Nigel Farage is in Great Grimsby today, campaigning with Ukip candidate Victoria Ayling. The last Ashcroft poll focusing on Great Grimsby put Ukip behind Labour by one point, and that was in December 2014.
Farage started his day at the docks before visiting a local fish market, to highlight the problems that the European Union’s fisheries policies have caused in towns like Grimsby.
But one of the questions is whether Farage can afford to be spending time away from South Thanet when his chances there are on a knife edge. Ukip has one safe seat, and that’s Douglas Carswell’s. Farage has to win his seat and the polls suggest he has a tremendous fight in order to do so. This was always the risk for the Ukip leader in choosing a seat that wasn’t the easiest while also fronting the national campaign. You can’t fault his energy or indeed his willingness to stride past angry protesters outside the Town Hall and have a chat with Joey Essex. But in the end what matters for Farage is that he is able to put adequate time and resources into his own battle.
Given he has held together Ukip and nurtured it from chaotic band to influential force in politics, his failure to win his seat and subsequent departure (he has confirmed he would stand down as leader if he doesn’t win South Thanet) would leave the party in chaos. There are a number of impressive leaders-in-waiting in the party, but none of them has yet given the impression they have the Farage factor.