Its come as a surprise to many that Sir Nick Clegg has been appointed by Facebook as their new vice-president of global affairs and communications.
Some, of course, greeted the decision with bewilderment others questioned why Nick Clegg? Interesting no one seems to have questioned the need for Facebook to better engage with the global political establishment.
It’s clear that the main regulatory challenge to Facebook is coming from the European Union (EU), and Clegg – who worked for the European Commission and was then was an MEP from 1999 to 2004, He certainly knows his way around Brussels. He speaks 5 languages and as a former Deputy PM in the UK, he also knows plenty about the inner workings of the UK Government.
The EU has a clear agenda to reign in the power of American technology companies so who better than someone with Clegg’s experience to lobby and navigate the interests and structures of Brussels?
Clegg himself sees his role as to ‘build bridges between politics and tech so that tech can become the servant of progress and optimism, not a source of fear and suspicion.’
He adds ‘ If the tech industry can work sensibly with governments, regulators, parliaments and civic society around the world, I believe we can enhance the benefits of technology while diminishing the often unintended downsides.’
For the Liberal Democrats, it means any thoughts of a Clegg come back (a London seat was rumoured as a possible way back) are well and truly over.
However, it also means they can probably truly move on from the Coalition era though they might not truly be able to do that until Vince Cable steps down too.
Image Credit: City AM
Mrs May’s humiliation in Salzburg on Thursday looks certain to see the Conservatives shift or ‘pivot’ away from ‘Chequers’ to advocating a ‘Canada Plus’ Brexit it seems to me.
Meanwhile, Labour who already advocates many of the features of a ‘Norway+Customs Union‘ style Brexit deal. Its seem they will be firming up their position and for mainly tactical reasons adopting a second referendum or ‘peoples vote’ as policy.
As we know the Liberal Democrats have always advocated an #exitfrombrexit and remaining in the EU.
And so we are now very close to the point where all three UK wide parties have clear positions on Brexit. Up until now the Constructively Ambiguity of Labour on Brexit and the ‘compromises’ of ‘Chequers’ have made the idea of another General Election to settle the issues untenable soon it may not be so and a #PeoplesVote may look like a less attractive way of resolving a constitutional impasse.
That is of course so long as neither Labour nor the Conservatives split!
image credit: @BrookesTimes
With the Civil Wars in both Labour and Conservatives now escalating we seem to be in uncharted territory at no time in modern political history have both larger parties been in crisis at the same time.
At the same time, we seem to be seeing a realignment of voters with the Tories becoming a non-metropolitan pro-Brexit party and the Labour Party seeing its support shifting in the opposite direction.
Looking at the other established parties we see the SNP in conflict over the Alex Salmond Investigation, the Greens with a Leadership Crisis and that’s before we come to UKIP and its problems.
You could argue that Lib Dems are the only ones left standing in their post Coalition (doesn’t that seem longer than 3 years ago !) but their recovery is in its early stages.
So we seem to have a unique situation just about the whole of our Party system is dysfunctional yet our Voting System ( First Past the Post ) makes it hard for the new parties that could emerge from the chaos to succeed at Parliamentary level.
Somethings got to give and its hard to see what yet?