Saturday 15 December 2018

How Nick Clegg turned me into a Leave voter

From a great article in, of all unexpected places, The Financial Times, by Merryn Somerset Webb, who normally writes about personal finance.
In early 2015 I spent an hour interviewing Nick Clegg. He turned me into a Leave voter.

How? By telling me that we have to accept that we “can’t change the reality” that there are many things in the modern world that can’t be controlled even by national governments. A national government can have “only limited control” over global trade, international crime and climate change, for example. 

He couldn’t, he said, think of an area of public policy that was now not impinged upon by some kind of global decision-making body. This made Westminster something of “a fictional universe”, one in which people “seem to think that they have power” but which is actually a “19th century toytown” in which they do not. 

For Mr Clegg, the former Liberal Democrat leader, this shift of power from national governments was both inevitable and reasonable. For me, as a firm believer in both the value of the nation state and the importance of maintaining the primacy of democracy over technocratic we-know-bestery, it was neither.


  1. The EU is an “explicitly anti-democratic”, crony capitalist state

    Merryn Somerset Webb's interview with economist Bernard Connolly

    1. I watched all 34 minutes. Brilliant. He worked for the European Commission for years and thinks the EU a disaster. This interview was in March 2016 and I note he predicted a big crash coming soon and suggested people buy gold or US Treasury bonds or "spend, spend, spend". He thought the pound badly over valued, a problem the referendum result has since solved.