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Labour turning their back

September 22, 2010

On Tuesday evening, ‘my team’ attended a fascinating interview by The Observer with Lord Ashdown ( Paddy) at a fringe event. The interview lasted over an hour, but Paddy is such an entertaining speaker that the event could have gone on for hours and the audience would have been happy.

We had decided to arrive an hour early to get a good seat but when we arrived there was already a big crowd.

Before the interview The Observer showed a short video on the life of Paddy Ashdown. It contained interviews with his family and closest friends, and a few very amusing video clips from his earlier life.

Paddy told us about his life in the services and as a spy and went on to give a thrilling account of his time as leader of the Liberal Democrats, and his relationship with Tony Blair. He explained  how Blair had once wanted to  ‘swallow the party whole’ in a coalition deal which would have resulted in a huge majority in the House of Commons. But Paddy refused a deal with Labour then because he was convinced it would threaten the party’s identity. He obviously doesn’t believe that this is going to happen in this coalition since he has pledged his full support.

Lord Ashdown pointed out two very interesting events that had happened during the coalition talks which hadn’t been revealed before. The first was, that he had entered the meeting with  Liberal Democrat ministers ready to condemn the idea of a coalition with the Conservatives. Paddy began to change his mind though when he read what was in the coalition agreement, and saw how many Liberal Democrat policies were going to be put into practice.

But the most interesting story he told was the exact trigger that ended any chances of a deal between the Liberal Democrats and Labour. The Conservative MPs had already begun to go public saying they would welcome a deal with the Liberal Democrats. Nick Clegg wanted certain Labour MPs to do the same in order to open the door for a deal. Paddy revealed that Ed Balls, Ed Milliband, and David Milliband had all refused to do so, thus the chance was lost.

Given that Labour are currently doing nothing constructive and just attacking the coalition, it poses the question how can they attack a coaliton when they refused to take any steps towards a deal with the Liberal Democrats?

It is just more proof of how petty and irresponsible the Labour party is. The financial mess is the result of 13 years of a Labour government. They were given the chance to form a coalition and continue in government and solve the crisis their way, and they chose not to. They clearly had neither the guts nor the honesty to help the country out of the mess they themsleves created.

Thanks, Paddy, for giving us this intriguing insider account of events.

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