My thoughts on the campaign

So what's the campaign been like for you?

There are some who claim it's been boring with all of the big beasts having taken part in hermetically sealed events with little exposure to the general public.

All of us who have been out on the road with the main party leaders can vouch for the highly-orchestrated nature of the campaign.

But there is an element of rose-tinted spectacles about some of these complaints.

One colleague pointed out to me this morning that even the momentous general election of 1997 was the result of a fairly boring campaign.


And when the overwhelming story has been how close it is then it's surely unrealistic to expect to see David Cameron and Ed Miliband strolling down the high streets of Cardiff and Swansea, and being exposed to the risk of a monstering by a disgruntled member of the public.

To be fair to the Welsh leaders and many of the candidates, there has been a huge amount of public engagement and they've been willing to be filmed doing so.

One of the big dangers for the campaign in Wales was the sense that the election is happening elsewhere, notably in the critical Conservative Labour marginals of places like the East Midlands, and of course Scotland.

But I've found that there's been plenty of engagement in Wales which you could argue has nothing to do with politics but because no-one knows what the ending will be.

It hasn't been a campaign for setting out any grand visions. There are significant differences between the parties, notably on public spending but the lack of significant detail from most of the parties has made it difficult to illustrate the policy gaps.


This has been complicated further between Labour and the Conservatives when Ed Miliband has, at times, appeared to be in a role reversal by stressing his credentials on financial responsibility, rather than spending.

I suspect many of the policies have appeared as white noise for the electorate, particularly when the differences are nuanced and technical such as those dealing with tax avoidance, and even devolution where most of the parties have put together a package of proposals.

There's been no single moment to have captured the imagination or the headlines.

I've been struck by how disciplined the parties have been, particularly Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats.

Leanne Wood has refused to budge from her twin message of anti-austerity and parity with Scotland.

And Kirsty Williams has gone through the campaigning resisting all the efforts of journalists to tell us who she'd prefer as a coalition partner.

Cut through

There have been a number of what I'd call mid-ranking stories that have bubbled away under the surface about old comments written by candidates about English incomers and rows between candidates and local officials but nothing has cut through.

Much has been made about the multi-party nature of the campaign.

I'll let others take a view on this but I have ended up having discussions with the Greens about the efficiency of wind turbines and with UKIP about whether man was responsible for climate change.

For good or bad, these are not areas that would have been addressed with a smaller batch of parties and to that end they have added breadth to the issues under the spotlight.

The best moment of the campaign so far must be the leaders' Question Time events.

It wasn't the intention of David Cameron to do this when he refused to take part in more head to head debates, but his decision meant the broadcasters' used a format that will have to be used in future elections.