In a lot of ways, I see the election as a giant game of Runaround*. Twinkle-eyed cockney Mike Reid roars at us to "G-g-g-g-g-g-go!" and we, the over-excited bowlcut schoolkids in faded t-shirts, hurtle down a brightly coloured bit of television studio to stand under the big rosette where we think we belong. And if we like, we can "Runaround, runaround!" and change our minds at the last minute to change our minds if we think there are lots of bright-looking kids standing under a different answer to the one we originally gave.
Our friends in the press don't have that luxury. Tradition dictates that they should dictate to us, and feed us their verdict, on day one - or weeks or months before - like a parent stuffing some mashed-up goo into a baby's drooling gob. No 'runaround' mind-changing for them. They will tell us what we should think. We will sit back and take it.
"Another five years of Brown and we're finished" - to which it's tempting to reply, "If you mean by that the Daily Express will be finished after five more years of Brown, then I'll vote for him right away. Unless Cameron can get it done in four." The Express is a fairly blunt instrument at the best of times, but this is a baseball bat dipped in concrete. Interestingly, the other Richard Desmond paper the Star hadn't made its mind up on Wednesday because some vital breaking news pushed the election off the front.
Now I'm all for real news winning out over the mindless froth and giddy-goat-acting of election fever, but as I think you rightly suspect, it's one of those stories that doesn't quite live up to the headline. Is it really about suicide, or Jordan, or Peter, or anything, come to think of it?
The others declared their interest with varying degrees of subtlely
though not everyone did.
but there's still plenty of time for them to run around and end up where we suspect they probably will, let's not worry about that.
And finally, to our beloved friends at the Mail. Regular readers will know they've been banging on about class war for ages, as if it's a real thing that's happening. According to them, it's been declared so frequently over the past few years that it's lost all impact. "Oh, class war declared again, dear" - "Oh, that's nice Gerald, I hope there's a clear winner this time."
Class war again. You'll forgive me for not panicking about class war this time, just as I didn't all those other times that Labour had declared class war and no war appeared to happen, as far as I could see. It's ironic, of course, that back in 1997 it was Honest John Major from Humble Beginnings campaigning against Tony The Toff, and as far as I recall I don't think the Mail referred to that as 'class war' - though the memory plays funny tricks.
There's something else I've been wondering, the past couple of days. Newspapers are less popular and less trusted than ever before, I think. And so I wonder if politicians really want these toxic brands attaching their leechy mouths to their parties to try and suck some of the goodwill out, or whether it could be seen as counterproductive. It's nice to be associated with the winner, or strong positive emotions of loyalty and trust even if you're on the losing side. But we trust these newspapers like never before. I can't help wondering if the FT is the way to go - someone just telling you what's happening, rather than thinking it's got to ram its views down your throat on the front page, when there are so many more pages inside on which to do that, if you want, and not, if you don't.
We'll see. This is a time when newspapers will hope to try and claw back that trust, and respect, and get their core supporters worked up, just as the politicians are doing the same. It's whether we swallow it or not that matters.
* Bewildered young people! See the video above.