It could all have been so different for UKIP’s once favourite windfarm-hater:
“I was 19 at the time, just out of school, still a virgin and, I suppose, mildly uncertain about my sexuality. It happened at a border crossing between Sudan and the Central African Republic.
Waiting interminably with my fellow overlanders to have our passports stamped by the inevitable corrupt customs officers, I spied across the other side of the grass hut one of the most exquisite creatures I have ever seen. Our eyes met and I was smitten.
I thought it was a girl at first, though I couldn’t be totally sure. She – or was it a he? – was travelling with a man old enough to be its father. God knows what their relationship was but they weren’t family. We got chatting. They were Belgian and I was the only one in our group who spoke reasonably fluent French.
Discovering that the pretty thing was male, I felt surprised and mildly guilty to realise that it didn’t stop me fancying him. There was an electricity between us. The older man – ruined, malarial – could see this and glowered jealously. It made me despise the older man and wish I could rescue my Tadzio from his sordid clutches. Lust didn’t come into it. (Well, not much.)
It was pure, romantic, all-consuming. As day turned to night (clearly, our border bribe hadn’t been enough), I began fantasising about our escape. My ephebe and I would run off and end up God knew where but it wouldn’t matter – the point was we would be together forever.”
A love story to melt the coldest icecaps…