When visiting journalists first encountered the bewildering complexities of Northern Ireland’s politics at the height of the “troubles”, a kindly piece of advice was on hand from local informants: “If you’re not confused here, you don’t really know what’s going on.” The same pithy wisdom offers a useful working guide to anyone seeking to make sense of the 2010 general election in Britain. For this month-long campaign has been an exercise in glorious confusion that, even in its final days before voters go to the polls on 6 May, resists any certainty about the outcome.
It was not supposed to be like this...
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