Ash­down’s Nazi smear on the UK

Daily Mail - - News -

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.’

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