Paddy Ashdown Quotes

In the modern age where everything is connected to everything, the most important thing about what you can do is what you can do with others.

The greatest failure is that although we have created institutions, we have not created a civil society.

There can be no place in a 21st-century parliament for people with 15th-century titles upholding 19th-century prejudices.

The advent of interconnectedness and of weapons of mass destruction means that, increasingly, I share a destiny with my enemy.

Blair is regarded by most people in Britain as a smarmy git.

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.

I’ve had much nastier things said about me in the British press than in the Bosnian press.

Politics is about putting yourself in a state of grace.

I can create institutions, but I can’t rewrite the chips in people’s heads.

The multinational corporations now developing budgets often bigger than medium-sized countries — these live in a global space which is largely unregulated, not subject to the rule of law, and in which people may act free of constraint.

Now we are intimately locked together. You get swine flu in Mexico; it’s a problem for Charles de Gaulle Airport 24 hours later. Lehman Brothers goes down; the whole lot collapses. There are fires in the steppes of Russia; food riots in Africa.

The United States will remain the most powerful nation on Earth for the next 10, 15 years, but the context in which she holds her power has now radically altered.

History teaches us these lessons for the interveners: leave your prejudices at home, keep your ambitions low, have enough resources to do the job, do not lose the golden hour, make security your first priority, involve the neighbours.

It’s not my job to be popular. I’m goal-driven; my job is to get results.


Politics is compromise.

Coalition will come sooner or later, I’m certain of that.

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.

People do not want politicians they know to be corrupt.

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.

It would be a foolish high representative who worked that way.

What my future will not be is active politics in the Liberal Democrat party.

I can establish the expectation of retributive justice. Have we done that? No.

At the next election he’ll offer the British public an alternative that provides weight and substance and seriousness in a political debate that is, frankly, increasingly obsessed with modishness and flim-flam.

One of the great barriers to peace in the Middle East is that both sides, both Israel and the Palestinians, do not understand that they share a collective destiny.

We have invented a new human right here – the right to return home after a war.