The election starts - five things we now know

David Cameron leaves Downing Street for a private audience with the Queen
David Cameron leaves Downing Street for a private audience with the Queen
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The General Election is just a few hours old and already the campaign has revealed some unusual insights.

1. Convention matters more than the law.

David Cameron went to the palace as Prime Ministers have done for generations to tell the Queen a new parliament is needed. Except he didn’t actually have to. The Fixed Term Parliament Act means parliament dissolved all by itself on Monday morning. We just woke up and it wasn’t there. Normally the Queen would do this. But traditions are important, as are getting on the Sky News helicopter camera, so the PM goes to the Queen and she will announce the date of the next parliament.

2. The coalition does not carshare

Nick Clegg also went to the palace this morning, to chair the last meeting of the privy council which advises the Queen on the need for a new parliament. A far more formal role than the PM’s now, but despite arriving within 20 minutes of each other, Clegg and Cameron took separate cars.

3. The PM likes podiums

Just as he did when he got the job, Cameron stood outside No 10 and set out his vision for the future. Only this time he talked about Labour “chaos” and “3,00 in new taxes”. Cynics will say Downing Street is no place for this, but Gordon Brown did the same thing.

4. The PM really likes corners

David Cameron made clear, we’ll be seeing a lot of him. Everywhere. The PM said he will go to ”the four corners of our four nations” to spread word of his Long term economic Plan. Overlooking the slightly dodgy geometry (does each nation have just one corner?), what this tells us is that Cameron is prepared for a campaign in Northern Ireland and a difficult trip to Scotland.

5. Ed Miliband likes business (feeling not mutual)

While Cameron was at the palace, Ed took his shadow cabinet to the City and promised to scupper an EU referendum. That would bring chaos as well, apparently.

Labour took out a full page advert in the FT setting out how its views on the EU matched those of business. Sadly, it quoted various businesses, who are now pretty angry at the political hijacking of their own message.

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