IT'S been an odd few years for Ukip.

Although the party has been around since the the early '90s, it's fair to say it didn't have much luck in making many waves for the first decade or so of its life.

But David Cameron's promise of a referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union ahead of the 2015 General Election shoved the party into the limelight and made its then-leader Nigel Farage a political superstar.

And when voters pulled one of the biggest political shocks in recent memory, at least until that nice Mr Trump came along, and backed leaving the EU it seemed life couldn't get any better for Mr Farage and his mates.

So why, only a year and change later, does it seem like the party is on the verge of slipping back into obscurity?

In the wake of the referendum vote it might have been expected to see Ukip do well in the snap election in June. But what actually happened was quite different - the party's vote collapsed, with a large portion of its hardcore support reportedly defecting to the Conservatives.

Ukip did no better in the local elections in May, and membership numbers have reportedly plummeted since the Brexit vote.

Meanwhile the party has been mired in leadership woes, with Mr Farage doing his absolute best to quit but his replacements never seeming to last more than a few months. With members set to elect a new leader, the fourth in just over a year, in September, the Newport branch of the party arranged a hustings for candidates last week.

Although a faithful few turned out, attendance was hardly stellar, with only about 20 or so members showing up. At one point it looked like reporters could outnumber party members.

Ex-Tory MP Mark Reckless defected to Ukip in 2014 and was elected as one of two South Wales East AMs last year. But earlier this year he quit the party, crossing the floor to join the Assembly's Conservative group, although he has not officially re-joined the party.

When he left he explained he felt Ukip had "achieved our joint aim" in securing an exit from the EU.

And he's got a point - with the question of the UK's membership of Europe now done and dusted - regardless of what the most rabid Remainers will tell you, we are leaving and that's that - what real point is there in Ukip now?

Yes, there's something to be said for making sure Brexit, but what happens once that's done in less than two years time?

There's a real danger Ukip could once again find itself at the fringes alongside the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition and the Monster Raving Loony Party as one of those parties everyone forgets exists until their names pop up on the ballot paper.

Whoever is elected as the party's new leader next month certainly has their work cut out for them.

And they've got some very big shoes to fill.

In some ways Nigel Farage is both the best and worst thing ever to happen to Ukip.

Whatever you think of the man, and there's no shortage of opinions out there if you care to go looking, there's no denying his charisma and passion. I've met him in person twice and, unlike so many politicians, he genuinely comes across as a man who believes what he's doing will result in the best outcome for the British people.

I don't necessarily agree with everything he says, but there's no denying a lot of political leaders could do very well to take a leaf or two out of his book when it comes to public speaking and talking to the people who elect them.

l It's August, which means not a lot of politics is going on and those political stories which do make the news tend to be somewhat less world-changing than normal.

And only a few days into this month this year hasn't disappointed, with David Cameron being snapped with a lit fag and Donald Trump insisting he's not on holiday, only to be papped on the golf course literally minutes later.

I'm not being entirely fair - Brexit is rumbling on and the Eisteddfod has been on in Anglesey for the past few days, which the Welsh Government always likes to use to launch a few new policies or ideas.

But needless to say I'm looking forward to September already.