Tag Archives: paddy ashdown

What do you do when you see a disastrous exit poll? Eat your hat, of course

Paddy Ashdown has been talking to the Guardian about that moment when he first saw the exit poll on Election Night.

rally paddy 01

To be honest I saw the poll at the bottom of the screen about 10 seconds before Andrew Neil turned to me and I thought to myself ‘oh shit’,” he said.

“Then I had an option. I could either say ‘that’s very interesting and wouldn’t it be troublesome for us’, in which case the entire Liberal Democrat night would fall apart from thereon … or I could brave it out and say ‘I’ll eat my hat’.

“I have in fact eaten five hats altogether , including one that was a proper hat, although pretty miniature, the rest made of more edible substances, which people keep presenting me with.

He discussed the impact of the polls and suggested that they had a big impact on the result of the election.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 115 Comments

Paddy on “moral duty” to save starving Syrians

Paddy Ashdown has teamed up with Labour MP and former Oxfam staffer Jo Cox to make the case for urgent action to help not just those people suffering in Madaya but the 1 million Syrians suffering the effects of sieges. They wrote in the Telegraph:

The UN estimates that 400,000 people have been systematically denied food, medicine and water in medieval siege conditions in Syria: the real figure is probably nearer to one million. Meanwhile the Syrian Government plays grandmothers footsteps with the international community: besiege a city, wait for the political pressure to build, make limited or phoney concessions, and then, when everyone has lost interest, continue as before. Last year the UN made 91 requests of the Syrian government to secure humanitarian access across conflict lines. Less than a third of those have been approved. In total, only 13 cross-line convoys were completed.

Posted in Europe / International and LibLink | Also tagged , , and | 2 Comments

Paddy: Tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia “a far greater danger” than ISIL

Paddy Ashdown has told the Independent that the growing tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran in the wake of the Saudi executions carried out over the weekend is “a far greater danger” than ISIL. He said that the UK Government should be robust about calling the Saudis out for their actions:

Lord Ashdown said Saudi Arabia’s sudden mass execution of prisoners – including the prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and a number of young political protesters – may have been intended to derail the ongoing Syrian peace talks in Vienna.

These executions are deeply, deeply destabilising to the very delicate situation that exists in the Middle East and the danger of a wider Sunni and Shia conflict. The West, including the UK government, is only just realising the danger of this and its implications for long term peace in the region. It poses a far greater danger in the long term than, for example, Isil,” the former Lib Dem leader added.

The UK Government should be making it explicitly clear that it regards this act as extremely destabilising. These executions are shocking in human rights terms and reveal the real nature of the people with whom we are dealing. The UK’s stance underlines its deeply illogical position of ignoring the funding of jihadist groups, including Isil, which is coming from within Saudi Arabia.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 6 Comments

Vince Cable is working on a novel

According to the Daily Fail, Vince Cable is working on a novel, a political thriller:

Cable, 72, is already deep into the tome, having already bashed out 40,000 words.

It will apparently be a political thriller, set around a controversial arms contract affecting India and Britain. Details thus far are scant, but a friend informs me the prose will be quite ‘pared-back and spare’, in the style of Irish novelist William Trevor. Cable certainly has insight into Anglo-Indian relations, not just because he is a former government minister. His first wife Olympia, who passed away in 2001, was Goan. ‘I am indeed well advanced on a novel,’ Cable tells me sheepishly. ‘But there are a few hurdles before it gets to publication stage.’

Paddy Ashdown apparently had a 120,000 novel turned down for publication. We’d be happy to serialise it, of course…

Posted in News | Also tagged | 1 Comment

Unmissable: When Paddy met Fern

Fern Britton’s guest today was Paddy Ashdown. It’s a thoroughly fascinating journey through his life. You see his baby photographs, you get a real insight into the early tragedies and influences which shaped him. He talks frankly about faith, life as a soldier and political leader.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 5 Comments

Peers’ input on the Syrian air strike question

We’ve heard a lot about the Commons debate on the expansion of UK air strikes into Syria. There were also some very good speeches on the subject in the House of Lords, during a discussion held at the same time as the Commons’ one, plus good peers’ input elsewhere.

You can browse the Peers’ debate here both in video and text form.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 10 Comments

Listen to Paddy in conversation with Andrew Rawnsley

If you’re heading to Oldham, or elsewhere out on the campaign trail, you might want to download this wee gem from the Guardian. Just imagine being out in the cold with a bundle of leaflets with Paddy’s ruminations on life, the universe, and everything helping you on your way.

It’s perfect delivery round length, at around one and a half hours’ long.

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