That is the narrative being vigorously pursued by the two main Westminster parties, that the only two candidates for Prime Minister are Gordon Brown and David Cameron. While this is strictly speaking true, the vote on May 6th is first and foremost a vote for your constituency Member of Parliament. In any case, neither candidate is particularly showering themselves in glory at the moment.
So how are the alternative parties getting on? The Lib Dem’s are having an OK campaign so far, they launch their Manifesto tomorrow. They have been making the right noises on cutting taxes for the low paid, and raising taxes for the high paid. Of course it helps that your finance spokesman is widely perceived to have won the… er… Finance People’s debate. On the minus side they haven’t really quantified their claim that savage cuts are required in public spending.
Not having a great campaign are the SNP. Caught in the middle of the “Two Horse Race” campaign, i think that the SNP are still trying to define themselves in post-devolution general elections. In the SNP’s favour is that they still have couple of media events still to come, they unveil their manifesto (Why do they need a manifesto?) on Monday. Apart from seeing some SNP bod’s out and about in Paisley on Saturday (out-numbered by Wendy and the New Labour stall) the SNP have been somewhat conspicuous by their absence.
We are now a week into the campaign and to date the vast majority of the coverage has been about the yah boo sucks argument about National Insurance and VAT, which has been unrealistic as it would take the two proposed tax increases, several times over, to make a dent in the national debt. What we really need it a debate into how to put some liquidity into the economy, after all it’s the movement of money which move’s the economy. The problem with the economy is that not very many people have money (apart from bankers and footballers). We also need a debate about where the cuts should be made rather than where, undoubtedly, they will end up being made.
Which brings us to the first ever “leaders” debate in a UK General Election. Will this lacklustre campaign finally come alive on Thursday? Lets hope so, as this campaign needs something to spark it into life.