No one disagrees that the UK's present relationship with the European Union is not working and needs to change. Moreover, the UK - which is not in the Eurozone - needs to develop a new and different relationship with those countries that are in the Eurozone. This is why, very sensibly, the prime minister has made it clear that he is committed to seeking a new settlement for Britain in Europe
In Europe, the pace has been considerably slower still. According to the Financial Times (2014.01.05) analysing a leaked proposal of the European Commission with a "narrowly defined version of the US Volcker rule" the official calendar expects an agreement no sooner than December 2015, the dates of its real implementation being anyone's guess.
I'm trying really hard to remember a time when we could go a whole week without having to have a national moan about "Europe"*. I mean I get it, I really do. All that great food, fantastic culture and nice weather. Not to mention Germany and France's positively infuriating collective predilection for paying people properly and according them proper employment rights.
By signing so much dissent-strangling legislation, by playing to the most reactionary elements in Russian society, by crushing popular protest and by harassing civil society, Putin is dragging Russia away from its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to respect freedom of opinion and expression.
Farage himself predicted an "earthquake" while other prominent right wingers envisage "the liberation from the European elite, the monster in Brussels". So are they correct? Their success would certainly send a shockwave across the continent but are we really about to find ourselves at the mercy of the most anti-EU, combatively euro-sceptic European Parliament to date? No.
This is not the nicest of days, so in that context I thought I'd present a few random political thoughts! Very briefly, at Westminster it was one where the Conservative Party publically re-embraced Thatcherism, where One Nation Labour struggled to emerge further yet held on for life, and the United Kingdom Independence Party continued its long march to significance...