Sir Nicholas William Peter Clegg was awarded a knighthood in the 2017 New Year Honours list (BBC).
|"So Nick, do the students know you're going to stiff them yet?" - "No Dave, just keep schtum for a few months".|
Clegg the Radical Centrist
Quote: Our opponents try to divide us with their outdated labels of left and right. But we are not on the left and we are not on the right. We have our own label: Liberal. We are liberals and we own the freehold to the centre ground of British politics. Our politics is the politics of the radical centre (Liberal Democrats website, 13 March 2011).
- Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2015 and the Europhile Leader of the Liberal Democrats from 2007 to 2015. During the five year Tory-Lib Dem coalition, Clegg was performing Prime Minister impressions thanks to David Cameron not getting quite enough seats to form a 100% Tory govt.
- Clegg occupied a post at the European Commission in April 1994, working in the TACIS aid programme to the former Soviet Union.
- An MEP from 1999-2004: Clegg was selected in 2004 as the prospective Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Sheffield Hallam. He starred in Pantomime (yes, really) at Sheffield before winning a seat in the 2005 general election, with over 50% of the vote and a majority of 8,682. They're easily pleased in Sheffield.
- Known as a 'panto politician' and 'The Vote Hoover' in some circles, Nick "Stop Brexit" Clegg rose from 'scarecrow' to leader of the Liberal Democrats (Telegraph, May 04 2010). The 'Orange Book' leader until 2015, Nick was rumoured to be a clone of Tony Blair, only with a much better looking wife (and yet another lawyer).
- Favouring reduced taxes, electoral reform, cuts on defence spending, and an increased focus on environmental issues. Practically stole the 'centre ground' stake from Teflon Tony and also influenced the Fixed-term Parliaments Act (2011). As a dullard Remainer, his religion is probably the Church of EU.
- In 2010, the Lib Dems reneged on their promise to oppose increases in tuition fees, a key issue that had won the party support from students (Chris Butler, 2019). Big mistake, and so much for Lib Dem election manifestos.
- Tuition fees in England rose to £3,000 under Labour before the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition announced in 2010 that the annual fees would treble to £9,000 (BBC).
Westminster Career and Downfall
Clegg served as a Member of Parliament (MP) for Sheffield Hallam from 2005 to 2017 and has been associated with both socially liberal and economically liberal policies. Nobody had a clue who he was until the televised leaders' debates, then everyone caught Blairitis again, but in a much less virulent form. So much less virulent in fact that, despite a surge in Lib Dem support, the party struggled in the 2010 election. They gained just 57 seats, but worse was to come.
Westminster to Facebook
His meteoric fall was unstoppable. During the 2015 election, the party dwindled to just 8 seats, and Clegg was ousted as Deputy Prime Minister, also resigning from the Lib Dem leadership. "After the Lib Dem massacre at the 2015 election, Clegg found himself outside government and focusing on Brexit" (Rawlinson & Perraudin, Guardian 2017). After two more difficult years, during the 2017 election Clegg was defeated by Labour's Jarad O'Mara in his own constituency of Sheffield Hallam.
In late 2018, Clegg was appointed Vice President of Global Affairs and Communications at Facebook, claiming in June 2019 that "Facebook should not be regulated as a traditional media firm" (The Times, June 11, 2019).
Senior Lib Dems apologise over tuition fees pledge(BBC Sept 2012).
"Nick Clegg pledges biggest political reforms since 1832". BBC News, 19 May 2010.