Ashdown’s Nazi smear on the UK
PADDY Ashdown was yesterday branded ‘repugnant’ for comparing Britain to Nazi Germany.
The Europhile peer and former Liberal Democrat leader said he is ‘horrified by the parallels’ to the Hitler regime.
Last night critics branded his remarks ‘absurd’ and called for him to apologise.
In an interview at the Hay Festival to promote his Second World War book Game Of Spies, Lord Ashdown said: ‘My next book is about the German resistance to Hitler, so I’m knee deep into research about the 1930s and I am horrified by the parallels.
‘The way that we have retreated from international trade to protectionism, the sense that somehow or other democracy is failing, the habit of lying in our public discourse. I’m not saying Hitler is around the corner, of course I’m not, although you might conclude the conditions for something like that to emerge are there.’ He added that unless society embraces the liberal values of ‘respect, tolerance, internationalism and so on, then the next step history shows is something worse’.
Lord Ashdown, 76, leader of the Lib Dems between 1988 and 1999, courted similar controversy last year when he compared Brexiteers to Nazi paramilitaries.
Last night Tory candidate Peter Bone said: ‘ That is an extraordinary statement from Paddy Ashdown. He is completely wrong.
‘I urge him to disown his comments immediately. The comparison between today and the 1930s is an absurd comparison based on no fact. He is repugnant.’
Tory candidate Andrew Bridgen added that he ‘seems to have a Hitler fixation’.
Lord Ashdown said he was feeling ‘apocalyptic’ about the immediate future of Britain and bemoaned the fact his life’s political work ‘seems not to be succeeding’. But he added: ‘I’m an optimist really.’