So the Labour and Tory manifestos are out, and what an eloquent demonstration they are of how squeezed mainstream political discourse has become in this country. Is there really anything of substance separating them?
What they have in common, amongst all the "we're all in it together" and "giving power back to people" platitudes is a consistent theme.....ordinary working-class people have to pay for the crisis created by the rich. Both agree on cuts in public and welfare spending, ever more privatisation and of course, war. None of the "main" parties speak for those who opposed war in Iraq and demand that British troops be brought home from Afghanistan
When the establishment parties agree with each other on all the substantive issues, all that is left to bicker over is trivia and ephemera - who's got the best wife (so much for the 21st century!), who can be toughest on immigration (Labour's manifesto brackets immigration and crime together in a single chapter - so I reckon they've won on points there!), who can put out the most cutting ads.
And on the subject of trivia and ephemera it looks like honours even on the two key awards - Weirdest Cover on a Manifesto (Labour's eerily Maoist tribute effort) - and Strangest Location for a Manifesto Launch (the Tories in the rubble of Battersea Power Station - nice hat-tip to Thatcherism there).