I travelled nearly every leg with Nigel Farage across the country, from Devon to Carlisle, on the recent Common Sense Tour. It confirmed something very clear to me: UKIP has huge momentum.
The Tour had packed houses in every town, city and village it hit. For standing room only public meetings to become common place in 2013 is quite something. It was refreshing to see also that the audience was not vetted and that any hostile questions – and there really weren’t that many over the entire tour – were fair game, with Farage answering in a direct, concise manner.
Of course the purpose of the Tour was to stop off in areas where UKIP has a full slate or close to a full slate of County Council candidates next month. What shone through was the organisation on the ground in many UKIP branches now, with a heavy dose of self-taught UKIP local organisers but also highly-polished defectors from the Tories who were operating at a previously senior level locally for them, and now for us. The professionalization of local branches makes a huge difference on the number of candidates, quality of messaging and likely results.
What really stood out on the tour I must say is just how dedicated and hard working Nigel Farage is. For anyone in doubt – and there are increasingly few – this is a man absolutely steadfastly dedicated to UKIP’s cause and is giving his life to it, travelling and speaking at up to three different audiences per day. That’s on top of the vast array of media work he does as well as internal party dealings. It is an inspiring work ethic and if I was David Cameron or Ed Miliband, I’d be worried. Farage strikes me right now as a man who can see how the wind has began to blow behind UKIP. That will make him only more determined.