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And they're off!

Brian Taylor | 11:26 UK time, Tuesday, 6 April 2010

One election, four perspectives. At this early stage, the parties are trying to persuade us as to the form of choice we face.

That matters because they hope that, if we see the election choice their way, then we may choose them in the election.

So, for Labour, it is about "taking a long hard look at the Tories" and, thereby, contrasting Gordon Brown's experience in office with David Cameron who has never been a minister.

Intriguingly, Mr Brown again made an explicit pitch to the middle class vote, just as he did in his Glasgow conference speech.

This had two purposes. One, to the electorate, I feel your pain, I understand, I sympathise.

Two, also to the electorate, I'm an ordinary bloke, not an Etonian toff.

By contrast, David Cameron wants this election to become a referendum on Gordon Brown.

Spending cuts

Just before the PM announced the date, Mr Cameron told mustered Tories close to Westminster that Britain "did not have to put up with another five years of Gordon Brown."

The SNP has faced claims from rivals that it is irrelevant in a Westminster election. Alex Salmond plans to counter that with a relevance point of his own.

He will argue that it makes no particular difference who enters Downing Street, given the prospect that substantial spending cuts will be imposed on Scotland by either Labour or Tory.

That is a challenging message to sustain throughout a campaign - but Mr Salmond will address it thus: if invited to choose between Labour and Tory, he will say he chooses Scotland. That SNP MPs would be "champions" of Scottish interests.

The Liberal Democrats similarly know they need to avoid a squeeze in a tightly contested election - although, anecdotally, it seems that some voters may be undecided, unpersuaded, that they might be willing, given the extent of the economic crisis, to consider options.

But, to counter that squeeze phenomenon, the LibDems will seek to triangulate this contest - to pitch themselves in contradistinction to both Labour and the Tories, offering a message of sustaining social "fairness" while pursuing economic recovery.

PS: On another topic, must pay tribute to the mighty Dundee United, having rather neglected them on this blog of late. What a team! What a run of results! Put your hands up for Jon Daly.


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