Paddy Ashdown Quotes

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Ashdown
of Norton-sub-Hamdon


Lord Ashdown at the Financial Times Summer Party, June 2011.
Chair of the Liberal Democrat General Election Committee
In office
26 September 2012 â€“ 7 May 2015
Leader Nick Clegg
Preceded by Willie Rennie (2010; Campaigns and Communications Chair)
Succeeded by Greg Mulholland (Campaigns and Communications Chair)
High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina
In office
27 May 2002 â€“ 30 May 2006
Preceded by Wolfgang Petritsch
Succeeded by Christian Schwarz-Schilling
Leader of the Liberal Democrats
In office
16 July 1988 â€“ 11 August 1999
Deputy Russell Johnston
Alan Beith
Preceded by David Steel (Liberal Party)
Robert Maclennan (SDP)
Succeeded by Charles Kennedy
Member of the House of Lords
Assumed office
10 July 2001
Member of Parliament
for Yeovil
In office
9 June 1983 â€“ 7 June 2001
Preceded by John Peyton
Succeeded by David Laws
Personal details
Born Jeremy John Durham Ashdown
(1941-02-27) 27 February 1941 (age 75)
New Delhi, British Raj
Nationality British
Political party Liberal Democrats
Spouse(s) Jane Courtenay (1962–present)
Children Son and daughter
Alma mater Bedford School
Military service
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch Royal Marines
Years of service 1959–1972
Rank Captain
Unit Special Boat Service
Battles/wars Indonesian Confrontation

I love this country, I love these people, though I can't say I love their politicians. People are always nicer than politicians, but here, you can mark that difference up a hundredfold.
Paddy Ashdown
I've had much nastier things said about me in the British press than in the Bosnian press.
Paddy Ashdown
Politics is about putting yourself in a state of grace.
I was told there would be riots in the streets, but there were no riots.
Bosnia is under my skin. It's the place you cannot leave behind. I was obsessed by the nightmare of it all; there was this sense of guilt, and an anger that has become something much deeper over these last years.
Paddy Ashdown
It would be a foolish high representative who worked that way.
People do not want politicians they know to be corrupt.
I can establish the expectation of retributive justice. Have we done that? No.
Paddy Ashdown
The greatest failure is that although we have created institutions, we have not created a civil society.
Paddy Ashdown
My second job has been to try to use my power to create institutions of a modern state that could enter the European Union, and there was very little time. The door was closing, and I wanted to get Bosnia through before it shut.
Paddy Ashdown
I don't think Bosnia is ready for reconciliation, but I do think it is ready for truth.
Paddy Ashdown
Maybe it's legitimate criticism, though it can be hurtful. Maybe I haven't paid sufficient attention to the people with whom I would have a natural affinity as a liberal, and they feel let down by that.
Paddy Ashdown
We have to make their livelihoods viable, get them the proper prices for their produce, try and make them stay rather than sell their property and leave again.
Paddy Ashdown
I am formally accountable to the steering board of the PIC, and I meet with nine ambassadors from the PIC every week. I have to have the capitals' broad agreement with what I do.
Paddy Ashdown
I can create institutions, but I can't rewrite the chips in people's heads.
Paddy Ashdown
We have invented a new human right here – the right to return home after a war.
Paddy Ashdown
It's not my job to be popular. I'm goal-driven; my job is to get results.
Paddy Ashdown
The generous way of putting it is that we were not ready for this. The less generous way is to say: How was it possible to return to the politics of appeasement of the 1930s?
Paddy Ashdown
What my future will not be is active politics in the Liberal Democrat party.
Paddy Ashdown
It was a superb agreement to end a war, but a very bad agreement to make a state. From now on, we have to part company with Dayton and try to build a modern democratic state, for which I have tried to lay the foundations.
Paddy Ashdown
Politics is compromise.
I am here because I think it was a terrible sin of the west to allow those years of war.
Paddy Ashdown
We who came here saw what was happening. This was far more than a war in a faraway place. This was a moral imperative, a terrible vision of the future.
Paddy Ashdown
It works both ways: there are victims of tragedy who come to me who have experienced grief of such magnitude that they cannot reconcile. Likewise, I cannot change the mentality of those who committed the crimes or the fools who followed them.
Paddy Ashdown