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How does the architect of the destruction of the Liberal Democrats do it? This week Nick Clegg has been handed the presidential treatment by Meta overlord Mark Zuckerberg. The former Deputy Prime Minister has been promoted to the top table at the Big Tech behemoth. He will be responsible for “all policy matters” across the globe.
This raises the question of what Clegg has on Zuckerberg. One of the world’s leading tech giants, albeit one under huge pressure on account of how naff Facebook is, is somehow being steered by the British politician whose time in power ended in your disaster. Clegg went along with his party’s anti-tuition fees pledge in the 2010 general election, despite opposing it on the basis it was unaffordable, leading to the electoral destruction of the Lib Dems in 2015. In coalition with the Tories, Clegg’s party took the hit for the increase in tuition fees. Down the plughole of history went Clegg’s parliamentary career.
But this was a mere starter. Clegg moved on to the main course, wielding global influence as one of the highest paid personages under Zuck.
As Vice-President (Global Affairs) – for which he was said to have earned £2.7 million a year – his track record has been mixed.
From the blowback on Cambridge Analytica and the company’s handling of Capitol Hill riots to coverage of the genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, Facebook on Clegg’s watch has been accused of fuelling misinformation through its failure to tackle misleading content on its platforms.
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Next, his new role will see him involved in the company’s “exciting” new venture, Quest, its virtual reality headset and online community. It looks about as much fun as a fringe event on knitting your own yoghurt at Lib Dem annual conference.
Viewers were left baffled by the latest TV commercial for Clegg’s Quest which aired during the Super Bowl on Sunday. An animatronic dog spirals into despair before discovering the Metaverse which allows him to relive his glory days. The message of the dystopian fever dream seems to be: the real world is depressing, so why not exchange it for a virtual one.
It’s this dispiriting vision of the future of humanity that Clegg is now going to play an even bigger role in flogging.