When I was involved in electoral politics, some 30 years ago or more, I used to tell party workers that elections are not about policy. Election campaigns are no more and no less about getting more of your voters through the door of the polling station than the other lot are able to achieve.
Election campaigns are merely the effective identification of your support base and then mobilising them on polling day itself to actually cast their vote. Elections are not won or lost, at least at a local level, during the election campaign. People have made their minds up well before.
People cast their votes on a number of factors, not least how they have traditionally voted, whether they have met a candidate or not, and whether over the years the basics are being done, such as how clean the street are or whether their bins are emptied.
There will be some who have already been persuaded by particular issues, such as children centres, cycle lanes, parking, support for the voluntary sector, or simply that they think that it is time for a change.
Candidates should realise that it is far too late to try to persuade people about policy and personality. Their minds are already made up.
This is why I find the controversy around the leaders debates so shallow. “Anywhere, anyplace, any time” leaves me less than cold.
Yes, I want a head to head between Cameron and Miliband, and yes I want leaders debates involving all the credible parties. That does include Ukip and the Greens.
But do not be fooled. I am less likely, as a result of the debates, to make a positive choice regarding who to vote for than I am to make a choice about who I won’t be getting my vote.
Elections can’t be won during an election campaign but they certainly can be lost.