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Sapped by Brexit, it’s little wonder we dream of doing a Nick Clegg

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You may not know it but you are about to become Nick Clegg. I don’t want to become Nick Clegg, I hear you protest. The idea is not only repellent but ridiculous. Facebook won’t offer me £1m-plus a year and a Silicon Valley mansion if I sell out. I agree that it won’t. But opting out is far more common than selling out and Clegg is the market leader in both.

I called him in October 2018 to check a point in a piece I was writing. I should have paid more attention to the note of alarm when he realised that a journalist was on the phone. He told me he was in Sheffield. Ah, I said, you are preparing to fight Sheffield Hallam again. He lost the seat to a mentally troubled Labour candidate, who poured out levels of abuse against women, gay people and his own constituents that were too much even for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party. Clegg could have retaken the constituency with ease and gone back to Westminster to champion the Remain cause. He almost laughed at my quaint suggestion. No, he wasn’t thinking of returning to politics. Two days later, I learned why when news broke of his new career. Technology specialists can describe the awfulness of a Liberal Democrat accepting the position of vice-president at a rapacious wannabe monopoly that has facilitated the corruption of liberal democracy by Putin and the super-rich and allowed the mass murder of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims to be incited on its site.

I am struck by Clegg’s decision to walk away from the gravest political crisis of his life. Because the Labour leadership failed to oppose Brexit,........

© The Guardian