For the three main party leaders, the stakes in next week's European elections are very high. The spectacular rise of the fourth man in British politics, Nigel Farage, makes their task even harder, and the results less predictable.
David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg could all face some heavy flak from their own parties if they perform badly in the last nationwide test of public opinion before the general election in less than a year's time.
Despite Ukip's apparently unstoppable advance, a “poll of polls” for The Independent suggests that Labour is on course to win most seats at the Euro elections. The weighted average of the eight surveys of how people will vote next Thursday predicts a photo-finish between Labour and Ukip for first place. Although Ukip (29 per cent) is ahead of Labour (27 per cent) in the share of the vote, the carve-up of seats under the proportional voting system would give Labour 24 MEPs and Ukip 23. The Conservatives trail on 23 per cent, giving them 17 seats.
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For disclosure purposes I am fan of Nigel Farage and UKIP.
The miners have started 2014 very well indeed on the back of rising gold prices, so the question is; is this the real deal or another head fake? Is the bottom really in? Could there be a final capitulation just ahead of us? Will the summer doldrums take the PMs lower?
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