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It Was A Very Good Year
December/January 2016/17

Time and again the reaction of people to Nigel is to want to thank him personally. At a dinner some weeks after the vote, as a group of us stood outside the restaurant smoking, passing strangers spotted him, shook his hand and movingly told him how grateful they were for what he’d done for the country. Over 20 years he has become used to this, yet treats each new encounter as if it’s the first time. He has also got used to the rough stuff, of course. Some find it harder to deal with. His successor, Diane James, was spat at and abused while travelling on a train without security, an incident which contributed to her decision to stand down after only 18 days. The abuser was most probably of the kind we’re becoming used to this past year: the hard-left, nihilistic haters who mistake their authoritarianism for conviction.         

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Standing for London Mayor and the London Assembly, I spent the first five months of 2016 going from hustings to hustings — 20 or so, from church hall to TV studio. The greatest hostility came from middle-class white liberals. You can see a flicker of panic cross their faces if they fear they might be agreeing with you on a point — after all, their own self-images are at stake. Black and Asian audiences are much more open-minded; they might not agree with you but they don’t treat you like an incubus.

Meeting in green rooms so regularly means a relationship of sorts develops with your fellow candidates. Languid Zac Goldsmith had in spades what Anthony Blanche in Brideshead Revisited describes as that “fatal” English charm. He gave the impression of a man who’d bitten off more than he could chew — but who hadn’t been that hungry in the first place. Sadiq Khan was, by comparison, the Duracell Bunny.

The Greens exist on their higher moral plane. For some, of course, it’s a game. George Galloway was friendly and immaculately courteous off-stage, and then became the pantomime villain when on. With his trademark hat, he has essentially become a music-hall act.

Finally: the daily toll. Cigarettes 25-30, alcohol five-six units, non-political social life minimal. And it was a wonderful year.  

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Ailsa Sinclair
November 24th, 2016
9:11 PM
What a joy to be on the right side of history Peter. And, you Nigel and all who worked for that result on the 23rd June will surely get a nice wall one day with your names on for standing alone for so long. Be encouraged-its all unravelling before their eyes, and we hate the elite for what they`re up to. As ever-we speak quietly, but they are pushing their luck.

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