Election 2015 England

Election 'roller coaster' gains speed in Greater Manchester

Blackpool Pleasure Beach Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption There are bound to be further political ups and downs before 7 May

Momentum certainly appears to be growing in the general election campaign, even if we're not really sure in which direction it's going.

If you go by the words of almost every party leader during the past week, it's going to be "chaos" if they don't get in - and anyone who disagrees with them is "desperate".

Following the polls is like watching someone on a roller coaster, only without the screams. But it is enough to make you feel nauseous.

As a reporter, you can only really get a sense of how things are going from the politicians you meet and the voters that you speak to.

In the past week, David Cameron has been at a school in the Conservative target constituency of Bolton West to talk up his plan to introduce re-sits for children who don't meet the expected standards at primary level.

He may have felt the visit went well, but a photograph taken during a reading session with some children perhaps stole his policy's thunder.

He was trying to help six-year-old Lucy Howarth, who was sat next to him, but the moment got the better of her and she put her head on the desk in embarrassment.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Six-year-old Lucy Howarth reacted as David Cameron read a book to her and her classmates

In a split second the cameras shutters came alive. The results were quickly on social media, with the public free to interpret the photo as they liked.

Despite the impression of boredom or despair, that wasn't actually the case. In fact, he managed to persuade Lucy to lift her head and she had another go.

But it is similar to when you get off a theme park ride and see the photo of yourself, mid-plunge, pulling a terrified face. You've got a job on your hands to convince people you looked brave for the rest of it.

Joy and trepidation

By the start of this week, Ed Miliband appeared in confident mood in Manchester to launch the Labour manifesto.

Buoyed by his party's standing in the polls, his roller coaster appeared to be clanging upwards and, as we all know, it's a hazy feeling of joy and trepidation when you peep over the top.

In a room full of his supporters at the old Granada Studios, he banged his lectern to reassure us that he's ready to do the job of leading the country.

Image caption Ed Miliband launched Labour's manifesto in Manchester earlier this week

The polls changed the very next day, with one giving the Tories a six-point lead. The higher the incline, the sharper the fall.

It reminds me of when, on our first date, I told my now wife that I was happy to go on the Big One at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

As we queued, I pondered the enormity of the job ahead.

Luckily for me, the wind picked up and the ride was shut before we got to the front.

Which way will the wind blow during the rest of the campaign? All I know is that there are bound to be several highs and lows.

Hold tight, everybody!

While I don't think the wind is going to affect who wins the general election, there will surely be plenty more ups and downs to come before 7 May.

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