It was meant to be quiet and calm as the ever-bored five-year parliament wound down, ready to be dissolved this morning when the Prime Minister popped in to see HM Queen for an elevenses, and the main political parties fine tuned their campaigns ready for launch.
However, last week was anything but the calm before the storm, on the contrary, the storm blew in like never before.
The week started with the usual plethora of polls, showing a Tory lead, then a Labour lead, then neck and neck, perhaps completely unreliable and all to be taken with a pinch of salt. Either way, the polls had the pundits and the politicians scratching their heads and getting very cranky.
Paxo the Pit Bull
The inconsistency of the polls provided the perfect backdrop for the first Leaders debate (a Q&A really) hosted by Channel 4 and Sky News. Kay Burley, managed questions from the audience, a fantastic news anchor, but not a great moderator of these types of occasions – so come on Sky News, where was Adam Boulton?
However, the show was saved by the great Pit bull himself, Jeremy Paxman, fresh out of retirement and as angry as ever. Paxo laid both Cameron and Miliband out in the first round. Both survived the early knock down to stagger around for the remainder of the interviews and both finished strongly enough to be fair to them – but the programme told us nothing new, Miliband is not great at articulating his economic plan and Cameron is not great when being put under pressure on policy.
The after polls predictably were all over the place. Who won the debate? Cameron says one pollster. Miliband says another. The reality? Jeremy Paxman won the debate by a country mile.
If looks could kill
If the polls and the excitement of the first Leaders encounter was not enough to whet your appetite for the big launch today – then you should have been in the House of Commons for the grubby little last minute vote tabled by the Conservatives in an attempt to ensure they could vote out Speaker Bercow on their return to Parliament after the election. The whole thing backfired on the Government who were slapped down in a defiant show of Parliamentary independence over the executive.
There were jeers, tears, boos, applause and anger in bucket loads as the Ayes to the right scored 202 and the Noes to the left scored 228. The thousand-yard stare delivered by Speaker Bercow to the Conservative front bench was a sight to see, not since Dirty Harry uttered the immortal phrase ‘Do you feel lucky, make my day punk’ has the camera captured a more menacing look. After this debacle, the Prime Minister tried to, well look more Prime Ministerial at the Conservative Spring Conference in Manchester. He tried to recapture this ground and any perceived arrogance from his 'no third term' announcement.
So now we have caught our breath we can get on with the main event. The short campaign of 38 days in which our politicians try to convince us all of why we should elect them.
It will be exciting, unpredictable and knife edge and I for one, can’t wait for election night.