Following Nigel Farage’s victory speech in Southampton on Sunday night, I joined the UKIP leader and some of his nearest and dearest for “a few sherbets” in his hotel’s bar.
The seemingly indefatigable Farage was on fine form, holding forth on the elections, the Electoral Commission, and ducking out for a cigarette or two every half an hour or so. Farage encountered some of the hotel’s guests, who were gleeful that the man who had just given the political establishment a kicking were staying at their hotel.
More than that, the guests were from a wedding party. A somewhat excitable and colourful wedding party, whose guests were from the South East, and Essex. At 2am, the passions were running high, and the revellers (oh they were revelling, alright!) asked for UKIP goodies like rosettes as they loudly paid homage to Nigel.
My immediate thought was, “Could you imagine this happening with another political party leader?”
Cameron would be, understandably, surrounded by security. Miliband doesn’t really enjoy drinking, so he would have been in bed by that point in the night. And Clegg… well Clegg would be that guy hovering around the reception area wondering why no one was stopping him to chat.
Farage chinwagged with the group, many of whom admitted to not being fluent in politics. They did however know enough to sing drunken songs about what Tony Blair likes to do to himself in the privacy of his own bedroom. The allegation was that Mr Blair was a wanker. Your correspondent concurred.
Every few minutes the wedding party would burst into another song. At one point I managed to get my phone out in time to record it: “There’s only one Nigel Farage!” they chanted, unaware that with a French name like Farage and the first name quite antiquated they were probably literally correct.