As a hardworking Polish migrant in Britain, the thought of Nigel Farage sticking on the kettle at Number 10 is a terrifying thought. But, like the million viewers across the country who tuned in, we were forced to picture this distressing scenario during Channel 4's UKIP: The First 100 Days last Monday.
Everyone is portraying it as a game of poker. They couldn't be more mistaken. It seems impossible to get Greece off the front pages of the newspapers. And so it should be. The current untenable situation poses an existential threat to the European Union. Many are treating this as a game of bluff and double bluff...
Syriza may turn out to be the solution that so many Greeks have been desperately searching for. That said, it wouldn't surprise me if some of the locals I know are currently saving a few Drachmas under the mattress, you know, just in case...
Left-wing Syriza lead by Alexis Tsipras has not wasted time after winning the Greek elections: he formed a coalition with the right-wing anti-bailout Independent Greeks and the new government is now involved in a very high-stakes game of chicken with the Troika (the European Commission, the ECB and the IMF).
In Greece people are very worried and voice strong concerns over who they should vote for on election day (25 January). At least 15% of Greeks remain undecided and this hiatus will remain until the last minute.
The economic dangers associated with the introduction of the Euro were predictable - and indeed predicted by many. Yet political leaders at the time chose to make a grand and hubristic political statement irrespective of the devastation it could bring to their citizens. The Euro is, maybe, the best example of the consequences of a political and policy elite living in their own world and totally divorced from the consequences of their actions on ordinary people.
While the negotiations around issues such as immigration are very important, they are not the whole story. Of perhaps equal significance are the developments within the EU itself. These changes may, in the end, have an even larger bearing on the outcome of any 'in-out' referendum, if and when the time comes.
It was Conor Cruise O'Brien who wrote that: "Irishness is not primarily a question of birth or blood or language ; it is the condition of being involv...
Mario Draghi reminded everyone gathered in Frankfurt and listening in around the world that it is not the ECB's decision as to whether to go ahead with asset purchases. Firstly, Eurogroup leaders would have to vote on it.
The euro zone has emerged from recession, borrowing costs have fallen and the risk of euro area collapse has diminished since mid-2012. However, major causes for concern persist.
The extent to which the UK and most of the rest of the Western world are currently mismanaging our economies clearly has a huge financial cost. In the longer term, however, the political cost will be even greater than the economic price - unless we see radical changes in policy. The failure of the West to deliver a reasonable economic performance - combined with the related problem of widespread inability to get difficult decisions taken - has led an increasingly large number of people across the world to consider whether more authoritarian of running modern diversified economies might work better than those based on liberal democracy.
Who really cares about the European elections? Let's face it, they can be pretty irrelevant. Just by mentioning them, some people may already have lost interest in this article...
Europe will not strongly recover in the course of 2014. It would require many reforms at national and European level, which are not (yet) feasible. For the moment, Europe will have to make do with a patchwork of stopgaps, which is adjusted gradually, in incremental steps.
Much like sporting events can be histrionically promoted as 'crunch matches', 'the day of reckoning' or similar, recent meetings of the world's central banks have often been given a similar billing. However, it's safe to say that the impact of these economic planning meetings lasts longer than any bangs and scrapes picked up in a 90 minute kick about.
Whereas in the last few years the US, UK and Japan central banks have been busy flushing the market with money, things have not developed quite the same way in the Eurozone, as the European Central Bank (ECB) is still struggling to define its own role.
2013 was the year of all-powerful central banks, fragile economic recovery, and financial market euphoria. 2014 will be all about politics: political economics, geopolitical developments, and electoral politics.