It is fascinating to find as spokesman for Ukip a Leopold David Verney, 21st Baron Willoughby de Broke (creation 1491). His grandfather, the 19th baron, Richard Greville Verney, also held vivid views. He talked of 'fighting Irish Home Rule to a finish' if it couldn't be done in a general election. In a letter of 1913 to the Duke of Bedford, who favoured military training for the upper and upper-midddle classes, he wrote: 'I don't think it would be prudent of me to speak in favour of arming the classes against the masses. I am strongly in favour of so doing, I quite admit.'

But the peak of the 19th baron's political career makes him an important figure in the accomplishment of progressive ends. He would be the most active advocate and busiest organiser of the campaign within the Upper House to reject all compromise and (against a 200-year-old precedent) to vote down the 1909 budget. That provoked the Parliament Act of 1911 which stripped their lordships of all serious power – their views, like their authority, so much spent air. By a piece of New Labour patronage, there is now a little group of peers elected by other peers. The 21st baron sits as one of them.