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?
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