When Nick Clegg takes a knee in front of the Queen to receive his knighthood later this year, it will not be obvious what he has achieved in two decades of public office.
To be sure, as leader of the Liberal Democrats he was the first yellow tie in government since the Second World War. But his Commons seat loss at the hands of Corbynite Jared O’Mara – later disgraced for Internet rudeness – capped a year of Liberal destruction, in an election that has all but ensured Brexit by securing Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader.
At the risk of never being able to eat avocados in this town again, I admit I laughed out loud at a Toby Young gag about getting through five boxes of tissues while watching a Comic Relief film about starving children.
One of the more obscure obscenities in the recent harvest of the Tory journalist’s Twitter feed, the condemnation of it shows the loudest attitude towards loutish humour right now is censorious, the illicit comment being one of many found after Tobes was appointed to the board of the Office for Students. Earlier this morning, he resigned.
Tim Farron was one of the odder casualties at the last general election, resigning more than a week after the dust settled amid allegations of backroom plotting and ongoing controversy about his Christian faith. This despite the Lib Dem leader actually gaining his party a few seats.
His defenestration marked a few things, perhaps most importantly the trouble many have with distinguishing between somebody’s personal beliefs and what they wish to enforce in law. Farron, if you recall, clearly had some problem with homosexuality, but had a decent record on voting for LGBT rights and clearly had no intention of going backwards on the matter.
The anniversary of Donald Trump’s election to the presidency of the US has naturally prompted some soul searching among the punditry, who largely failed to predict his election, and mostly opposed it.
Trump is guilty of most of what he’s accused of, but it is a mark of the paternalist attitude held by many hacks these days that fake news is held so much to blame for the wrong candidate winning, in much the same way Britons were tricked into making the wrong choice in the EU referendum.
In the same line, fake news has caught people’s attention because politics has started to matter again, which tells you nothing good about Britain and America’s ruling classes.
What exactly are universities for? A slew of recent news stories has revealed no clear agreement on where exactly the likes of Oxford, Cambridge, the rest of the Russell Group, and the other higher education facilities fit into British life.
The ongoing squabbles over who should pay university tuition fees; trigger warnings on university courses; and the poshness of Oxbridge show that there are divided interests – including disagreements on what outcomes we are striving for.