The phoney war is over and battle has been joined. The parties are plugging away at their chosen subjects today. We free market, free society types are often accused of being too focussed on economics and not enough on "caring". But we are unrepresented in this election. And what are the "caring" Socialists of Labour (and the crypto-Socialist LibDems and Tories) talking about? Money of course.
The Tories are challenging Labour to confirm that taxes will not rise if they are reelected. Labour is dancing away from the topic - as everyone knows their spending pledges are underfunded. Unless they find a leprechaun to give them a crock of gold, taxes or borrowing must rise.
Labour is focussing on its "who can be trusted" posters on the economy. They continue to take credit for the consumer-led boom which has left Britain with its housing overvalued by about 60% (according to The Economist) and with the people of our small islands weighed under by 75% of all the personal debt in Europe (much secured on that same overvalued housing). It's a crash waiting to happen but, while the party lasts, Labour is taking the credit for it (and skimming off much of the money to waste on its pet projects to tell us how to live).
The LibDems are offering to spend more on education and cut tuition fees. Having no chance of winning liberates them from commonsense - so more for less is not a problem to them. They are full of ideas to tell us how to live - belying the "Liberal" in their party's name.
In short, the bribefest is underway. No-one is talking about individual liberty. The Tories are not threatening to shrink the State, just to grow it less slowly. The difference in their proposed State budget to that of Labour is only about 1% (well within the margin of error for the spending of other peoples' money).
Labour, the author of the police state that Britain has now become, doesn't have any real challenge to its ideas - just people offering variations on an authoritarian theme.
The only way to see this as an opportunity is that principled opponents of Labour have nothing to distract them. The various manifestos will be of little interest to anyone who cares about freedom. So we can focus on challenging individual candidates to state their personal position on the issues that matter to us: freedom of speech and thought, the protection of minorities against the tyrrany of the majority, a proper separation of powers between Executive, Legislature and Judiciary and of course the immediate restoration of jury trial, habeas corpus and double jeopardy.
In short, winning back the liberties that we pioneered, but have lost.
BBC NEWS | UK | UK Election 2005 | Election 2005 | Election tax plans in spotlight