Paddy and the Kooks

There will doubtless be so many personal tributes to Paddy. My Facebook and Twitter feeds are full of them.

There have been so many generous tributes from across politics. Nicholas Soames, for goodness sake, and Iain Dale and Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Paddy was known for not being tribal.

Back in the Summer of 2016, he was involved in setting up More United, a cross party group aimed at getting generous spirited, internationalist people with a social conscience elected. I was initially pretty sceptical and had some questions for them. Paddy was right back at me within 24 hours.

As it happened, the MPs elected with its support have done some darned good stuff, from getting funding for access to elections for disabled candidates to developing a more liberal consensus on immigration to campaigning to restore the migrant impact fund and lots more.

Austin Rathe, once our Head of Membership, worked with Paddy at More United. He has given me permission to share the story he put on Facebook with you all.

Lots to say about Paddy, and we’ll all be to sharing memories in the coming days.

For now, I just wanted to share my favourite Paddy story, from about 18 months ago.

More United had an event for the people who had helped us launch, including Luke Pritchard from The Kooks.

Afterwards Paddy, Corinne Sawers and I go for dinner. The following conversation occurs:

Paddy: “Who was that guy with the curly hair you were talking to?”

Me: “He’s the singer in a band called The Kooks.”

“The Kooks? I’ve never heard of them.”

“Well Paddy, I promise you they’re pretty famous.”

At this point Paddy, unconvinced, turns to a guy at the next table, taps him in the shoulder and says.

“Excuse me mate, sorry, just wanted to ask, have you ever heard of The Kooks? Are they famous?”

“Yea, I’ve heard of them, they’re pretty famous.”

“On a scale of 1-10 how famous are they?”

“About an 8 or a 9 I’d say”

“Right, and how famous is that compared to, say, Paddy Ashdown?”

The guy pauses for a moment and then says, to Paddy:

“Who’s Paddy Ashdown?”

We all nearly died laughing, Paddy included. I took this photo about 30 seconds later.

Rest In Peace mate, it was the pleasure of a lifetime to know you.

We’ll all be sharing our stories of Paddy over the next few days. Feel free to send us yours in a post to [email protected] or put it in the comments.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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One Comment

  • The early morning phonecalls from Paddy were always short, precise and direct. So it was rare to get one later in the day. I was Western Counties Regional Chair in the tough 2017 campaign. Paddy was Yeovil’s Chair. I was ascending the stairs in Wiltshire’s County Hall for my first Council Meeting and feeling pleased with myself at having taken back my Ward from a Lib Dem defector. I was surrounded by Tory Councillors when my phone went off. “It’s Paddy Ashdown so I’d better take it” I said rather self importantly to the impressed Tories. I answered and an angry and clearly audible voice said “Grant what the bloody hell is going on? We’ve had bloody national election leaflets delivered here in Welsh. Get this shambles sorted.” click. Much Tory mirth followed! We will miss his wisdom, passion and tireless commitment to doing the right thing for our people and Party (and getting it right while we did it!). It was a pleasure and privilege to have had him in our lives. Rest in peace my old friend.

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