An Evening with Paddy Ashdown sponsored by Lloyds Banking Group
A chance to spend an evening in the company of former Lib Dem leader Lord Paddy Ashdown – the man they called the "action man" of British politics. The description wasn’t only a tribute to his striking physique and love of exercise, but also to his early experience as a commando in the Marines.
Paddy’s presentation centres on ‘A Brilliant Little Operation’, the first full account of how the Cockleshell Heroes mounted the greatest commando raid of WW2, as well as his career as a leading politician. His is a complete account, as it tells for the first time of the remarkable canoe raid on German ships in Bordeaux harbour in December 1942 – by the man who served in the Special Boat Section formed after it.
Paddy Ashdown chanced to meet the raid’s leader, Blondie Hasler, just once, and has now written the definitive account of the amazing wartime raid his hero led. Delving deep into French archives, tracing surviving witnesses now into their nineties, and drawing on his own commando experience, Ashdown discovers the real truth about the Cockleshell raid to be a disturbing saga of interdepartmental rivalry and misinformation in Whitehall that made the whole operation far more difficult than it need have been, and may well have led to unnecessary deaths. A Brilliant Little Operation was published in September 2012.
Ashdown was elected leader of the Liberal Democratic Party in 1988 with over 70 per cent of the vote. He helped to restore the party fortunes at a bad time in its history. He resigned the leadership in 1999 and went on to become the United Nations High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, a position he held from 2002 until 2006. He was knighted in 2000 and became a life peer in 2001. He is a qualified Mandarin Chinese interpreter and published his autobiography, “A Fortunate Life”, in 2009.