Election 2015: The power of the woman who isn't even running

Nicola Sturgeon

Something truly extraordinary happened this morning.

A woman who is not even a candidate in this election; whose party is running in just one of the four nations and which, even if it does as spectacularly well as some polls suggest, would have just one in 13 MPs in Westminster pledged to build not just a "stronger Scotland" but a "better and more progressive politics for everyone" in the UK.

Nicola Sturgeon showed once again why she is the undoubted star of this general election campaign and why she says her Inbox is filled with emails from voters from outside Scotland who want the chance to vote SNP.

In a confident performance she declared that an end to austerity was the SNP's number one priority. She spelt out what SNP MPs would back - a mansion tax, a bankers bonus tax and a new 50p top rate of income tax - as well what they would oppose - Trident, the "bedroom tax" and cuts to disability benefits.

Her headline pledge was to vote for an increase in NHS spending bigger than any other party has so far promised - £9.5bn above inflation in England by 2021 which implies a total increase on spending on the NHS in Scotland of £2bn by 2021.

Capital investment

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Election 2015: Debate - The Ed v Nicola Show (part two)

Ed Miliband

On the morning after the debate before, it is clear the election is increasingly being defined by two competing narratives.

On the one hand Ed Miliband is slowly and steadily introducing himself to voters as a potential prime minister.

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Debate - The Ed v Nicola Show

BBC debate

Some thought David Cameron would pay a heavy price for not turning up for tonight's debate. Certainly there are voters who will be angry that the prime minister refused to take part in more than one debate.

Clearly he missed a chance to make the Tory case and left the stage free to his opponents. Finally, Ed Miliband was able to challenge his opponent to have the courage to debate with him head-to-head.

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Coalition: Who do you dislike least?

Nick Clegg

Take your pick.

Clegg, Farage or Salmond.

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Tory manifesto - the cross-dressing goes on

David Cameron
David Cameron says he wants to guarantee 'a good life' for British workers and families

This week of political cross dressing goes on.

David Cameron tried to re-brand the Conservatives as the party of working people - the day after Ed Miliband claimed that Labour was the party of economic responsibility.

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Labour’s manifesto: Is he ready? Are they responsible?

Ed Miliband

Address the nation's doubts. Confront your weaknesses. Tackle them head on.

That seems to have been Ed Miliband's plan today as he made two key claims :

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Roll up, roll up - it’s time to read those manifestos

Ed Miliband with a Labour aide

Turn off your tablet. Ignore that glossy magazine. That new thriller is going to have to wait. Today's the day you're going to start to read the party manifestos.

What do you mean you've never read one? You should. Here's why.

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Election 2015: Non-doms - whose side are you on?

Whose side are you on? It is one of the most powerful questions in politics and Ed Miliband believes it is the key to seeing him installed in Downing Street.

That's why Labour is targeting the so-called non-doms today. They're very rich, often foreign and enjoy a lifestyle that makes them resented by anyone who's struggled to make ends meet in recent years.

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Europe: Why you can believe Blair - on this

Tony Blair

Not so long ago I invited Tony Blair to say that Ed Miliband was a strong leader.

He side-stepped the question - choosing instead to say that it was up to voters to decide.

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Election 2015: No TV debate game changer? Well, perhaps one

Screengrab from the leaders' debate

There was no game changer. No single "moment", no zinger, no gaffe which looks set to re-shape the course of this election. Save perhaps for one.

That was the presence on the stage of not two or three party leaders but seven - a debate in which the talk of a new sort of politics, multi-party politics, became visible reality.

Read full article Election 2015: No TV debate game changer? Well, perhaps one