If I were PM, I'd remind Britons they are Europeans, Nick Clegg tells WGS 2023

Britons are fighting against their geography and heritage, Meta president says

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Former British deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said Britons have been fighting against their “European destiny” since Brexit.

Mr Clegg, who served from 2010 to 2015 and is now the president of global affairs at Facebook parent Meta, spoke on the second day of the World Government Summit in Dubai.

In an on-stage session, he was asked by Omar Al Olama, Minister of State for Digital Economy, AI and Remote Working System, what his first decision would be if he were elected as UK’s prime minister today.

We are tectonically, historically and in culture a European nation, yet we seem to have sort of fought against geography and our European destiny
Nick Clegg

“In the United Kingdom, I would restore an appreciation of and respect for geography,” said Mr Clegg, who led the pro-European Union Liberal Democrats in a ruling coalition with the Conservative Party.

“My own view is that ever since 2016, and the Brexit referendum, the country has been enveloped by this sort of furious debate which is trying to deny geography.

“We are tectonically, historically and in culture a European nation, and yet we seem to have sort of fought against geography and our European destiny.”

Several recent polls have shown that many Britons regretted Brexit. A Statista survey showed 54 per cent said it was wrong to leave, compared with 34 per cent who still backed it.

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When asked if he wanted to reverse Brexit, Mr Clegg said that “it was up to future generations”.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said last month that Britain had made "huge strides" in taking up opportunities provided by leaving the EU, and had become an "independent nation".

Mr Clegg joined Meta, the company that owns Facebook, in 2018.

He spoke about how Meta is using artificial intelligence to improve its products, including helping reduce hate speech by 80 per cent on Facebook.

"We use AI systems already, for a whole range of things, also for protective reasons," he said.

"So, if you look at the, for instance, the reduction of measured hate speech on Facebook… how much hate speech can you find in terms in terms of proportional to total content on Facebook, it's now down to 0.02 per cent.

"That means that for every 10,000 bits of content that might scroll on your Facebook newsfeed will find two bits of hate speech.

“I wish it could be down to zero, I think it's going to be zero. But it's been reduced by I think around 80 per cent over the last two years because of advances in AI."

Updated: February 14, 2023, 12:24 PM