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Farage Plays All the Hits on His Anti-EU Tour, But Who Hasn't Heard It All Before?

18/09/2015 15:39 BST | Updated 18/09/2016 10:12 BST

"I daresay if you and I paid good money to go and see Tom Jones we would want Delilah," Nigel Farage said with a smile.

He is right of course. I would want Delilah. And It's Not Unusual. And The Green Green Grass Of Home. Even that one he did with the Stereophonics. All the hits please.

That's the Ukip leader's philosophy when it comes to his 'Say No To The EU' tour as well. Give the people what they want, give the people what they know.

Farage made the Tom Jones quip to me during an interview in Ukip's new office in Grays, South Essex.

It was the first time I had sat down and spoken to Farage since the aftermath of the General Election, when the party was simultaneously licking it's wounds for only winning one seat and tearing itself apart after his infamous 'unresignation'.

From a reporting point of view, the election campaign was frantic and chaotic in equal measure. A media scrum seemed to engulf the Ukip leader everywhere he went, and that in turn led to more security, more advisors.

More than four months on, and the chaos had been replaced by calm. The only other journalist apart from myself at the opening of the new Ukip shop was from the local paper.

There were no TV crews, no satellite trucks, no hordes of newspaper hacks.

The absence of a media circus was echoed in Farage's demeanour - calmer, more focused, slightly lighter in temperament.

In the General Election, Farage was trying fight many battles: his own election in South Thanet; helping out in target seats such as Thurrock; leading the party across the country; taking part in leader's debates.

Now, he has just one battle - getting the UK to vote to leave the EU in the referendum. The culmination of 22 years work does tend to focus the mind.

This is Farage's natural territory. Breaking into Westminster, trying to juggle appealing to Labour voters in the North and ex-Tory voters in the South, managing the egos of ambitious underlings, they are all distractions from the main goal.

And to that end, Ukip has organised a 'Say No To The EU' Tour. More than 300 public meetings all over the country. Farage won't be at all of them, but given his love for applause, I reckon he'll notch up close to 200 appearances.

But what is there left to say? Farage has been the country's most high-profile Eurosceptic for at least ten years now. Surely everyone has heard his arguments as to why we should leave the EU? Is there anyone left who could be wooed by him?

Judging from the reception he received in the Circus Tavern in Purfleet, South Essex, last night, there are plenty of those he had previously seduced who were desperate for more.

So he gave it to them. He thanked Nick Clegg for challenging him to two TV debates ahead of the 2014 European elections. He mocked suggestions a UK withdrawal would lead to a collapse in the motor industry. He pointed out Iceland, with a population of 300,000, was negotiating its own trade deals outside of the EU.

It was a speech he had made hundreds of times before, and will make hundreds of times again.

I don't know how many of the thousand or so people in the Circus Tavern last night had been there for a pre-election meeting in the same venue in April. It seemed busier last night than before, but Farage was preaching to the converted.

The clock had been turned back. The General Election hadn't happened. In fact, the past 12 months hadn't happened. Before Farage came on stage a video of his greatest hits was played on screens around the venue. His attack on the then-President of the European Council ("Who are you?"), a clip of his debate with Nick Clegg, news reels from when Ukip won the European Elections.

But nothing from the General Election. No clip of Douglas Carswell's by-election win in Clacton or his successful defence of the seat in May. Nothing of Mark Reckless's defection from the Tories almost exactly a year ago.

All that Westminster distraction had gone. The difficult second album wasn't mentioned.

Instead, Farage played all the hits.