The Lib Dems start the campaign from about 20% in the polls - pretty similar to this time in 2005.
I suspect that we will be the main beneficiaries of the leaders debates, and so there is every chance of us picking up significantly over the next few weeks.
The election is going to be dominated by the economy and how the different parties will deal with the deficit that Gordon Brown has accumulated.
We are already seeing cuts here in South Manchester - the Labour Council has decided to close Ewing School and the Burnage Walk-in centre has been shut. Locally the question that voters need to ask is who will fight to protect local services and who will be on the side of local people.
Where were the local Labour Party when the Labour Council voted through the closure of Ewing School? Well actually they were supporting it! And where were Labour when Burnage walk-in centre was closed? Who knows, because they stayed silent.
Labour are spinning a line about saving local services, but they are either responsible for closing them, or they have done nothing to save them.
Alistair Darling has admitted that Labour cuts will be more savage than cuts under Margaret Thatcher, but he won't admit where those cuts will be made. Why won't he come clean on where the axe will fall?
During the interview we talked about what will be the deciding factor on May 6th, and as I have stated before I feel the next election will be judged on who will stand up to protect local services. I stand by my record of action fighting for south Manchester over the last five years.
My three election pledges are:
1. Protecting local services against cuts, it is vital our valuable local services are maintained and protected.
2. Fighting to get Manchester’s £82 million back , that should have been invested in the police to get us more bobbies on the beat
3. Fairness Agenda, four key themes:
Fair taxes: We will ensure no-one pays income tax on the first £10,000 they earn. 3.6m low-income workers and pensioners will be freed from paying income tax and millions more will have a tax cut of £700 a year. We’ll pay for it by closing loopholes that unfairly benefit the rich, a new tax on mansions worth over £2m, and ensuring polluters pay for the damage they cause.
A fair start for all our children: We will get every child the individual attention they need by cutting class sizes. We will spend an extra £2.5bn on schools, targeted at children who need the most help. The average primary school could cut class sizes to 20. An average secondary school could see classes of just 16. At University level we will scrap tuition fees.
A fair future: a rebalanced, green economy: We will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs with a £3.5bn green stimulus and job creation plan in our first year in government, fully funded by cut backs elsewhere. We will break up the banks and rebalance the economy away from unsustainable financial speculation. And we will be honest about where savings must be made in government spending to balance the books and protect our children’s future.
A fair deal from politicians: We will introduce a fair voting system to end safe seats and make all MPs listen to people. We will ensure corrupt MPs can be sacked by their constituents and stop non-doms from donating to parties or sitting in Parliament. We will take power from Westminster and give it to councils and communities, with local power over police and the NHS