UKIP is never far away from the news at the moment. 

Its members are causing a real stir, both nationally and locally, and are aiming to do a lot more than that at next year’s general election.

Thurrock’s hopeful, Tim Aker, told me recently how the party sees Thurrock as its big, big chance.

It is confident it can win it.  

Meanwhile, there’s confidence within the Labour ranks, with Polly Billington set to triumph by “5,000 or 6,000 votes”, I hear. 

Yet, with the Tory bounce of late, surely that makes MP Jackie Doyle-Price a certainty for re-election...

We wait and see, but one thing’s for sure, it will be fascinating stuff once the new year kicks in.

Earlier this month, Ukip triumphed in the Aveley by-election and last week the rather colourful Neil Hamilton was among the favourites to battle for Ukip in the east of the borough for a Commons seat.

He stepped down to allow Kerry Smith to be reselected after being deselected the month before...

And now Smith has resigned from Ukip after becoming embroiled in a storm over homophovic and racist comments he made!

All these local stories just add to the intrigue, and although I’m looking forward to Christmas, it’s good to know there’s a proper political dust-up, set to go off with a real bang, waiting for us in 2015.