Letter: Graceful exit

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The Independent Culture
Sir: I hope Paddy Ashdown's graceful, indeed fragrant, resignation from party leadership and Parliament will not lead journalists to a rash of "nothing became him like his end", as though he were a Richard III, or Sidney Carton.

What does become Paddy Ashdown is the 11 years of endless goodwill he has shown in the difficult role of leader of the smallest of the main parties. We are losing a fresh face, an attractive and worthwhile political agenda, and a very good human being from our most public forum.

I do not for a minute believe the wider world has lost.

Instead of bumping into him only on an Alpine ski slope on one of his and Jane's hurried escapes (yes, I got lost and yes, he sent Archie Kirkwood back to find me) I now expect to bump into him in the Balkans, in Sierra Leone, in Afghanistan, in Algeria, in Sudan, in Sri Lanka - indeed, everywhere his and Jane Ashdown's talents can be brought into play to construct dialogue, pursue the good path, and bring people together for the common good.


London W1