When Julian Astle – former director of CentreForum – arrives in Downing Street in a few months time there will be one very familiar face amid the welcoming party.
Astle, who is covering for Polly Mackenzie as deputy director of strategy, used to work for Lord Ashdown in the Balkans – when the former Lib Dem leader was High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Ed Llewellyn, David Cameron’s chief of staff, also worked as a political aide for Paddy at the time.
My understanding is that the two men used to have long, thoughtful chats deep into the night against the violent backdrop of the Balkan violence.
Astle would vent his exasperation that his own Lib party were too far on the left – while Llewellyn would equally complain that his Tories were too right-wing. This may explain why both are comfortable with the current coalition.