The tip-off regarding what kind of an election was at hand occurred after the first of three debates involving the leaders of the three parties in the British election.
It should not have been a surprise in view of current uncertainties that Liberal Democrats leader Nick Clegg was the perceived winner of the encounter. The result was an upward poll tick for the party that was perceived by many to be the real architect for change.
An analysis of poll results indicated that Clegg secured significant support from previously apathetic voters who felt that they had been left out of the system. This is understandable, as exemplified by a saying from the American south: "I don't have a dog in this hunt."
Clegg made a special appeal to those disgusted with years of being governed by either Labour or the Conservatives. He asserted that his party was the true agent of change and that the Liberal Democrats could take Britain into a new direction after years of government led by Labour or the Tories.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown in the initial debate sought to present himself as someone who, admittedly, was anything but charismatic, but was a solid steward of government who could keep matters flowing in the most stable direction.
After the second debate national polls showed that David Cameron's Tories had moved into the lead. The voting preference stemmed from the fact that Brown is an incumbent during a period of economic uncertainty. During rocky times voters tend to move against the incumbent party, as manifested by Democrat Barack Obama's victory over Republican John McCain in the 2008 U.S. presidential election.
Recognizing the turbulence of the voting tide, Brown went to work on two fronts. He attacked Cameron's party as being out of touch and arrogant. In this connection he was assisted by Clegg who, observing Cameron's newly acquired lead, also sought to remind voters of a period when the then unpopular Tories were brought down in a landslide that swept Tony Blair and Labour to power in 1997.
While Cameron has sought to create a new image for the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats seek to remind voters of the years of Margaret Thatcher and John Major, when change was strongly mandated.