despite top Eurocrats being so open about their goals. But now the fall of Afghanistan and the sudden realisation of Europe’s dependancy on America has brought the issue to the fore once again. On Thursday EU foreign affairs representative Josep Borrell announced that the withdrawal will ‘catalyse’ the EU to

The problem with Facebook’s ‘Supreme Court’

He might now be one of the most powerful men in global media, but I find whenever I see a photograph of Nick Clegg, Orwell’s quote about everyone getting the face they deserve by 50 comes to mind. Now 54, the remnants of the boyish idealist are still just about there, but the eyes to me are ledgers of too much unhappy compromise – deadened, I always assume, by the principles he felt forced by David Cameron to sacrifice for personal advancement, and by the amazing decision to see out the remaining years of a career spent failing upwards as Mark Zuckerberg’s lavishly remunerated PR lickspittle. For a decade and

Democracy redux: the lessons of 2019

Britain’s parliamentary democracy is easily mocked: the medievalisms, the men in tights, the ayes to the right. But it has been preserved because it tends to work. It focuses minds and makes order out of chaos. Yet again we have a general election result that almost no one predicted — and one that offers plenty of lessons for those with an eye to see them. The communities so often patronised as ‘left behind’, typically in northern and coastal towns, have now demonstrated that they are powerful enough to decide elections. During the Blair and Cameron eras they were written off as a declining demographic: older, poorer, less educated and often

Nick Clegg’s move to Facebook makes perfect sense

Do you remember that brief couple of weeks in British history when we all had to say ‘I agree with Nick’? It seems a long time ago, and now Sir Nick Clegg is off to Silicon Valley to be the head of Facebook’s global affairs and communications team. Some sneer, but the move makes perfect sense. Correctly clocking that he has no future in British politics, and that the European Union is not an area of growth and opportunity, he thinks that the United States has a brighter future than our common European home. I agree with Nick. This article is an extract from Charles Moore’s Spectator notes, available in

Portrait of the Week – 25 October 2018

Home Theresa May, the Prime Minister, found herself in another crisis over Brexit. Backbenchers whispered that 48 letters were being collected to present to the chairman of the 1922 Committee to trigger a vote of confidence. What annoyed some of her own MPs was a scheme (intended to make less likely the imposition of a backstop agreement over the Irish border) to extend by up to a year the Brexit implementation period that was supposed to end on 31 December 2020. During an emergency cabinet conference-call, Esther McVey, the Work and Pensions Secretary, was said to have told Mrs May that she was ‘devastated’ by the provision. An unnamed Conservative

The Princess generation needs to grow up

I never dreamed I’d see the day when I agreed with Miriam González Durántez – such a snob that she believes people can be socially snubbed by being given Hellman’s mayonnaise, such a Euro-bore that she found Brexit ‘devastating’ and so short-sighted that she sees sex with Nick Clegg as a reasonable proposition. But with this recent Twitter rant, I quite warmed to her: ‘When you have a 2.30 hours delay in a British Airways flight (what is happening to this airline!?) open the inflight shop magazine and want to scream: STOP-CALLING-GIRLS-LITTLE-PRINCESSES!! It cannot be so difficult for an airline to get this right…’ Mind you, it’s pretty likely that

Don’t look for any merit in meritocracy

A few years ago, someone asked me how to fix social care costs for the elderly. One eventual idea of ours was that, at age 65, people could pledge to pay a higher level of inheritance tax as a form of insurance against social care costs. If, say, you pledged £20,000 of the value of your estate, you would receive an annuity worth perhaps £150,000 should you develop dementia or need long-term care. This, we thought, would be appealing enough to be made voluntary. The idea was designed to align with a known property of human psychology called Prospect Theory, which  shows that people much prefer a small, certain loss

What slim majority? Nick Clegg heads to Hay Festival

With a slim majority of just over 2,000 to defend, Nick Clegg has his work cut out holding onto Sheffield Hallam in next month’s snap election. So, with less than two weeks to go until polling day, surely the Liberal Democrat is busying himself campaigning locally? Well, perhaps not. Mr S was curious to discover that the former deputy prime minister is spending the day over 150 miles away in Hay-on-Wye — where he will speak at the Hay Festival. Flogging his book ‘Between the Extremes’, Clegg will lift the lid on his time in government: Given that the Lib Dems have rarely looked further away from government than they do now,

Sunday political interviews round-up

Tim Farron’s fearsome foursome: May, Le Pen, Trump, Putin What can Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal Democrats, do to get attention? He had an idea  for the party’s conference in York today: suggest that the world is in the grip of a fearsome foursome: Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Marine Le Pen… and Theresa May. He claimed that have the same traits in common: being “aggressive, nationalistic, anti-Nato, anti-EU. It is the post-war internationalist consensus unravelling in real time. Winston Churchill’s vision for a world that achieves peace through trade, common values and shared endeavour evaporating before our eyes.” Clegg: Bring on the election. The Lib Dems couldn’t do any worse BBC1’s Sunday

Nick Clegg loses his enthusiasm for a Lib Dem rebrand

In 2011, when the Liberal Democrats’ poll ratings had fallen to 10 per cent, Nick Clegg ordered a rebranding exercise, even looking at whether the party’s name should be changed to distance the Lib Dems from their betrayal on tuition fees. Today, the Lib Dems are still polling around 10 per cent (on a good day). But what about the name change? On the Sunday Politics Clegg offered up a vision of Brexit that would mean staying in the single market and the customs union, paying into the EU budget, keeping free movement and accepting the supremacy of the European Court of Justice – prompting Andrew Neil to say: ‘Your party’s called the Liberal Democrats. Many people

Closing credits

BBC1’s The Missing has been one of the undoubted TV highlights of 2016. Yet, even thrillers as overwhelmingly thrilling as this one have been known to blow it in the concluding episode, when the biggest revelation of the lot turns out to be that the writers couldn’t really answer all the questions that previous episodes had so intriguingly raised. And of course, The Missing had raised more than most, with its fiendish plotting ranging across three timeframes — until last week, that is, when it added a fourth. So could Wednesday’s finale possibly avoid giving us that sense of outraged disappointment that comes from realising we’ve spent weeks looking forward

George Osborne cashes in on Brexit

Things are looking up for George Osborne. Not only have bookies slashed his odds of making a political comeback, the former Chancellor is adapting nicely to life on the backbench. According to the latest register of interests, Osborne has managed to trouser almost £100,000 from giving just three speeches across the pond. So, what did he talk about for the fee? At the SIFMA event, he is reported to have told attendees that when the UK makes decisions like Brexit ‘that make us more remote from our European partners, we will pay a price for that’. He also is reported to have ‘grieved deeply about the impact on the economy of

David Davis, parliamentary poacher turned executive gamekeeper

David Davis batted away demands for parliament to be given a vote on the timing of Article 50 or the government’s negotiating stance. Whenever his opponents—who included Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg—brought up how Davis himself had previously said there should be a white paper on the government’s negotiating stance, Davis side-stepped the issue. He also claimed that his views on how the executive should be accountable to parliament hadn’t changed, but that there was a difference between scrutiny and micro-managing. What the government wanted out of the Brexit talks, said Davis, was control of the UK’s borders and laws, co-operation on justice and security matters that is at least

Listen: Liam Fox savages Nick Clegg at Tory conference

On Sunday afternoon both Boris Johnson and David Davis gave speeches on Brexit in the main hall at Conservative conference. Happily, their fellow Brexiteer Liam Fox was not too left out and had a chance to share his thoughts at the Conservative Voice’s ‘Brexit, Europe and the world’ reception that evening. Clearly stung after Nick Clegg suggested he didn’t have a job at a recent Press Gallery lunch, Fox went on the offensive — branding the Lib Dem leader a ‘serial loser’ for doubting his power: ‘I hear Nick Clegg said I didn’t have a job because what we were acting on was delusional. Well I’d just ask you — before

Liam Fox doesn’t have a job – he just doesn’t know it yet, says Nick Clegg

Given the fragile egos of Theresa May’s three Brexiteers — Boris Johnson, Liam Fox and David Davis — Mr S suspects it’s for the best that none of them were present at today’s press gallery lunch with Nick Clegg. After accusing David Cameron of engaging ‘in a brutal act of one upmanship’ by quitting as the MP for Witney on the same night as his book launch, Clegg went on to launch an attack on the government — focussing on Liam Fox. While Clegg refused to comment on what Cameron really made of May, he was happy to share his thoughts on the Secretary for International Trade. The former deputy Prime Minister said he felt pity

Nick Clegg blames ‘disrespectful’ Gove for Queen backs Brexit story

Now that Michael Gove has returned to the backbenches, the former Justice Secretary can take heart that his new role will at least save him some awkward meetings, say for example, with the Queen. In an upcoming BBC documentary on Brexit, Nick Clegg blames Gove for the Sun’s ‘the Queen backs Brexit’ splash. Published in March, the paper reported that the Queen clashed with Nick Clegg — then Deputy Prime Minister — over Europe at a lunch in 2011 at which Her Majesty declared the EU was ‘heading in the wrong direction’. Although Gove has previously denied being behind the story — which the palace complained to Ipso about — Clegg would care to disagree. In the

Nick Clegg issues a Brexit warning

Real earnings have fallen by 10.4 pc since the credit crunch began in 2007 says the Guardian – making Britain equal bottom on the wages growth table, alongside Greece. The Trade Union Centre found that over the 2007-2015 period wages have grown by 23 pc in Poland, 14 pc in Germany and 11 pc in France. The UK, meanwhile, has seen a fall, alongside Greece and Portugal. ‘Wages fell off the cliff after the financial crisis, and have barely begun to recover,’ said Frances O’Grady, the TUC general secretary. The Treasury hit back, saying that earnings are only one indication of living standards – levels of employment, taxes and benefits also