Watching Nick (“Do you want to come back to my place and look at my canvass returns, love?”) Clegg on TV this afternoon, pontificating about something or other, I muttered something along the lines of “He’s useless, isn’t he?” A work colleague looked at the screen and asked: “Who is he?” Quite.
Years ago it was the then employment secretary Tom King who was identified as the invisible man. There was a whole song and dance routine by Spitting Image. I met (now Lord) King last year at an event where I was giving a speech as a transport minister, and he assumed I didn’t know who he was and started to explain that he used to be in the Cabinet.
“Tom, I know exactly who you are – you were Northern Ireland and Defence Secretary,” said I. “And I know you were Employment Secretary because Spitting Image called you the invisible man.” His face immediately lit up.
“You mean you remember that? Hardly anyone recalls that now.” He was clearly chuffed.
Point is, more than a decade after he left full-time politics, I wouldn’t be surprised if Tom King could be identified by more people than could Nick Clegg.