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Daily View: The start of the election campaign

Clare Spencer | 09:40 UK time, Tuesday, 6 April 2010

10 Downing StreetGordon Brown is expected to call the election today. Commentators lay out what they think will be the defining characteristics of the campaign.

To mark the event, the Times' editorial sets out the policies the paper says politicians should be focusing on, and finds parties lacking:

"The next month can be a big moment in the country's history or a small one. The parties can spend their time arguing about who made which gaffe, accusing each other of having 'black holes' in their figures, holding press conferences to announce that 'the sums don't add up' and spoofing each other's posters."

The Telegraph editorial says this will be a very important election:

"That old election chestnut that 'they're both the same' could hardly be more wrong. There is an elemental difference between Labour's Big Government and the Tories' Big Society and it makes this election the most important in a generation."

The Guardian editorial urges politicians from all parties to start talking honestly about spending restraint:

"It would be as well to have the big issue out in the open before polling day, not least since that would pressure politicians to explain how they will force the rich to pay their fair share for the cleanup of their mess. The alternative - discussing hard truths only in the vaguest language - will ensure that an election which should be an exercise in democratic renewal will instead prove to be another episode of democratic disillusion."

In the Guardian Geoffrey Wheatcroft tries to work out why he is not getting excited about this election compared to previous ones:

"You could dislike Wilson or Thatcher, but still regard them as real leaders. The mood now is quite different. We're disgusted by Blair, more so than ever as we learn about his awe-inspiring avarice, and we're depressed by Brown, but we haven't taken to Cameron either. Quite apart from a series of misjudgments on his part, and a line of accidents waiting to happen - from Lord Ashcroft to Andy Coulson - Cameron and his gang have failed to convince the public. Perhaps that's because they aren't very convincing."

Chris Moncrieff in the Daily Mail says "good riddance to this rotten Parliament":

"There will be no weeping, wailing or gnashing of teeth when this Parliament finally croaks its last. Nor will there be any mourners around its death-bed. Rarely - if ever before - in this nation's history has a Parliament earned so much contempt and scorn from the people it is supposed to represent. I have been reporting at Westminster for just a few months short of half a century and never, during that time, has there been such a backlash of fury from the British voting public."

Political blogger Phil Hendren, who writes under the name Dizzy Thinks, explains why he thinks this won't be the first internet election:

"We have four weeks now of what I imagine will be the dirtiest and most fierce election campaign for many years. There's been much talk about the influence the Internet will play this time, and whilst I don't think it will necessarily change the result overall we may see it impact on some candidates if they accidentally become YouTube hits with negative incidents.
"The one thing all the parties need to be concerned about this time around though is turnout. The expenses scandal, shocking and outrageous as it is, could produce two impacts at the polls. Either lots of people vote for alternative fringe parties to send a message, or more likely just don't bother turning out at all."

Links in full

IndependentIndependent | Debt should not overshadow education in the election campaign
TelegraphTelegraph | Big Government versus Big Society
TimesTimes | The Election for Change
MailChris Moncrieff | Daily Mail | Good riddance to this rotten Parliament
GuardianGuardian | Politics: Democracy and delusion
GuardianGeoffrey Wheatcroft | Guardian | I'm glad to miss this orgy of electoral dishonesty
Iain Dale's DiaryIain Dale | Iain Dale's Diary | And so it begins...
Dizzy ThinksPhil Hendren | Dizzy Thinks | Anything interesting happening today?

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