Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A real Boy's Own hero

Me with my hero at last night's launch of "A Fortunate Life" - Paddy Ashdown's autobiography

WARNING: This post contains scenes of unctous and distressing sycophancy.
I was fortunate enough to be invited by the excellent Iain Dale to last night's Total Politics "Evening with Paddy Ashdown". It was held in a very swanky hotel off Millbank in London, and included a decent smattering of the LibDem peerage and that Living Legend and icon for political anoraks everywhere, Bob Worcester (for it was he).
You can buy the book here and read an extract from it here and a review by Rod Liddle here.
What is clear is that when the Almighty was ladling out the testosterone, he gave an unusually generous dollop to Paddy.

Think about it. This man was a real spy. A spy. Dead letter boxes, safe houses and "cut-outs" (whatever they are) were his stock in trade.

He was a Royal Marine and was told he was on the IRA death list while serving in Northern Ireland (when incidentally he was faced with a gang of Catholic womanhood, all breasts heaving, effing and blinding at him because he parked his armoured car across the entrance to their church on a "****ing SUNDAY" (but I digress)).

He was in the Special Boat Squadron and swam ashore for clandestine operations connected to a breathing tube leading to a submarine, so that if the submarine had hit a patch of fresh water it would have dived and killed him instantly.

And at the age of sixteen - SIXTEEN! - Paddy "shacked up with an actress", who presumably taught him which buttons to press in the eternal Ugandan discussion game.

Oh, and then he led Britain's third party and ran a country.

Compare all that to our humdrum "got up, went to work, rained, had tea" existence and you've really got to say that this is a real man.

Oooooooooh, I've gone all weak at the knees.

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