I started writing this just before the Prime Minister Gordon Brown revealed himself in a manner that could bring his term in office as well as his leadership of the Labour Party to an abrupt end, therefore, however, laughably, I will finish albeit with an amended intro.
Labour has eight days to restore its electoral standing and win a 4th term. After Brown's 'sort of bigoted' gaff about Mrs Duffy in Rochdale, that task has just become a lot more difficult, unless he gets back out infront of the public again as soon as possible today...and STOPS talking about MY policy(ies)...they are Labour policies.
That said, the main theme of the debate remains the economy. If the wild and extravagent claims of the other two prime ministerial wannabees and their underlings are any guide - the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats are rattled by the underlying fundamentals of the British economy. Increasingly strident, their claims that 'the economy is wrecked' and 'society is broken' can readily be shown for what they are - lies untruths.
Responding demands quiet, soft-spoken confidence. There is no doubting Gordon Brown's confidence. But quiet and soft-spoken? There have been occasions during PMQs in the closing months of the last Parliament, when he heeded the need to avoid being strident, and projected a calmer self. The final televised 'prime ministerial debate' will be such a moment. And it will be decisive.
We are all as a society relatively better off - thanks to a higher public deficit. Without bank recapitalisation, the economy would have been a wreck - not just in Britain, but worldwide. Labour market flexibility underpinned by a national minimum wage and targeted government support for businesses has helped keep more people in work, more businesses trading and more people in their own homes than was forecast 18 months ago. Overlay Conservative policies twenty and thirty years ago and the UK economy would be in a deep depression today. As for the Liberal Democrats, their economic spokesman, Vince Cable, today shredded his own reputation as a save pair of hands with a reckless statement comparing the UK to Greece.
None of the parties disagree about the need to cut Britain's fiscal deficit, the argument is about when and how much. Labour has stated unequivocally its commitment to halve the deficit in four years. The critique issued by the Institute of Fiscal Studies yesterday is about the detail, in particular, Labour's decision to defer a three-year public spending review by 12 months until the Autumn 2010. There is an entirely plausible narrative to justify that decision - to date overall borrowing is lower than forecast last year, ditto unemployment and hence benefit payments by the state, and housing repossessions are also lower - keeping people in their own homes. Growth appears to be returning and is forecast even by those cautious economists at the IMF and the OECD to be the strongest in the Eurozone area next year. That will mean higher tax revenues as well as lower welfare payments. In addition, banks bailed out by the British government are returning to profitability and the government's holdings of their shares are showing a near £10 billion repeat billion profit.
Jobs, maintaining frontline public services - health, education and policing, ending wage, pensioner and child poverty, increased investment in telecommunications, and green industries are all part of a future fair for all.
It is the rebuttal that is crucial to turning the economic debate so that when it comes to casting a vote, we all - well enough of us - refocus on what matters - policies, and our future as a society and not on the flawed personalities who currently lead our political parties. If we remember the General Election is not about electing a prime minister, but an MP representing a political party with a set of distinctive policies, then Labour should win on 6 May. .
Never let it be said, I am not loyal!