THE TASTE of victory at the ballot box has been a long time coming for new UKIP MEP, James Carver, of Brooms Green.
Mr Carver, aged 44, prides himself on having joined UKIP in 1996, as a "very early member", and as someone who shared a platform with Nigel Farage that same year.
"I know him very well," said Mr Carver, who worked for a while as his leader's personal assistant.
Mr Carver, who has a business making umbrellas, also prides himself for standing without success in three general elections, - at a time when the political weather was less conducive to UKIP success.
Now he is to be a regular at Strasbourg and Brussels, - as a West Midlands UKIP MEP, in a European Parliament he does not believe in.
Mr Carver, when asked why he stood as an MEP, said: "I want my country back. I am not in this for personal glory or wealth. Outside the EU, the world's our oyster - within it, our future is in a clam.
"I have been elected to the only parliament in the Western World where a member of that parliament does not have the ability to introduce legislation."
Instead, he can only vote on "proposals from an unelected European Commission".
Mr Carver added: "We will take whatever steps are necessary to protect British interests. It will be a far more Eurosceptic chamber, this time."
There has drift to the extreme right of politics, in a number of European countries; but Mr Carver believes UKIP should not be placed in that category.
He said: "I am sick of being called a racist. If I was a racist, I would have joined a racist party. UKIP is a moderate party, - I would say in the complete centre, with support from all levels of society."
Mr Carver added: "We had 2204 local election candidates, and only had problems with fifteen.
"We are the only party with a ban on former BNP and National Front members."
Mr Carver continued: "My maternal grandfather was a Polish Jew and my paternal grandmother was a Romany Gypsy."
He said he was personally concerned about "the rise of extremism across the European Union".
Mr Carver denied that UKIP success was down to protest votes, and said a raft of policies would be introduced around the party conference time, and prior to the 2015 general election.
Mr Carver, who grew up in Kent, moved to Brooms Green fifteen years ago.
He lost his wife Carmen to a long-term illness, in 2010, and is now in a relationship with his partner, Anne.
Mr Carver's hobbies and interests include his Jack Russell dogs and metal detecting, and he is particularly proud of a bronze age axe head which he unearthed.
Mr Carver ran the London Marathon several years ago, and he is keen to take up running again, if and when time allows.
But now his mobile phone hardly ever seems to stop ringing.
"My feet haven't touched the ground," he said.
Looking ahead, he said he had no thought to become UKIP leader one day.
He said: "Getting elected is a humbling experience. I don't want to run before I can walk."