And now, the end is near…and so we face the final curtain.
Yes, tonight’s Question Time is the last chance for Cameron, Miliband and Clegg to make their pitch to a prime time audience, in close succession if not side-by-side.
But in the dog days of this deadlocked campaign, what can any of them do or say tonight to make a difference, or even sound different to all we’ve heard before?
Here’s what they could say tonight to swing those last few votes their way.
I’ve said a lot of stupid things over the years, but I think the stupidest was when someone asked why I wanted to be Prime Minister, and I replied: ‘I think I’d be good at it’. Because let me tell you, this is a bloody hard job, and anyone who thinks it will be a bit of a breeze is kidding themselves, just like I was.
And I made a lot of mistakes when I first started, just like every new Prime Minister. I made some bad appointments, some bad decisions, and I allowed too many things to go ahead that I should have stopped.
But I also learned a lot, and I think this past year or two, I’ve started to get a lot more right than I’ve got wrong. Not everything, I know, but I think I’m getting there as a Prime Minister and I think we’re getting there as a country.
And what I really want is a chance to take that experience and give you five good years of government, not start from scratch with another guy who won’t know what he’s doing. So I’m asking humbly for you to please give me that chance.
Odds of it happening: 50/1. Unfortunately, David Cameron doesn’t understand the meaning of the word humility, much as a dose might help him tonight.
I’m going to say something tonight I should have said a long time ago: ‘I quit.’
I’ve been a bad MP, a bad leader, and a terrible Deputy Prime Minister. I told lies, I broke promises, I betrayed everything my party stands for.
I like to say we’ve achieved 75 per cent of what was in our manifesto. Well that doesn’t make up for all the other things we voted for, which I’m frankly ashamed of.
For the voters of Sheffield Hallam, I invite you to kick me out next week and save yourselves the bother of a by-election afterwards.
But to everyone else, in this moment when I can finally be honest with you, can I make one plea: please, please don’t punish all the other Liberal Democrat MPs who work so hard for you around the country because of me.
Give them a chance to come together under a new leader, hopefully a much better and stronger leader, and be your voice in parliament and in government.
Odds of it happening: 33/1. Given the vast amounts of money and activists Clegg is deploying to defend his seat in Sheffield, he clearly doesn’t intend to go anywhere.
I’ve had a lot of stuff thrown at me during this campaign, and usually I don’t bother responding, but there’s one thing I do want to say: You’ve heard David Cameron say that I stabbed my own brother in the back and that I’d do the same to this country if I was given the chance.
It’s pretty cheap politics but it’s also wrong. I didn’t stab my brother in the back. I looked him in the face, and I fought him man to man.
It wasn’t easy for me or my family but I did it because I thought his vision for Britain was wrong. He wanted the same cuts as the Tories. He wanted to privatise our public services. He refused to apologise for the Iraq War.
And whether he was my brother or not, I wasn’t going to have someone with those beliefs leading the party or the country that I love. Not without a fight.
Because I believe when something’s wrong, you’ve got to stand up and say so. I did that on phone hacking. I did that on Syria. I did that on energy bills. I took on those powerful forces, and I’d do it again, because I’ll never run from a fight.
And I came here tonight to give David Cameron one last chance to face me man to man on this stage. And he wouldn’t do it.
So if you want to know who’s going to have the guts to stand up and fight for you for the next five years, there’s your answer.
Odds of it happening: 7/1. Ed continues to surprise us all during this campaign, so it wouldn’t be a miracle if he confronted the ‘brother’ issue.
So there you have it. If you think Ed is most likely to pull a big rabbit out of his hat tonight, then now’s the time to lump on him as the next Prime Minister before those 8/13 odds get any shorter.
Question Time Specials
Singles Only. Applies to EXACT quote. Applies to Question Time on 30th April 2015.
- Audience member to say ‘David Miliband’ during Question Time 7/1
- David Cameron to say ‘I’ve made mistakes’ 10/1
- Ed Miliband to say ‘I did not stab my brother in the back’ during Question Time 40/1
- David Cameron to say ‘I want to apologise for my record in government’ 50/1
- Nick Clegg to confirm his effective resignation as Lib Dem leader during Question Time 100/1