My worst nightmare

December 10, 2004

Several years ago I was due to deliver a two-hour lecture to senior European Union civil servants at the College d'Europe in Bruges.

After a very liquid meal the night before, I was made the judge of a Belgian beer competition. There were 45 entries to be sampled and I got to bed at 6am.

It was impossible to read any lecture notes at 8am and so academic reserve was replaced with ad-libbed, witty, Eurosceptic truth. Sheer mayhem ensued and I have never been invited back. In retrospect, it seems great fun, but at the time I wanted to die of shame. Still, in vino veritas .

Alan Sked is a senior lecturer in international history at the London School of Economics and founder and former member of the UK Independence Party.

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