Nigel Farage rolled into Bulwell today with the theme from World War II thriller The Great Escape blaring from speakers mounted on his open-top purple battle bus.
Addressing a large crowd of pro-Brexit supporters and curious shoppers in the market place, the UKIP leader asked: “Do you like the theme tune? Because that’s what we have got to do!
“I haven’t come to threaten or bully you - I leave that to David Cameron and George Osborne.
“Three months ago David Cameron said he could back Brexit - now he tells us it could cause World War III.
“Would you buy a used car from David Cameron?
“He’s like the Sheriff of Nottingham. We represent ordinary, decent people who were lied to about 40 years ago about the EU.
“We will go on buying German cars. We will go on drinking French wine - in fact I might drink some later this afternoon.
“This is about taking back what out politicians have given away. They have given away our ability to make our own laws.”
Mr Farage claimed the UK’s borders were now open to 5.8 million people.
“The Government says they have let in 1 million people in six years but they have issued 2.4 million national insurance numbers.
“Do you believe the Government? It’s time we took control of our country!”
Campaigners greeted his announcements with big cheers and Mr Farage received a warm welcome when he stepped off the bus into a waiting mob of fans and press.
Shaking hands, hugging volunteers and signing placards, he announced: “These people are the spirit of Robin Hood!”
He was led on a tour of the market by Francesco Lari, chairman of UKIP Nottingham City Branch.
Despite playing a central role in the getting a referendum, Mr Farage has been rejected by the Vote Leave party who have openly criticised him and blasted ITV’s decision to invite him to a debate with the prime minister.
Douglas Carswell, the party’s only MP, chose to join Vote Leave rather than the Grassroots Out campaign UKIP belongs to, and has called for his own leader to be sacked.
Philip Rose, 58, from Ripley, said: “I support anyone who wants out of Europe - there’s no problem with Nigel. I support George Galoway!
“Gove and the rest of them want to keep him in the background.”
Alan Mackay, 68, from Mapperley, visited Bulwell to show his support: “The public aren’t aware that Dodgy Dave and George Osborne are leading us towards a United States of Europe.
“We will lose the pound,” he warned. “Cameron didn’t realise the Pandora’s box he was opening when agreed to this referendum.
“Sovereignty is key - the further away decisions are made, the less democratic they become.
“Brussels is unelected and they have other country’s interests at heart. Their accounts have never been audited.
“We want to manage our own decisions rather than kowtow to decisions that aren’t in our best interests.”
Fran Loi, who ran as UKIP’s candidate for the police and crime commissioner in Nottingham, said that Hucknall had been mooted as a destination for the battle bus and revealed it will be a key UKIP target in the county elections.
He said: “It’s a democratic decision - who do we want to lead us? Do we want to choose our leaders or have it done on their behalf?”
Suzie Burkett, 49, from Stockhill, said: “I am swayed by Boris Johnson! I think being in the EU is more beneficial to big corporate companies.
Further away from the hullaballoo, there was bemusement among the stall holders and shoppers.
Gareth Needham, 34 of Bulwell, was shopping when he saw the bus arrive. He said: “I am not really a fan. But I don’t think the government had given us the right information
“The key issue is sovereignty. We don’t seem to be British anymore. All our laws are done in Brussels.”
Despite backing Brexit, he has suspicions about the divisive nature of UKIP’s approach: “I think for most of the people here it is about race. But this is a once in a life time opportunity. Farage is saying what the public want him to say.”
Stallholder Ventrola Wilson, 30, of Carrington is also leadership development worker with young women.
She said: “I disagree with his decisions and what he wants. It is going to affect us in a big way - many people rely on the EU for funding.
“If I wanted to move to Spain it would be easier because were classed as EU citizens. If we come out it will be harder to access funding for community organisations and businesses.
“There are lots of people who run businesses which heavily rely on the EU and want to connect with other European people. If we leave it will be bad for social inclusion.
“Why should we change? There are lots of unresolved issues in the UK - why tamper with the EU? He just wants attention.”
On Facebook, Dispatch readers gave their views of the man and his politics.
John Spencer said: “Give him a big pat on the back from me, he’s got my vote!”
Michael Copse said: “Tell him well done we wouldn’t even be having this referendum without him and keep up the good work.”
Stuart Kenward said: “Give him a handshake from me. Time to take our country back and make Britain great once more. God save the Queen.”
Richard Speight said: “Ask him when he’s going to resign.”
Alistair Sprock Reynolds said: “Hope someone has some eggs and a good aim.”