What The Papers Say: Ashdown’s Labour pact puts him out of step

With a post-war record number of MPs, the Liberal Democrat party might have been expected to have smothered Paddy Ashdown in affection at Eastbourne last week. Even though parts of his main speech were received with the usual rapture, there were clear indications that there is some distance between ’where Ashdown wants to take the party and where they want to be’ (Donald MacIntyre, the Independent, 25 Sept).

With a post-war record number of MPs, the Liberal Democrat party

might have been expected to have smothered Paddy Ashdown in affection at

Eastbourne last week. Even though parts of his main speech were received

with the usual rapture, there were clear indications that there is some

distance between ’where Ashdown wants to take the party and where they

want to be’ (Donald MacIntyre, the Independent, 25 Sept).



When he produced his usual ration of fighting talk in public, there were

signs that the real business of getting on with Labour is being done in

covert operations, despite the helpful Mr Mandelson giving Ashdown the

opportunity to do a bit of tub-thumping.



Yet again the week ended with a vote with which the leader had to

distance himself from the rest of the party. Three years ago they passed

a motion to support the legalisation of cannabis. This year the topic

was voluntary euthanasia. It left some pundits questioning whether Paddy

would be there to lead the party at the next election.



Evaluation and analysis by CARMA International. Cuttings supplied by The

Broadcast Monitoring Company. ’What The Papers Say’ can be found at:

www.carma.com.



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