The Sunday Times/Peters Fraser & Dunlop Young Writer of the Year - Now open for submissions
Authors
Rebecca Welshman Tracy Kuhn Helen Lederer Carolyn T. Hughes Alex Salmond Beth Underdown Alex Scarlett Niki Rein James Macmanus David Young Helen Donohoe Sam Norman N.D. Gomes Victoria Biram Ross Welford Abigail Marsh Deana Puccio and Allison Havey John Samuel Peter Walker Ann Hayton Gabriel Packard Lisa Carey Deeyah Khan Lisa Eldridge Steve Peters Janice Hadlow Elizabeth Peyton-Jones Tony Juniper Catherine Barter Alun Withey Elizabeth Day Louise Johncox E R Black Barney Campbell Melanie Southerden Rebecca Thornton Tiffany McDaniel Steve Heaney, MC J Sheekey Cook Book Clare Penate Mark Vanhoenacker Caroline Lea Lara Silverstone Christopher Bland James Bannon Ayisha Malik Emily Elgar S.E Moorhead Sharbari Ahmed Jason Morgan Elizabeth Fullerton Jeremy Hackett Ed Burstell Kate Sundara Alex Andreou Jem Lester Kathryn Alton Tony Edwards Janet Todd Jamie Bartlett Natasha Garnett John Bromley-Davenport Lara Silverstone Kate Bevan Sarah Vincent Emily Chappell Nikki Owen Helen Rappaport Gill Wyness Barney Norris Richard Maher Vanessa Manko Adam White Catherine Chanter Jake and Victor Maymudes Jessica Fellowes Edward Young Spela Strukelj Michael Halperin David Varela Jonathan Goodwin Daniel Stevens Eamonn Griffin Gilly Macmillan Gaylene Gould Selina Mills Ruby Wax Celia Imrie Revd Richard Coles Gareth Rubin Maxine Clark Graham Masterton Beryl Kingston Buffalo Pictures (Doc Martin) Dr. Elizabeth Foyster David Francis Xenobe Purvis Iman Verjee Bryony Gordon J. Kent Messum Cath Bore Poppy Campbell Robert Elms Cecilia Ekbäck Joanne Strasser Matthew Specktor John Gordon Sinclair The Gentle Author Brian Cathcart Paul Conroy Daisy Goodwin Michael Waterhouse Paula Weideger Georgie Thompson Professor Simon Schama Peter Hain Gus Casely-Hayford Aoife Walsh Neal Street Productions Michael Winner Amanda Prowse David Heathcoat-Amory Phil Hardy Maria Anderson Kishwar Desai Jesse Norman MP Tom Wilkinson Sheena Byrom Hanna Jameson Carnival Films (Downton Abbey) Harriet Sergeant Michael Heppell David Blakeley Peter Sissons Sir Alistair Horne Professor Sir Peter Hall Patricia Leroy Richard Foreman Silvena Rowe Kaushy Patel Wade Davis General Sir John Wilsey Derry Moore Harry Benson Phil Campion Richard Charlton Mark Dawson Lorraine Gamman Glenn Haybittle John Lahutsky Ebony McKenna Lucy Lord Peter Moore James Palumbo Allison Pearson Mark Pearson Mary Quant K.A.S Quinn Sarah Raven John Rendall Mark Rice-Oxley Geoffrey Robertson Jill Shaw Ruddock Sean Ryan Robert Sackville-West Laura Santtini Samantha Scott-Jeffries Roger Scruton James Shepherd-Barron Silver River Productions William Sitwell Helen Slavin Joan Smith Norman Stone John Sweeney Niall Williams Jeanette Winterson Jonathan Zittrain Sandy Nairne Karl Miller Shireen Jilla Simon Kelner Deborah Mattinson David Linley (Viscount Linley) Twiggy Lawson Lieutenant General Sir Barney White-Spunner Ion Trewin Patrick Tilley Simon King Professor Lord Skidelsky Sir Tim Rice Christine Webber Chris Patten Philip Norman Michael Nicholson Nicholas Mosley Russell Miller Professor David McLellan Sunny Jacobs and Peter Pringle Christopher Martin-Jenkins Fiona MacCarthy Tony Lewis Angela Huth Martin Langfield Harriet Harvey-Wood Professor Henry Kamen Hammer Films Douglas Hurd Baroness Susan Greenfield Sandra Howard Philip Hook Lynda Gratton Peter Florence Michael Heseltine Denis Healey David Loyn Mike Dowling Max Hastings Tony Fitzjohn William Hague Damien Lewis Ffion Hague David Gentleman General Sir David Fraser Ilana Fox Karen Dolby Professor M.R.D. Foot David Faber Dr Christopher Duffy Terry Coleman Alex Chance Professor Christopher Bellamy Louise Bagshawe Paddy Ashdown Neal Ascherson Charlie Ellingworth Rowan Walker Mark Diacono Maria Eitel E B Peirse Roland Vernon Maureen Lindley Leander Deeny David Davies Matthew d'Ancona Xanthe Clay Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles Hugh Cornwell Marianne Curley Francis Cottam Jackie Clune Jonathan Franklin Paul Burke Nick Weston Alec Russell Glyn Prysor Pauline Prescott George Obama Brian Moynahan Adrian Fort Lord (Sebastian) Coe Evgenia Citkowitz Caroline Charles Emma Calder Rosie Boycott Pattie Boyd Peter Bowles Kay Burley Richard Attenborough Sarah Winman Marius Brill Alan Philps Bear Grylls Patrick Bishop Jimmy Burns
Journalists
Mark Diacono Paula Weideger Emma Wilson Lucy Wadham Antonia Quirke Rebecca Howard Newby Hands David Gritten Sebastian Gibson Tim Atkin Jackie Clune Professor Simon Schama Sandra Howard Stacey Duguid Lorraine Candy Zoe Lewis
Estates
John Creasey Michael Innes Eric Ambler Anthony Masters Josephine Johnson Gabriel Fielding George Bellairs H. M. Tomlinson R.C. Hutchinson Georges Simenon Mazo de la Roche Denis Mackail Lettice Cooper John B. Sanford Dennis Wheatley Jean Saunders Raymond Postgate Alistair Mair Leonard Gribble Nicolas Freeling Edmund Crispin Margery Allingham Jane Aiken Hodge Hammond Innes Hilaire Belloc Alan Clark Colin Clark Ivy Compton-Burnett C. Day Lewis/Nicholas Blake Monica Dickens C. S. Forester E. M. Forster Clement Freud Margaret Irwin Robin Jenkins H. R. F. Keating Arthur Koestler Eric Linklater Gavin Lyall Frank O'Connor Mervyn Peake Evelyn Prentis V. S. Pritchett Bernice Rubens Margery Sharp Edith Sitwell Anthony Storr Catherine Storr Marie Vassiltchikov Rebecca West W. Bridges Adams Kenneth Allsop Martin Armstrong Nora Barlow Clifford Bax Phyllis Bentley Marcel Boulestin Ann Bridge
Broadcasters
Dr Ayan Panja Ronnie Murray Judy Joo Mel Southerden Ed Burstell Revd Richard Coles Simone Bienne Valentine Warner Steven Lamb Myriam Francois-Cerrah Alun Withey David Linley Lorraine Candy Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles Tony Juniper Carla Buzasi Tom Wilkinson Jamie Bartlett Mark Hix Annie Gray Martin Dorey Stuart Tootal Janet Reibstein Steve Peters Susie Orbach Susan Greenfield Deana Puccio and Allison Havey Allison Pearson Kay Burley Tim Hayward Philip Hook Ruby Wax Sandra Howard Jackie Clune Max Hastings Harry Cliff Jessica Fellowes Jeanette Winterson Tim Atkin Paddy Ashdown Gus Casely-Hayford Twiggy Lawson Nick Weston Helen Rappaport William Sitwell John Rendall Phil Campion Mark Diacono Oliver Cox Grant Harrold
Speakers
Ronnie Murray Judy Joo Myriam Francois-Cerrah Simone Bienne Steven Lamb Robert Skidelsky Louise Johncox David Linley Lorraine Candy Tony Juniper Carla Buzasi Tom Wilkinson Jamie Bartlett Ed Burstell Catherine Fisher David Blakeley Sherard Cowper-Coles Jacqueline Yallop Janice Hadlow Mark Hix Annie Gray Martin Dorey Sarah Raven Philip Norman Graham Masterton Philip Hook Daisy Goodwin Jesse Norman Steve Peters Sandra Howard Grant Harrold Janet Reibstein Susie Orbach Susan Greenfield Harry Cliff Deana Puccio and Allison Havey Deeyah Khan Michael Howard Michael Heseltine Paddy Ashdown Stuart Tootal Phil Campion Allison Pearson Kay Burley Mark Diacono Robert Sackville-West Helen Rappaport Max Hastings Oliver Cox Nick Weston William Sitwell Tim Hayward Francesca Fox Tim Atkin Jonathan Zittrain Lynda Gratton Jeanette Winterson Ruby Wax John Rendall Twiggy Lawson Ilana Fox Jessica Fellowes Jackie Clune Emily Chappell Gus Casely-Hayford

 
mobile-menu mobile-menu-arrow Menu
 
 
 
LordAshdown2010highres

Paddy Ashdown

Paddy Ashdown is one of the country’s best known and most respected political figures. He is currently running the Liberal Democrats 2015 General Election campaign. Born in New Delhi, Paddy spent his childhood between India and Britain. Joining the Royal Marines in 1959, he became a member of the Special Boat Service before studying Mandarin at Hong Kong University and spending five years as a British diplomat.

Paddy entered the House of Commons in 1983 as Liberal MP for Yeovil. In 1988 he became the first leader of the merged Liberal and Social Democratic Party, a post he held for 11 years. Paddy was knighted in 2000 and entered the House of Lords a year later. Paddy was one of the leading advocates for decisive action by the international community in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He became High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina from 2002 until 2006.

In 2012 Paddy presented the BBC documentary The Cockleshell Heroes based on his book A Brilliant Little Operation. His new book The Cruel Victory marking the 70th anniversary of Vercors in 1944 was published in March 2015.

Amongst many speech themes Paddy talks about UK and global politics, conflict resolution and the new multi-polar global power structure.

 

- Contact -

James Carroll (jcarroll@pfd.co.uk)

+44(0)207 344 1087


 
 
Publications
Paddy Ashdown
 

A FORTUNATE LIFE

No other British political leader of the post-war generation could have written a book like this for the simple reason that no other modern politician has led a life as varied, adventurous and dramatic as its author. He has been, in turn, an officer in the Royal Marine Commandos, a member of the Special Boat Service, a diplomat, an MP and leader of his party and an international peacemaker in war-torn Bosnia.He can, and does, write with authority about topics as diverse as evading water bailiffs while fishing illicitly at night (a legacy of his childhood in Northern Ireland); tracking down and destroying infiltrating Indonesian forces in the jungles of Sarawak; landing a raiding party from a submerged submarine; the difficulties of learning Chinese (he holds the equivalent of a first-class degree in Chinese, just one of his six languages); winning an apparently ‘hopeless’ parliamentary seat; negotiating with Tony Blair; and bringing stability to a country wracked by civil war.

He is deadly serious when writing about the things that matter to him – his family, his country, his party, the Bosnian people whose cause he adopted when it was deeply unpopular to do so – but he also has a refreshing gift for seeing the funny side of most situations and illustrates it with self-deprecating wit and a wealth of anecdote. Although this book covers his years in politics – the chapter on ‘The Winning of Yeovil’, an eight-year campaign to overturn an impregnable Conservative majority with the help of a second-hand printing press called Clarissa and a supply of potent home-made wine is particularly memorable – it is hard to imagine anything less like a traditional political memoir.

This is the self-portrait of a man who has lived life to the full and whose autobiography would be fascinating, even if he had never set foot in Palace of Westminster – a place whose intrigues and self-absorption, he acknowledges, he often found tedious.This is an autobiography by a politician which is totally unlike the traditional political memoir. It is the story of a life lived to the full, as a Royal Marine Commando, a member of the Special Boat Service and an international peacemaker, as well as an MP and a party leader. At a time when politicians are viewed with derision and suspicion, Paddy Ashdown is widely respected and admired, even by his political opponents. This books shows why.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1845135229

PUBLISHER: Aurum
PUBLICATION DATE: April 2009

Close
Paddy Ashdown
 

SWORDS AND PLOUGHSHARES

The men and women of the British armed forces are currently engaged in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Balkans in ‘peacekeeping operations’. How do we avoid these missions turning into long-term entanglements, like the current disaster that is Iraq? How do we bring our soldiers home? And what do we do about ‘failed states’ that are havens for gangsters and terrorists? Paddy Ashdown fears we will soon see major wars between nation states. Many will begin as minor conflicts that will expand into full-scale wars unless the international community intervenes. The way to stop the big wars is to deal promptly with the small ones.
There have been 15 UN-led interventions since 1946, and there are 74 wars in progress today. From his perspective as a former Royal Marine officer in the 1960s to the High Representative in Bosnia from 2002-6, Lord Ashdown is uniquely qualified to investigate the successes and failures of peace-keeping operations, reveal what lessons have been learned — and what lessons keep being forgotten. (The US strategy in Iraq serves as a ‘how not to’ example in almost every subject area.) His discussion of the highs and lows of previous missions includes George Robertson and the celebrated ‘Chivas Regal Accords’ negotiated in Balkan hotel bars. He points out that planning for post-war government in Germany began in 1943, two years before the guns fell silent. By contrast, George Bush sacked the teams working on plans for post-Saddam Iraq just as US and British forces invaded in 2003.
The men and women of our armed forces will be called to take part in many more of these missions in the next few years. SWORDS AND PLOUGHSHARES reveals the strategies required to avoid another Iraq-style disaster.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0753823314

PUBLISHER: Orion
PUBLICATION DATE: May 2007

Close
Paddy Ashdown
 

THE ASHDOWN DIARIES VOLUME 1

On 28 July 1988, the day Paddy Ashdown was elected leader of his party and this diary begins, the men from the Inland Revenue had to be hurried from the party’s headquarters so he could make his first Leader’s statement to the press. (The Revenue had called ‘because of our persistent failure to pay National Insurance contributions.’) The party was virtually bankrupt, morale almost extinguished. In the depths of despair eleven months later, with everything apparently dissolving around him, he wrote in his diary, ‘I am plagued by the nightmare that the party that started with Gladstone will end with Ashdown.’

But history turned out otherwise. On 2 May 1997, when this volume ends, the Liberal Democrats under Ashdown’s leadership had been brought to their strongest position in two generations – 46 seats in the House of Commons and, as this book now reveals, on the brink of reshaping entirely the centre ground of British politics. The astonishing revival of his party (ruthlessly internally managed, as his daily thinking shows and despite his frequent confessions of nervousness and absence of confidence) is one of the great themes of this book.

The account which brings Ashdown gives here of his negotiations with Tony Blair to bring about reshaping, which were to an extent and intensity until now totally unguessed at except by their immediate advisers, is the main political story which this book has to tell. ‘Let me give it to you absolutely straight,’ Blair says to him in May 1996. ‘I repeat what I have said to Roy. The preferred option is very clear. It is to have you in the Government, even if there is a majority.’ The portrait of Blair himself and of those around him is the least varnished and most three-dimensional yet published.

Yet these are only two threads in an entertaining and gripping book. Ashdown shows the extraordinary pressure with which the political leaders now live, constantly in the eye of the media, fighting to protect some small patch of personal life, surviving on a few hours sleep per night for weeks on end. The stresses on him and his family are almost overwhelming. Racist thugs torch his car, and threaten to do the same to his house in his constituency (‘I am scared to death of the house being fire-bombed with Jane inside.’) The news of his earlier affair with Tricia Sullivan breaks in the press. The book shows how media crises are handled, and how he and Jane coped with what was thrown at them.

Finally, the Balkans. No British politician had such an intimate personal involvement with the crisis there during the 1990s or can write so authoritatively about it. Ashdown’s account of coming over Mount Igman at dawn and entering Sarajevo through the tunnel underneath the airport is as exciting as anything in adventure fiction. Yet contemplating Britain’s role there he writes, ‘I don’t know which was the stronger emotion, the anger or the shame.’ His condemnation of the inaction of the Conservative government is complete and unequivocal.

The completion of Ashdown’s account of that story, as of the domestic political negotiations which reached their high-water mark in April 1997, must wait for publication of his second and final novel in autumn 2001. In the meantime, it is clear from this first volume that Ashdown is providing us with the best and most detailed account of what it’s like to be a front-line politician, and of the processes of politics in Britain, since Richard Crossman.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0713995106

PUBLISHER: Penguin
PUBLICATION DATE: November 2000

Close
Paddy Ashdown
 

THE ASHDOWN DIARIES VOLUME 2

On 2 May 1997, Tony Blair and Paddy Ashdown led their parties to their greatest electoral victories for many political generations. In opposition, they had planned, if the Tories were defeated, to bring Labour and the Liberal Democrats into partnership in government and to heal the schism that had divided the left for most of twentieth-century British politics. But, as Ashdown notes here, ‘Blair and I succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. In fact, we succeeded too well. The Labour majority was much too big…’
This second and final volume of Paddy Ashdown’s diaries traces the intense and often fraught attempt by Blair and Ashdown to hold on to as much of their original vision as they could, against the instincts of many in their parties. Having failed to bring the parties together immediately after the election, they tried again in November 1997 and once more in the autumn of the following year. ‘The crucial moment when I knew it was irrecoverable was the evening of 29 October 1998, when Jack Straw was allowed to rubbish the outcome of the Jenkins Commission in the House of Commons and Tony Blair did nothing to counter him.’ It is one of the most gripping stories and greatest might-have-beens in modern politics, enormously revealing of both the main protagonists and of their chief lieutenants, here rendered in unvarnished and often blistering detail. Blair and Ashdown’s personal relationship was, as this book reveals, far closer than that of any other two party political leaders in twentieth-century Britain. This makes Ashdown’s judgements about the character of the man with whom he was dealing particularly authoritative, and probably the most acute that have yet appeared in print. As one commentator on the first volume of these diaries remarked, ‘His judgements about individuals ring startlingly true.’

Intertwined with this dramatic story are two others: the successful attempt to introduce partnership government on the basis of PR in Scotland, the background to which is revealed here for the first time; and Ashdown’s involvement both officially and behind the scenes, in the unfolding horrors of the Kosovo War. In the final section of the book Ashdown records why he decided to step down as leader of the Lib Dems at a moment almost no one expected.

Besides all this, the book shows what politicians actually do all day.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0713995114

PUBLISHER: Allen Lane
PUBLICATION DATE: 16th September 2001

Close
Paddy Ashdown
 
A BRILLIANT LITTLE OPERATION: THE COCKLESHELL HEROES AND THE MOST COURAGEOUS RAID OF WW2
The complete story of the remarkable canoe raid on German ships in Bordeaux Harbour – by the man who himself served in the Special Boat Squadron. In 1942, before El Alamein turned the tide of war, the German merchant fleet was re-supplying its war machine with impunity. So Operation Frankton, a daring and secret raid, was launched by Mountbatten’s Combined Operations and led by the enigmatic ‘Blondie’ Hasler – to paddle ‘Cockleshell’ canoes right into Bordeaux harbour and sink the ships at anchor. It was a desperately hazardous mission from the start – dropped by submarine to canoe some hundred miles up the Gironde into the heart of Vichy France, surviving terrifying tidal races, only to face the biggest challenge of all: escaping across the Pyrenees. Fewer than half the men made it to Bordeaux; only four laid their mines; just two got back alive. But the most damage was done to the Germans’ sense of impregnability. Paddy Ashdown, himself a member of the Royal Marines’ elite Special Boat Squadron formed as a consequence of Frankton, has always been fascinated by this classic story of bravery and ingenuity – as a young man even meeting his hero Hasler once. Now, after researching previously unseen archives and tracing surviving witnesses, he has written the definitive account of the raid. The real truth, he discovers – a deplorable tale of Whitehall rivalry and breakdowns in communication – serves only to make the achievements of the ‘Cockleshell’ heroes all the more heroic.
‘A meticulously researched and truly shocking account of an operation that should never have been authorised. In his account of this hair-raising, if not hare-brained enterprise, Ashdown sustains an incisive narrative of great suspense, laced with a moral outrage that is all the more powerful for being both understated and underpinned by telling detail.’ Jonathan Dimbleby,  Mail on Sunday

‘The story of Operation Frankton is an extreme example of a plan brilliantly conceived and badly botched. The ten commandos who made a secret canoe raid in 1942 on German merchant ships have become icons of British wartime derring-do.’ The Times

‘No doubt many more books will be written about the war, but I hope this becomes a model for them since, though the heroism of our boys is stirring stuff, history only makes real sense if you can see it from all sides.’ Daily Telegraph

‘Paddy Ashdown has sifted the facts from the myths to write a fascinating and very personal account.’ Independent

‘It moves at the pace of a thriller and it’s real’  Nick Ferrari, Sunday Express

‘Ashdown’s insights and his extensive research in an impressive range of archives will ensure that yet another work on the subject will not be required in the foreseeable future.’  Times Literary Supplement

Winner of the Royal Marines Historical Society Literary Award for 2013.

 

PUBLISHER: Aurum

PUBLICATION DATE: 17th September 2012

BUY IT HERE:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1845137019

 

Close
Paddy Ashdown
 

THE CRUEL VICTORY

In 1941 factions of the French Resistance began to plot against their German occupiers.  Aided by Allied Arms and secret agents, they would seize the mountainous Vercors plateau in south-eastern France in a D-Day uprising intended to divert the Nazis from the Normandy beaches.  But when muddled Allied strategy in London and Algiers saw them abandoned, some 4,500 young fighters were left to face the might of the German Army alone.

‘Excellent in showing how men across France mobilised. For Ashdown, Vercors is the “hidden story of D-Day” and he tells it with panache and great attention to detail.’ Sunday Express

‘A powerful account of an extraordinary story.’ The Times

‘A fine account.’ 5*, Daily Telegraph

‘Paddy Ashdown has produced not only the most thorough history to date of the Resistance in the Vercors, but also the startling new contention that, ‘The Germans did not win on the Vercors. They lost.’ Written with pace, the detail is fine… and Ashdown is well-placed to write this book, which requires an understanding of military strategy, diplomacy and political shenanigans, as well as old fashioned story telling skill.’ Spectator

PUBLISHER: HarperCollins

PUBLICATION DATE: 5TH JUNE 2014

BUY HERE: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0007520808

Close