IT was in an upstairs room of a fashionable club in Leeds where I first met David Cameron. He entered the meeting followed by William Hague and various other attendants and looked more like an accountant than the leader of the Tory party.
There was a lack of gravitas and his body language was guarded. In conversation he was always looking over my shoulder and avoided any form of eye contact. I got the opinion he was more interested in the contents of my cheque book than the state of reading in our schools.
It is a sad thing that I should even be interested more in the leader of a party than the policies in their manifesto. This appears to be a universal condition.
In our celebrity-obsessed society, the personality of the political leaders are judged more than the substance of their words. Party leaders have become poster boys coached in media performances and taught to speak in sound bites.
The problem is that regardless of party they all melt into a fudge of southern banality. Those that dare to speak their minds have the air of eccentricity that renders them unbelievable.
David Cameron can never escape his privileged background. He comes over as an upper middle class clone moulded by public school and the spires of Oxford. He has a Flashman ego and is still surrounded by his cronies from the Bullingdon Club.
“Call me Dave” will never, in reality, be ever a true Dave. Nor would he really want to be. That is just another ploy from the faceless minders trying to win over new voters. “Dave” was picked as leader because of his youthful charm and a misguided idea that he will appeal to younger voters.
Somehow, I just get the feeling I can never really trust him. In interviews it seems he always avoids the questions. He feels he is right, regardless of what the people think. Immigration, Europe and the NHS are the key issues in this election, but Cameron doesn’t have anything new to say. It is as if he believes that if he ignores the issues they will go away.
Surprisingly, I would say that the biggest threat for Cameron comes from Nigel Farage. Seen by some in the media as a comical figure, Farage has captured the imagination of ordinary people.
Having experienced Ukip up close, I know that once Farage has gone the party will dwindle and die. Following the promised referendum on Europe, there will be no need for them anyway.
Farage manages to pull off the beer and fags persona. Like many people he has never been to university, deciding to get a job and work for a living. He is outspoken and direct, even refusing to stand for Prince Charles when he delivered a controversial speech on Europe and climate change.
Farage also seems to know what people want to talk about. He is not afraid to break the taboos and speak on immigration and Islam. The only problem about Farage is that he is a true blue Tory and if elected would happily go along with them on many issues – including the NHS.
This is the frightening thing. Many of the northern voters for Ukip come from the white working class. These voters have been abandoned by Labour and through their fear of a changing society have jumped into bed with Ukip.
Farage is also a headache for Ed Miliband, but Miliband is a bigger headache for New Labour. From the outset he has looked like a crazy character from the world of the Muppets. To gain power he stabs his brother in the back, tries to eat a bacon sandwich and has trouble sounding human when he speaks. He is part of the left- wing intelligentsia of Primrose Hill with a strong Marxist background. He tries to present himself as a moderate but comes across as not being able to cope with the cut and thrust of Westminster.
Natalie Bennett must be secretly smirking about the number of people joining the Greens. They have skilfully placed themselves to the left of Labour and the Lib Dems. They are the party of the thinking left wing, or so they would like us to believe.
Ms Bennett is definitely not a character from Pride and Prejudice. She is a feminist, Australian and a journalist to boot. The policies she endorses would break the country financially and take us back to the dark ages. The Greens believe in higher taxes, more state control, all packaged with a hefty dose of judgemental snobbery.
This should make Nick Clegg very worried. His hunger for power compromised his integrity. He turned his back on promises made over tuition fees and could possibly be the leader that oversees the decimation of the Lib Dems at the ballot box. Like Cameron and Miliband, his life has been privileged. His ancestors are Russian aristocracy and he is a complete Europhile. For me he is the most genuine party leader and has the eyes of a dog about to be euthanised. Nick is the Ron Weasley of British politics. After the election, he may no longer even be that...
GP Taylor is a writer, and broadcaster, a former police officer and vicar and can be followed on twitter @gptaylorauthor