Well, I’m enjoying it…

Labour's 2005 General Election ManifestoThe Liberal Democrats' 2005 General Election ManifestoThe Conservatives' 2005 General Election Manifesto
The prevailing mood of high cynicism makes it hard for me to say this but I have to say that this is a lively, fascinating, scrappy and wide-open election campaign. It’s exciting (tell me Sedgemore and the Oona and George Show and The Heckler and postal votes and all the other brilliant sideshows haven’t got you glued to your favourite news source!) and combative and fun.

Opinion polls aside, the three parties have a kind of parity of presentation that’s really quite impressive – they’re all doing an effective job but by sharply different methods and with intriguingly different results. Lay the three manifestos out on a table and you have a snapshot of a rich and intelligent political process.

If this campaign (which is the best I can remember) doesn’t revive interest in politics by at least a few percentage points then it’s probably not possible to do so (maybe we should just accept that). I don’t (can’t) admire the Tories’ mean-spirited effort but I have to say that, together with their opponents, they’ve produced an election campaign that’s a testament to this country’s vigorous and healthy democratic culture.

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