UKIP members from the South and South East are in Birmingham for theirparty conference. The mood is buoyant: they feel they are winning theargument. The sense here is that a referendum on the UK's membershipofthe EU, once a pipedream, is now looking a real possibility.The party has grown so much since the Meridian region sent UKIP'sfirst ever MEPS to the European Parliament in 1999. They includedNigel Farage, now the party leader, who really thinks UKIP's momenthas come.As ever there are elections to be fought. UKIP are fielding candidatesin many of the Police and Crime Commissioner elections in November.
And in the southeast, for the first time, they hope to field a fullslate of candidates in the county council elections next Spring.
But it is June 2014 UKIP are really liking forward to: European electionswhen they believe they could top the poll nationwide (they came secondlast time). If that happened, the other parties would find it verydifficult to resist the calls for an EU referendum. UKIP suspect theymight try to fudge it with a question which doesn't talk about UKwithdrawal, but Nigel Farage says he won't fall for that. In or out isthe only question which interests him. And UKIP are sure the wind ofhistory is blowing in their direction.