As the official election campaign starts, I find myself, in a healthy way, less emotionally attached to the outcome than in the last four elections. That’s good. I think I have got stupidly worked up about the last four elections, leading to disappointment at some level – except in the case of 1997, which was like all my birthdays coming at once.
All being well, I will be campaigning in four constituencies across the country during the next month: In Liverpool, Cornwall and Oxford – But my main effort will be for David Rendel in Newbury. So I won’t be idle.
Strangely, my emotional detachment (or lack of strong attachment) to the outcome is in inverse proportion, it seems, to the likely historic nature of the result. I expect Nick Clegg to lead the LibDems to a new, higher plateau – one which will bear very little resemblance to the situation when I first threw my lot in with the Liberals in 1970 when we halved the number of our MPs – from 12 to 6.
So I am very much looking forward to doing my bit, without the burden of overly emotionally entangled hopes. I am now long enough in the tooth to be able to value the correct priorities in life, such as family and, indeed, just being alive! It’s going to be fun.
It term s of the election per se, I expect it all to pivot on trust. The Tories have executed a potentially very clever trick over the last week. It’s gone from Tories “deficit/cuts” to Tories “tax cut”. I expect that over the last few weeks it will become clear that both the Tories and Labour have large black holes in their economic plans. I therefore expect the LibDems to do very well, because I do think we have, as always, properly costed and worked through our plans. The leaders’ debates are going to be particularly fascinating. It is very encouraging going into election campaign with such a savvy, bright and vigorous leader as the Great Cleggster. This woolly old Liberal is positively excited. Oh, did I say I was emotionally detached from it all at the beginning of this post? Oh dear. Perhaps not.