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Campaign Diary: Words Are Wind in Election Nobody Can Call

20/04/2015 22:44 BST | Updated 20/06/2015 10:59 BST

Two people sat facing me across the table in S33, New Broadcasting House, the studio we use to host my Sunday morning Pienaar's Politicsshow on BBC Radio 5 Live; both of them black, both young, and both deeply engaged in the election. Remarkable in itself.

Every survey shows young voters are the least likely to vote on 7 May, young black and ethnic minority voters least of all. So it was pathetically heart-warming for a seasoned, grizzled, political hack (me) to meet two youngsters who felt it was worth taking an interest and even voting.

What was truly startling, though, was hearing from 23-year-old Temi Shogelola, who is a teaching assistant, that she was wholly undecided which way to vote between Labour, Conservative and the Liberal Democrats. A moment later, 23-year-old medical student Chide Amadi said the same thing. They'd been listening hard. For goodness sake, they could even recite policy positions! But no party had yet produced a clinching argument; reliable testimony that they not only cared for beloved public services like the NHS (easy to say), but were also capable of delivering on those promises (so hard to do).

There's a phrase the characters in the blockbuster novel/TV series Game of Thrones keep repeating. "Words are wind". It might have been intended for any, or all, of our political leaders.

Polls suggest a truly extraordinary 40% of voters who express a preference for any party, also say they may change their minds before polling day. Even allowing for a reluctance to appear immune to rational argument (or plain stupid), that's an astonishingly high figure. It helps to show why no one has a clue how this election will pan out.

Labour folk have grown more confident - some in a rather terrified way - that they may pull it off simply on the evidence the Tories' polling advantage on the economy and leadership has not yet translated into a consistent overall Conservative lead in the polls. In the past week, four Conservative cabinet ministers have told me they believe they will overtake Labour but perhaps not until the ballot boxes are opened on election night.

"It's a security election," said one of them. Is that a product of inner confidence, or inner fear? I doubt they could answer that question honestly, even to themselves. I am perfectly sure anyone who tells you they know how this story ends is either kidding themselves, or having you on.

I've just had confirmation I'll be travelling with David Cameron early this week, and with Ed Miliband a couple of days later. It means watching them address party loyalists (the general public rarely, if ever, gets much of a look in) and hopefully grabbing a few minutes to chat.

Cameron will certainly want to warn about the lethal dangers of a Miliband-led government destroying the economy, while the SNP takes a wrecking ball to the Union. I admit I rather enjoyed - in an impartial way, you understand - Boris Johnson's image of Miliband peeping out from Alex Salmond's sporran like a bewildered baby kangaroo.

The Tories are sounding increasingly anxious. Miliband will re(re)iterate his point that enough Labour MPs will make talk of SNP influence obsolete, and he won't do any deals, anyway. Unless, I suppose, he does. There is less to the notion of a Scottish Nationalist invasion of Westminster than sometimes meets the ear. Monday morning's papers suggested the SNP might block defence spending, stop service personnel getting paid, even bring Government to a halt in the manner of the Tea Party Republicans in 2013, unless Ed Miliband scraps the Trident Missile programme. That's scarcely likely is it?

Would the Conservatives vote with the SNP to paralyze Britain's military strength? Impossible. And would the SNP even try, with so many military bases and Scottish regiments, all with deep and historic roots in their local communities and local economies? Hardly. And look at what happened to the Republicans when they attempted that trick. Not good.

There'd be no Coalition. No fixed deal for the Parliament. If anything, a week-by-week, vote-by-vote cliff-hanger. Good for trade, if you happen to be a grizzled political hack. Nerve shredding if you're part of a Labour Government, and with who knows what effect on the markets?

Not that the Conservatives have wholly given up hope on an outright win, an overall majority, and single party rule for five years. "Remember 1992", one cabinet minister whispers. That was when a seven point Labour lead on the eve-of-poll turned into a Tory majority of 21 when the votes were counted. But that was also a very different time. We now have a different and stubbornly enigmatic public mood. We're not waiting to see who wins this election. We're waiting to see who loses least miserably.