Category Archives: Paddy Ashdown

Lets go back to 1983, and a little place called Yeovil

Sorry, or thankfully, depending on your views, you’re going to have to do without a video with the blog, due to the fact I’m away for Christmas, and dont have headphones to check its working OK.

Back in March 1983, I moved away to Somerset, my first real job away from home, in a small town I’d never visited before, named Yeovil. In June 1983, there was a General Election, one of Thatchers numerous successes. But lets not talk about her.

In those days, there wasnt the millions of betting markets that there are now, due to the lack of internet and stuff, so unless it was a standard market, the big name bookmakers wouldnt bet on it. Anyway, there was talk around town about a candidate standing at the forthcoming election, for the Liberal Party, named Paddy Ashdown. What you have to consider at this time, Yeovil was a nice safe Conservative seat, so…

There was a wonderful man, named Tony Woods, who had an independent bookmakers up the road from where I worked. Anyway, he decided to quote a price on this young whippersnapper (well, 42, by politician standards…fairly young) for the next General Election to take the seat. Yes, as history shows, it cost him a bit of money, lol.

Paddy was still MP for Yeovil when I left the town about 16 years later. He hadnt been my MP since 1988, when I moved across the border to live in West Dorset, but he was still the MP where I worked at least. He finally retired from the position in 2001, but the Liberal/Liberal Democrat vote held up until recently anyway.

I only saw Paddy Ashdown once. He walked into the Liberal Club in town, when I was there, playing darts, and that was the only time I ever actually saw him. But I know he did a lot of good for Yeovil, and his constituents. He continued to do good for the country after his retirement, and moved into the house of Lords. Of course, he also led the Liberals for a very long period of time in the interim, some of their more successful years.

Yes, he passed away in the last couple of day, at the age of 77. Maybe we never knew each other, but both of us let Yeovil leave its mark on us back in 1983.

RIP, Paddy