On Thursday last week I wrote a piece here about why I thought the UKIP annual conference might be a turning point. Gawain Towler, the party’s press officer, tweeted that this was ‘interesting’: obviously, he knew more about how potentially turning it might be.
One could argue that UKIP has never had a good annual conference in its 21 years: either the party is in high dudgeon, or someone goes badly off-message (Kilroy in 2004, Bloom last year). This weekend’s event, held on Ed Miliband’s doorstep in Doncaster, showed that in this at least, the party is capable of operating in a more professional way. From the stage and the intro music, through the tight, media-friendly programme, to the big surprise presentation of Mark Reckless as their newest recruit, the party leadership have benefited from money and good media management.