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Tuesday, 16 November 2010

image for Nick Clegg Tells the Truth Nick Clegg told me I'm a dog, so I must be a cat.

'When I was getting ready to go out this morning,' his wife confided to our reporter, 'and Nick remarked, "It's a nice sunny day outside", I automatically started looking for my umbrella. But then, with a hurt expression, he urged me to look out the window, whereupon, to my astonishment, I saw that it was indeed a nice sunny day.'

It was this dramatic breakthrough that encouraged Miriam, with her husband's support, to come out of the closet about the Compulsive Mendacity Disorder (CMD) that has plagued him throughout life and for which he continues to have treatment.

When he was a toddler and would say 'Me not here, me there', or point at a dog and say 'cat', people thought it was cute, or attributed it to youthful inexperience. Only when he reached school age did teachers begin to realize that there was a problem, since not only would he periodically claim, as children will, that the dog had eaten his homework, but would make the claim when he had actually done the homework and handed it in. It became more serious when he signed a pledge to feed the gerbil during the holidays but actually left it to starve. His explanation that 'When I made the promise I didn't realize how little gerbil food was available' was unconvincing.

So he was sent to the school psychologist, who had just become aware of the newly-discovered condition Compulsive Mendacity Disorder, and promptly identified the boy Clegg as a sufferer.

For years Nick attended therapy at school three times a week, or said he did, and took sodium amytal tablets morning and night, or said he did, but no improvement could be discerned. Although he insisted that he was telling the truth more often, observers saw no correspondence between any of his utterances and reality.

Then he went to university, where an enlightened Political Science tutor opened new horizons for the troubled young man. 'You can turn your disability to good use,' Dr Realpolitik urged him, 'since, like many CMD patients, you are ideally suited for a career in politics. Many of our greatest leaders have sublimated their veracity issues by serving their country in this manner, and so can you.'

Nick immediately responded, 'But I have no wish for political power. I only want to promote the values and policies of a free and equal society, regardless of electoral success.'

'Excellent,' smiled the tutor. 'I can see you'll go far.'

From then on, Nick Clegg never looked back. He continued to have treatment for CMD only because he had insisted to friends and family that he was sick of the whole business and would never set foot in another psychologist's office. It was just as well that this avowal was untrue, because his therapist, Dr Sigmund Greed, advised him that while there was no real cure for the condition, the treatment was helpful in keeping the patient's empirically deviant statements within the bounds of logical possibility, thus avoiding unfavourable political repercussions.

'But judging by this morning's dramatic event,' Miriam continued her story, 'it seems that Nick has gone beyond mere logical possibility and is actually becoming capable of telling the truth. And we can tell the world that unkind epithets like liar, cheat, swindler, and so on, are as unscientific as they are insensitive, when directed at someone making genuine progress in overcoming his disability. CMD is no disgrace! In fact Nick has told me that one of his political idols, Tony Blair, is also a secret sufferer.'

Our reporter expressed concern that this might mark the end of Clegg's political career. 'Oh no,' said his wife, 'you just watch his statement on television this afternoon. It will be a political tour de force. There won't be a dry eye in the house.'

'I am really trying,' Nick Clegg appealed to the nation in hesitant, humble, but clearly inspired tones. 'From now on you can be sure - well, you can think it possible - that what I'm saying is the truth - I mean - that what I'm saying MIGHT BE the truth, SOME OF the time.

'And about that gerbil,' he added, 'to show my sincere efforts to improve, I can now confess that I - well - I NEVER INTENDED to feed him when I made the promise! So there, I said it! I am neurologically capable of telling the truth! Please believe me!'

But alas, no one did.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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