So today is the day our politicians can take a deep breath to see just how much damage needs sweeping up in the run-up to the May 2015 general election.
Nigel Farage and UKIP are still on course to claim first place in the European Parliament vote, with Labour desperately hoping they top the local council ballots. But it will be a hair raising time before the results are announced on Sunday (once the rest of Europe’s votes are cast).
The picture is rather gloomy for Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg. The one-time MEP, now Deputy Prime Minister, is on the verge of collapse with the LD’s potentially falling flat on their face as the Green Party saw a last minute surge in the polls. That would be a devastating body blow to the “third party” as it tries to pick up the pieces towards next year. Will Clegg survive? Probably but the party activists will be looking for their man to lead them in a new direction (leaving the Coalition in the autumn could be a start?).
The election results will also indicate damaged limitations for the Conservatives in the face of Nigel Farage’s populism vote. The Conservative Party are braced for falling into third place, but just how far the UKIP tornado cut into their grassroots support will be interesting. Regardless of the election result David Cameron will be expected to come out fighting as the Tory Party aim to secure a majority Government next year. Mr Cameron will have to right the wrongs over Europe, immigration, and the NHS, not to mention getting back the UKIP swayed Conservative voters.
The past week has not been kind to Ed Miliband. The Labour leader has had his trousers pulled down by the media (BBC Wiltshire, internet memes and that tasty looking bacon sandwich gaff). Ed is at breaking point, with many backbenches unhappy (behind closed doors) with the Labour leaders misguided handling over the UKIP threat. A series of policy pledges has also backfired on Ed, so he will be hoping that a successful result on Sunday might just be the tonic that the Doctor ordered (enter Axelrod).
If you haven’t already…get out there and vote. This is perhaps the most important European election in recent times.