The general election campaign seems to have begun in earnest at the beginning of January. Now, in mid-March, there are still seven weeks to go. For me it is one of the cases against fixed term parliaments: usually one of the big parties, maybe both, have a reason to string it out, diluting the message, so instead of a concentrated campaign you get months of meaningless guff, intended to nudge you rather than persuade you into voting one way or another.
There has been a lot of nonsense talked about debates. To the uninitiated it must seem as if televised debates are part of our constitution, mentioned in the Magna Carta, perhaps. In fact in our long democratic history we have only once had such debates, and that was last time. It is part of the American system because they only ever have two parties.
Debates never help the ruling party, since they can only show up other parties to a better effect. The only reason we had a debate last time was that Gordon Brown was so unpopular he had nothing to lose. In the end Nick Clegg did well. causing a surge in his party's popularity just in time for the election, only for it to decline immediately afterwards. The debate caused a completely misleading result.
Will there be debates this time? A debate with 5 or 6 parties would be an irrelevance but would harm Cameron less, preventing major challengers from hammering home their main points. 'Empty-Chairing' Mr. Cameron would not help anyone. He would go off and do something Prime Ministerial, like addressing Congress or coming up with a peace plan for the Middle East, and the debates would look like the squabbling of the also-rans.
Several polls are putting the main parties neck and neck, and I must say I find this astonishing if you look at the personnel involved. Milliband and Balls were, respectively, an adviser to the Treasury and Special Adviser to the Chancellor. These are the people who were saying 'Come on, Gordon, borrow a bit more. We can buy the votes of a few more special interest groups and our grandchildren can repay the debt'. It is surprising that the Labour Party even condones them.
But it all goes back to Cameron. In 2010 he missed a glaring open goal, failing to beat the hugely failed Gordon Brown. Now, against these two clowns, he has still failed to seal the deal with the British people.
In my view people find Cameron insincere. He could change opinions at the drop of a hat, being pro-Green, then referring to 'all this green crap'. He has been pro Europe and anti-Europe, pro-austerity ad anti-austerity.
Cameron is not what the French call an 'homme sérieux'. The Tories need a proper leader, not a chameleon.