Politics and politicians have never been held in lower esteem in this country and there is a grave danger that people will just disengage from the political process unless the campaign strikes a radically fresh tone. I am not sure that months of endless policy announcements and traditional campaigning meets that demanding requirement.
The uncertainty over the election date lies at the heart of that problem. Having the date in the gift of the Prime Minister of the day is one of the worst aspects of 'old politics'. It has already become a game to guess the date as Labour (ab)uses this power in an attempt to wrong foot the opposition parties. I have always thought that we should have fixed term Parliaments that can only be dissolved in exceptional circumstances to put an end to this nonsense. I would be delighted if Gordon Brown turned around today and said he was going to fix the date now - late-March or early May - to end all the pointless speculation and double-guessing. It won't happen, of course, because Mr Brown is a creature born out of the current system.
Today seems already to have been declared the official start of the General Election campaign with a barrage of announcements from all the major parties. I wonder how this will play out with the electorate?