We are about to enter the final week of the 2015 general election campaign. Yes, that is right, it is almost over. Here is what happened in the penultimate week.

Question Tumble

Ed Miliband lost his footing in front of a feisty BBC Question Time audience during a party leaders' special for the election. After being forced to defend his party's spending record in government – Miliband insists they did not overspend and blamed the financial crisis for the deficit – he stumbled his way off the stage. It was classic awkward Ed.

But David Cameron did not get off lightly either. He was battered for failing to meet his promise to get the net migration figure down below 100,000 as well as the proliferation of food banks and inequality. He brought a prop, though, to beguile the audience. It was the infamous note left behind by the Labour minister Liam Byrne jokingly telling whoever took over that there was no money left.

And it did not start well for Clegg, who was immediately asked how voters could ever trust him again after he broke his promise to students on tuition fees. Clegg said he had apologised and had made a mistake to make the promise in the first place – and he said he did not regret going into coalition in 2010 because it was in the national interest to do so. The nation may think otherwise...

Cameron the careerist?

Was there a bit of a Freudian slip from Cameron during the campaign? During a visit to a supermarket in Leeds, he told voters this was going to be a "career-defining" election, before quickly correcting himself with "country-defining". Cameron's critics, who paint him as an arrogant egotist, may be feeling vindicated.


One is a firebrand left-winger, whose radical ideals and raw charisma threatens to usher in a Marxist tyranny not seen since the days of Lenin and Stalin. The other is the comedian Russell Brand. Only joking, Miliband was the sensible one in this meeting of the minds on Brand's YouTube show The Trews (true news, geddit?).

Red Lines

Politicians are more often associated with white lines than red, sniff sniff, but we have heard a lot about the latter in the dying days of the campaign. All the polls show we are heading for a hung parliament. A very hung parliament, in fact. So all the parties have, in anticipation, marked out their "red lines" on any deals to be done in the chaos after 7 May.

For the SNP, it is no renewal of the Trident nuclear deterrent and no continuation of austerity. For Labour, it is Trident – they want its renewal – and no new referendum on Scottish independence. For the Conservatives, it's an EU referendum. For the Lib Dems (though beggars cannot be choosers...), it is no EU referendum, the protection of education spending and more money for the NHS.

It is a recipe for disaster – nobody will get exactly what they want. And that means neither will voters, who are already irritated at politicians saying one thing and doing another. This campaign is starting to look like a slow-motion car crash, and there might not be any survivors.

It's The Sun wot spun it

The Sun really does not want Labour to win the election. In England, its edition is endorsing the Conservatives. But north of the border in Scotland, The Sun is backing the Tories' ideological opposites – the SNP.

Miliband's Libya attack

Having been the subject of personalised attacks by the Conservatives in recent weeks, which backfired, you would have thought Miliband would have taken heed. But he committed his first blunder of the campaign when he appeared to lay the blame for the worsening of the Mediterranean migrants crisis at the door of David Cameron.

It was Cameron's failure on post-conflict planning in Libya, argued Miliband, that led to more migrants dying in the Med as they are smuggled out of the failed state's ports. Miliband was criticised for the attack, which was deemed to be in poor taste and beyond the pale, though he defended himself and said he was making a legitimate point.

But, since the Iraq war and the aftermath that followed, Labour is always on dodgy ground when lecturing others about post-conflict planning.

Tory tax rise block

It was either a desperate gimmick by a losing campaign, or an ingenious last-gasp swipe for votes when the Tories unveiled their plan to legislate against rises to income tax, national insurance and VAT during the next parliament.

Critics argued it was a stupid move. Firstly, because you cannot predict the future and may, out of necessity, have to raise taxes. And secondly, because no law cannot be undone – so it would be pointless anyway. But the message might be more important than the detail here. And the message from Conservatives was clear – vote for us and we will not raise your taxes.