My career in politics nearly ended the day it began, when I was almost run over by a gang of Nazis in a Mini-Metro. Not a very butch car to be hit by, I know, and a rather pathetic substitute for a Panzer tank. But it was the early 1990s, and supporters of fascist government in Britain had seen their resources dwindle a bit over the decades.
I was 14, and attending my first political demonstration, an Anti-Nazi League protest against the BNP in Halifax. I became separated from the crowd. There were some hooligans from the other side screeching around in a car yelling abuse and doing handbrake turns and, as I ran down a street away from them, they drove the car up onto the pavement behind me. I thought I was about to be mown down, but at the last minute they swerved back on to the road and roared past.