In the fraught days of two years ago, when the general election delivered a hung parliament to Britain, the crucial role played by former Liberal Democrat Party Leader, Lord Paddy Ashdown, became evident through his frquent media appearences and statements.
An even more critical turning point now presents itself to this senior party grandée, and self-appointed representative of decency within Britain’s system of governance.
To understand why this blogger believes that such is the case it would be helpful to reflect on a cermony that took place at Pointe de Grave in France just over one year ago on 31st March 2011, when a memorial was unveiled in honour of a WWII commando raid, at which Lord Ashdown undertook to represent our country, read here.
Only two of the commandoes survived, many of their comrades were shot, upon the direct orders of Hitler, but with the connivance, processing, transportation and full reponsibility of the supposedly once honourable German armed forces. Ordinary combatants they were, shot in cold blood for pursuing the very hostilities that the German Army had itself instigated and was in the process of perpetrating while occupying the sovereign soil of France by armed brute force.
Paddy Ashdown has thus accepted a leading role in representing the moral beliefs of our nation, beliefs that have rarely been so comprehensively challenged as they were in the five hours of evidence provided by Rebekah Brooks at the Leveson Inquiry yesterday. Every Prime Minister since Thatcher, and it would appear almost the entire cabinet members of all administrations since Tony Blair, seem to be potentially implicated in this seeming subversion.
The Liberal Democrats have so far emerged largely unscathed from the sordid details of political power plays and manipulations of our main party politicians by the tawdry journals that are/were The Sun and the News of the World and those who controlled them. We have yet to even arrive at the part played by Trevor Kavanagh – clearly Coulson and Brooks were but cockily conceited mere pawns in this dark game.
Nick Clegg, as was warned on my blog Ironies Too several times, made himself a party to this scandal by accepting Coulson as the Coalition’s press spokesman.
Others in the Liberal Democrat hierarchy must therefore be looked too, along with Ashdown, to now do the right thing, withdraw their support from the coalition with the Conservative Party and possibly in the process of the resulting general election, regain an opportunity of re-establishing some credentials for decency, as extolled by Lord Ashdown and exemplified by all the marine commandos involved in Operation Frankton, not least the fortitude in the escape as shown by Hessler and Sparks, which seems hardly comprehensible to those of us so pampered to live in 2012, not seventy years earlier!
Others Liberal Democrats who should also be scrupulousy examing their consciences this weekend among senior Lib/Dem figures are (in no particular order) Simon Hughes, Charles Kennedy, David Laws, Menzies Campbell, David Owen and David Steel.