Nick Clegg bounced along through the last debate, all floppy haired and puppyish, and the message he seemed most eager to get across was that he was quite unlike âyou twoâ as he constantly referred to Cameron and Brown.
He stood to one side and eyed them suspiciously as they traded insults; he verbally winked at the audience as he reinforced his message â âall my life Iâve opposed the old politicsâ.
The refreshingly ‘honest man’ in parliament.
It took an 18 year old politics student â rather than any of the professional hacks – to bring âopenness and transparencyâ into Nick Cleggâs political CV, by ambushing him at Cardiff University with a question concerning his past employment as a lobbyist with GJW, the firm which worked with Colonel Gaddafi to Â keep the Lockerbie bomber from standing trial in Britain.
Nick Clegg had pointedly excluded this information from his CV on the Lib-Dem web site. He would like us to believe that he is a fresh and invigorating figure in politics, rather than yet another career politician.
The lobby firm was set up by Andy Gifford, Wilf Weeks and Jenny Jegar.
Wilf Weekâs short description of the back story to setting up this firm gives a hint of Nick Cleggâs political background.
In 1980 I set up a lobbying company with Andrew Gifford, who had worked with David Steel during the time of the Lib-Lab Pact. He felt that people hadnât seen the potential of using the Liberal relationship with Labour to influence policy. We decided there was scope for a firm to advise people on how to work with Parliament and government.
We needed a third arm so we went to speak to Peter Mandelson. He made it clear it wasnât for him, but he suggested Jenny Jeger, who had been working with Callaghan at Number 10. She was interested, and we formed GJW.
GJW’s reputation is not squeaky clean, during the cash-for-access affair it emerged that Karl Milner, previously aide to Gordon Brown, had breached parliamentary privilege by leaking an embargoed report to a client. Mr Milner was one of two lobbyists – the other was our old friend “Dolly” Draper, former adviser to Peter Mandelson who were asked to leave their trade association while an investigation was undertaken – following boasts of their influence in government
Clegg described 18 year old Chris Williamsâ question as âbilgeâ â we can assume he didnât like the question then?
Why would he want to hide his background of seeing the scope for using the Liberal relationship with Labour to influence policy? Of working for a firm that put pragmatic profit before patriotism by lobbying on behalf of Ghadafi? Of working for a firm that married friends of Peter Mandelson with senior LibDem and Labour figures?
So, career politician, public school educated (intriguingly the documentary maker Louis Theroux was his âfagâ, deputised to âbend over and push him awakeâ each morning at the Â£28,000 a year Westminster School), great, great, grand nephew of a colourful Russian double agent, and scion of a Dutch multi-million heiress and a Â Russian nobleman.
Why would he be so keen that we see him as a âman of the peopleâ, representative of the ‘Nuclear Free Zone’ Sheffield’s common man, and committed campaigner against renewing the Trident missile aimed at the land of his forefathers?