On Facebook today I spotted a link to an article from a little over a year ago by Nick Clegg. It was entitled: Nick Clegg: what you will wake up to if we vote to Leave…. Originally published on 22 June 2016, it was the last opportunity for political punditry before Britain went to the polls and, as it turned out, voted by a fairly narrow margin to leave the EU. I expect Clegg’s intention was to win a few more floating voters round and I think that, like me, he expected the result to be narrow but the other way. Reading the article though, I have to say that his prognostication turned out to be remarkably accurate.
He doesn’t quite hit the mark of an infallible prophet. For example, Nicola Sturgeon tried to push for another Scottish referendum but that seems to have fallen by the wayside; most commentators didn’t think she would win and most people spotted that it punctures the rhetoric to try the same question again a couple of years after your last ‘once in a generation’ asking of it. Nor did Obama strike up a new ‘special relationship’ with Merkel’s Germany. However, although again it didn’t happen quite as suggested, “…. that faintly queasy feeling you get when you see Donald Trump on the TV, visiting the UK on Friday, declaring his joy at the Brexit vote…” feels like an uncomfortable foreshadowing of last November’s vote in the US.
Regrettably, I don’t think Clegg would have to change much else about his piece if he’d written it today rather than the day before the Brexit vote.