This is from the GMTV Sunday programme earlier in the year. No wonder Paddy felt he had to say no...
Steve Richards: Have you got a sense now from the more relaxed perspective from which you can view these things compared with the mid 1990's about how Gordon Brown will approach this specific area of foreign affairs? Is it your sense that he will be empathic to the agenda you broadly outlined in this interview and which you will do so in more detail in the book?
Paddy Ashdown: My guess is not. I mean, I don't think he likes foreign policy, I don't think he's very interested in it. He's passionately interested in Africa but I think that comes much more from his Methodist, his Presbyterian upbringing in the Manse. You know, I suspect it's the same general instinct that would have caused his mother to sell jam for starving children in Africa on the stalls in Edinburgh or Glasgow or wherever he was. So I don't think he has a grand world vision in the way that Blair, maybe too much, had a grand world vision. One of the things that worries me about Blair sometimes is this sense of Messianic and moral purpose, which I quite dislike in somebody who leads the country into war. So no, I don't think he will be. I think he will have a narrower vision. I remember saying to a friend recently that I thought that Camelot would turn to Gormenghast overnight when Gordon Brown came to power. Our spectral Prime Minister would be seen flitting up Downing Street after the hours of darkness and there would be a single guttering candle shining out of a window in Downing Street. So I think it would be a rather more gloomy Downing Street than we have at present.
Steve Richards: That's quite an image. Given that obviously the current leader of your country Sir Menzies Campbell has some important calculations to make, you famously moved your party away from what's called equidistance - going through the middle of the other parties and keeping a similar gap between both. I got the impression at his weekend speech in Harrogate that Menzies Campbell was saying 'No way can the Conservatives meet the challenges I'm setting!'. Well, he was explicit. He said 'They can't meet them. Gordon Brown, meet them and you'll have done the business!'. Was he indicating a sort of movement?
Paddy Ashdown: You'd better ask him, Steve, not me. I mean look, Gladstone once famously said that ex-Prime Ministers, for this take ex-party leaders, are like untethered battleships in the harbour. They bang about and do a lot of damage. I said when I finished my job that I would leave the decisions, the very difficult decisions that have to be taken, and not interfere in them - certainly not in public! The truth is that each of the past Liberal Democrat leaders has had an opportunity to do this. Thorpe did; Steel did, as you recall; I did. Each of them did it in a different circumstance and had a different hand of cards to play and Menzies will be different as well and he will have to take those decisions for himself. One thing I would say, however, and it's the only exception I make to this rule, and I suspect Menzies would say it too, is this: you know the old phrase in English 'If you dine with the Devil, you take a long spoon' - I would not dine with God if PR was not on the menu, but I would dine with the Devil if it was.
Steve Richards: Right, so absolutely central to it is proportional representation.
Paddy Ashdown: That's my view.
Steve Richards: Right, that's absolutely your view. It's interesting: he didn't mention that actually in his speech.
Paddy Ashdown: I wouldn't dine with God if PR was not on the menu but I'd dine with the Devil if it was.
Cry God for England Harry and PR.
Its the only thing that can save us from Murdoch and the BBC choosing our leaders.
Surprising lack of acumen by Gordon and Ming. Between the two of them they have given a small boost to the Conservatives.
Lib Dems happy to deal with the Devil for PR - sounds about right for them.
McBroon seems to be continuing the grand Blair tradition of botched reshuffles, before he's even got a proper working Government to reshuffle.
As for Ashdown I can't even look at him without the word "pantsdown" leaping to mind. Just can't take him seriously.
exactly. Man's a buffoon
Cor - he can't be very well educated. The last word should be 'were' rather than 'was' (subjunctive). They let any old riffraff into the Lords nowadays don't they?
Sir Paddy Ashdown's fame stems as much from a peccadillo and reports that he lasted nine-and-a-half seconds in the sack as from leading the Liberal Democrats for 11 years. Now he is party leader no more - whatever next for Paddy?
(Andrew Roth, Monday March 19, 2001
tone made me do it etc
What the bugger does PR have to do with the BBC or Murdoch?
The best/only way to stop the BBC choosing our leaders and even more serious things then that, is to close them down, or at least privatise them.
The best way to stop Murdoch attempting to do the same, is to close down the BBC and then almost entirely deregulate the broadcast industry. This will not happen without public demostrations and most likely not even if hell frose over.
I cant see what PR has to do to help our current situation. PR is just as likely to make it worse.
"Our spectral Prime Minister would be seen flitting up Downing Street after the hours of darkness and there would be a single guttering candle shining out of a window in Downing Street."
All we need now is for Sir Michael Caine to be appointed NI secretary and the cast for the remake of a Muppet Christmas Carol is complete. Ebeneezer Broon, you will be visited by three ghosts....
It would seem that broon must have offered PR to Ashdown as part of a deal.
He's dined with the devil so he must have had his long spoon (PR) in his grasp.
"What the bugger does PR have to do with the BBC or Murdoch?"
My thesis is as follows:
The main parties know that to win they must choose a candidate they think the MSM (the BBC and Murdoch) will approve of.
The MSM will only approve if the candidate is "from the centre ground/centre left".
Under our FPP system, a few thousand floating voters in a few scores of marginal seats decide the result of the election. To my mind "floating voters" are by definition easily influenced by the MSN.
ALL opinion in the two parties must be strictly controlled by the party leader to prevent the MSM banging on about "dangerous splits" in their party.
Therefore all politics coming from the main parties are a fight for the centre ground. The "Big Tent". This type of politics is boring. Most importantly it stifles all debate about the real issues facing the country. Only presentation is important.
Proper right wing (and left wing) parties can then develop their own policies knowing that they have bed rock support from 15-20% of the electorate - many of whom don't bother voting any more.
The ideas could not be stifled by a MSM on the grounds that they will upset people. The BBC could not stifle voices from the right if they enjoyed 15%-25% of the popular vote - this would contravene their charter.
The only countries that have clamped down on immigration of intolerant people into Europe are the countries with PR.
Unbelievably, to my mind, the only politics and views from outside the "Big tent" that the MSM publicise in the UK are the views of terrorists or extremists who threaten violence.
That's what the bugger PR has to
do with the BBC and Murdoch.
Last month following the Grammar school bollocks, I left "the big tent". Nothing of any good will ever emerge from it except a Balkanisation of the UK. PR is the only way of getting right wing views into politics.
Sorry, but if the fiasco in the Welsh Assembly [and I speak as a Welshman] is what proportional representation delivers, there is absolutely no way on heaven and earth that Gordon will go for it. I mean, come along, it put Alex Salmond into the First Minister role in Scotland.
I used to have a lot of time for the Lib Dems, for being willing to eschew simple vote-grabbing populism to stick to their principles, but I am now at a loss to understand what they are for.
Except that Wales or Scotland will never elect right wing nationalist parties. (Although they are both anti English migration)
all used PR to get right wing parties represented and listened to and these countries then stamped down on large scale immigration of intolerant people.
Jeremy, if you ever achieve one millionth what he has, then you can talk. You arse.
"Happoly deal with the Devil for PR"
So what if the BNP offered PR?
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