Having been left at the altar by Tony Blair in the sunshine of May 1997, it would be an extraordinary turnaround for the "progressive alliance" to be resurrected in government in May 2010.
There were three very important things about his Today programme interview this morning:
1. Despite his health warning that he would advise privately and loyally work for party unity whatever the decision, this was the strongest advocacy by anybody yet of the viability of a Lab-Lib coalition, relying on the poltical reality that the other progressive parties - including the Nats - could not combine with the Tories to turf a coalition out.
"It would be the first British government to have 51% of the people behind it ... I call that legitimacy" he said.
Very significant barriers remain to this Lab-Lib alliance, but Ashdown was immeasurably warmer to it than Labour grandees who considered it impossible on Newsnight last night.
2. Perhaps the most important statement from Ashdown was his clear statement that the LibDems will make a clear choice: that there will very likely be one coalition or the other - and that no LibDem MP thought that the best option was to sit on their hands.
At the outset, the most likely outcome seemed some weak form of supply and confidence of a Tory minority government, in which the LibDems could defend themselves against charges of betrayal from their left-leaning supporters by claiming the decision was not really theirs to make.
The course of events has shown that the decision is theirs to make. Ashdown's statement seemed clear that they will be fully engaged with whichever government they put in.
3. The LibDems will prize their unity and electoral survival in making their decision.
Ashdown often found he had a democratic party that was reluctant to be led - and he is certainly working enormously closely with his party leadership on all of his public advocacy. That makes his de facto advocacy of the Labour option more important - though this could still mean simply that the party needs to show internally that it explored both options fully, or was trying to change the terms with the Tories.
It is widely assumed that Nick Clegg wanted his party to make the coalition deal with the Conservatives, but found his MPs much more reluctant to accept the terms.
This morning's Ashdown intervention seemed to put us very much in 50-50 territory, and tilting leftwards at that. He would make a very effective Defence Secretary for a Lab-Lib coalition, or indeed a Tory-Lib one.
But if the LibDem deal was finally with Labour, it might well be seen as the final act of Paddy Ashdown's party leadership perhaps rather more than Nick Clegg's.