You know, you can tell a lot about a person when they’re under pressure. Not the kind of pressure you get from a difficult meeting, or a heckler during a speech, but the kind of unrelenting, can’t-take-much-more pressure you feel in the final hours of an election. Because it’s by those behaviours that the battle can be won or lost.
So for me, there’s something about the way in which the players in this General Election are conducting themselves. Not just the three main party leaders, but those closest to them as well. Gordon Brown, when many people have totally written him off as a third place loser, seems to be sticking resolutely to his aspiration of a Labour majority government. Interestingly one of his closest political allies Ed Balls has been advising tactical voting to keep the Conservatives out at all costs – perhaps because his nine thousand majority in Morley & Outwood is high on the target list of Conservative gains.
Nick Clegg, whose first TV debate performance was felt by many to be a fresh new approach to party politics now appears not to have had anything else in his repertoire, and runs the risk of seeming like a ‘one trick pony’ – indeed Home Secretary Alan Johnson told the BBC’s Today programme “People liked what they saw with Nick Clegg three weeks ago, and ever since then he has been a bit grating, he’s been trying the same tricks in every television debate and it gets a bit wearing.” Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor Vince Cable seemed to revert to type when he said on the same programme “We would be willing to talk to other parties, depending on how people vote.” No change there then.
And David Cameron embarked on an all-night battle bus tour of key marginals from Scotland to the West Coast, talking to florists, bakers, distribution centre workers and this morning, Grimsby fishermen. It seems this nocturnal offensive might just work, swaying opinion in some of Labour’s heartland seats at a time when every single vote could make the difference on Number 10’s tenancy on Friday morning.