WATCH: Nick Clegg on the rise of populist parties and READ his paper on European trade

Nick Clegg is everywhere in the media at the moment as he publicises his book which is published next week.

Tonight he was on Channel 4 News talking about the challenge to reasonable, moderate politics posed by populists parties who use the politics of fear and blame.

Watch the interview below:

He linked this to the fact that Parliament may have to leave the Palace of Westminster while repairs are carried out to this. He reckons leaving the “rat-infested, asbestos ridden” place might help to drag our democracy into the 21st century.

Nick also launched the second of his Brexit Challenge papers, entitled “What does Brexit mean for the UK’s trading relationships?” He takes 8 pages to outline the details, which can be summarised by the phrase “a right bloody mess.”

It’s actually worth listening to Nick on this. Way back in the mists of time when I first knew him, he was negotiating EU trade deals with China. He knows exactly what he is talking about.

He discussed his paper at an event in London today. Here is a Storify thingy which sets out the main points of the discussion.

Nick’s first paper on Brexit, outlining the issues around access to the single market (which, could also be subtitled “Another Bloody Mess the Tories got us into”) can be read here.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Good for Nick. Populism is the greatest threat we face currently. The socialist left and patriotic right are a serious danger to our global liberal values, whether it is corporations or migrants who get the blame.

    The ugly rise of protectionism, the calls for renationalisation, the ridiculous calls to stop globlisation, the bashing of the bankers, the gutter lies spread around about TTIP and ISDS, the racist smearing of migrants, the victimisation of Goldman Sachs, the flag waving beer drinking thuggish chanting, cries of “sovereignty”, the hatred directed at the EU Commission, the whole Brexit win, Trump, UKIP, Corbyn, the Greens, Sanders and so on – the world is going mad and it is getting scary.

    May is full of nationalist bulldoggeral causing diplomatic issues with the Chinese, and determined to press on with Brexit, Grammar schools and other right wing guff. Corbyn wants to stop foreign investment and renationalise everything and put junior doctors and RMT & ASLEF train staff in charge of everything. UKIP are a powder keg which could explode any time.

    Nick Clegg has been unfairly maligned by many people both in and outside the party. Well look where your bullying of Nick Clegg and attacks on centre ground politics have got us, the rise of nationalism and socialism…

  • Eddie Sammon 8th Sep '16 - 9:56pm

    I’ve read Nick Clegg’s report and whilst it is informative I think the tone talks about Britain as a colony (my words not his) being unable to ever survive outside of the EU as a modern economy. Other countries do and and Britain has done it in the past.

    I’m not one to lecture about morals, but to quote the Dalai Lama: where is the morality? It shouldn’t be that any country who leaves the EU gets economically destroyed or as Nick Clegg’s paper says “Sometimes these rules (single market ones) make it deliberately difficult for foreign companies to enter the market”.

  • Steve Comer 8th Sep '16 - 10:12pm

    Funny how the burst of activity from Nick (around his book launch) is perfectly timed to overshadow the Liberal Democrat Conference isn’t it?

  • Allan Brame 8th Sep '16 - 10:58pm

    @Steve Comer
    “perfectly timed to overshadow the Liberal Democrat Conference”

    Really? I wasn’t expecting Conference to begin until a week on Saturday

  • Nick Clegg and Tim Farron seem to be willing the EU to make life as difficult as possible for the UK. I can’t see how that’s going to be a vote winner. The people have voted to leave, the PM has said Brexit means Brexit and the EU have appointed negotiators who are likely to be very difficult. This will almost certainly turn nasty and I doubt the British voters will forgive political parties who appear to take the EU’s side. The battle now is for the UK to get the best deal possible, the Lib Dems seem to be still fighting the Brexit battle which has already been lost.

  • I know it’s terrible. We mustn’t give the electorate funny ideas about electing people who represent their views in their own countries . Much better that they understand that politics is about a very well paid professional political class talking amongst themselves and to lobby groups about how dangerous the electorate are to democracy.

  • Sue Sutherland 9th Sep '16 - 3:36pm

    Stimson, if centre ground politics means that nothing is done to help the lives of those who have been left behind to spend dreadful lives in social housing, or living in bedsits, or hostels or B&Bs, relying on food banks even when they are working, having to choose between freezing in the winter or eating, then all it has done is to help the polarisation of our society which then results in the rise of the extremist politics which we both abhore.
    We have had a Thatcherite consensus on economic and social policies for nearly 40 years. This was exacerbated by the dreadful crash in 2008 from which we haven’t yet recovered. The poor, the structurally unemployed, the disabled, the ill have all been paying the price for others greed and selfishness in refusing to countenance the loss of any more of their wealth in an equitable tax system. Just wanting to be centrist seems to me to be a lowering form of politics when so much needs to be done to address the ills of our society.
    I truly believe that Lib Dems can provide hope for these people because we believe that poverty wastes talents and prevents people from achieving the best they can. This isn’t socialism because we don’t want to stop people from getting rich or building up a company but when there are extremes of wealth and poverty the kind of society we want can’t exist.

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