LibLink: Paddy Ashdown – ‘I used to think the party of Gladstone would end with Ashdown’

Today’s Telegraph has an interview with Paddy Ashdown, timed to promote his new TV documentary The Most Courageous Raid of WWII.

From the BBC:

Lord Ashdown, a former special forces commando, tells the story of the ‘Cockleshell Heroes’, who led one of the most daring and audacious commando raids of World War II… Lord Ashdown recreates parts of the raid and explains how this experience was used in preparing for one of the greatest land invasions in history, D-day.

As well as the documentary, Lord Ashdown’s Telegraph interview covers Europe, the Liberal Democrats and the art of compromise:

When Ashdown became leader in 1988, no one would have predicted there would be a Lib Dem as Deputy Prime Minister: “Did I think the Lib Dems would get this far?” he muses. “I didn’t even think they’d survive. I used to wake up sweating, thinking the party of Gladstone is going to end with Ashdown – it was very much touch and go.”
Ashdown recognised that the party he saw as a “furry little herbivorous think tank on the edges of British politics” needed to change, but the centrist ground he chose was colonised and superseded by Tony Blair. Is it difficult, then, to see Clegg succeed? “I don’t think I’d have been as good as Nick Clegg, in all honesty,” he says. “But, of course, I’d have loved to. It spoils my whole afternoon that I haven’t been prime minister.”

Clegg himself has paid a price: from being the subject of “Cleggmania” during the 2010 election, he has been vilified since. A new book claimed last month that he had done a deal with his wife Miriam that he would only serve one term. Ashdown dismisses this: “No… I know this man very well; he is incredibly comfortable in his own skin… I can think of no one in the party who comes anywhere near Nick when it comes to being Lib Dem leader and I can’t think of a single person in the party who’s foolish enough to believe they do.”

Read the full piece in the Telegraph.

Watch The Most Courageous Raid of WWII at 9pm tomorrow, Tuesday, on BBC2 (except Scotland).

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This entry was posted in LibLink.
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