The party which succeeds in convincing the country it can best handle the economy is most likely to win Britain’s general election.
The financial crisis and its fallout has pushed the issue to the top of the political agenda.
With Britain’s burgeoning deficit expected to swell to 178 billion pounds (around 200 billion euros) next year, Labour used its last budget to set out its stall on how to tackle the problem.
But Chancellor Alistair Darling’s programme to cut borrowing and increase national health contributions have generally received a lukewarm
There have been numerous protests even from trade unions, Labour’s main support base, that Darling’s measures won’t help create jobs or improve public health services.
For their part, the opposition Conservatives argue that Labour’s policies will trample on what appears to be Britain’s greenshoots of recovery.
But Labour’s economic programme seems to be convincing some as the party is enjoying a remarkable reversal of fortune in the polls.
The Tory party’s huge lead a few months ago has been whittled away so much that Britain may face a hung parliament with the Liberal Democrat leader a potential kingmaker.
All of which mean, with the campaign now begun in earnest, we can expect lots of mud-raking, name calling and other dirty political tricks as the party leaders vie for the keys to Downing Street.
The campaign will also feature, for the first time, live television debates between the three main party leaders – none of whom were in charge of their parties during the last election.
It is somewhat uncharted territory and some analysts have expressed fears it may transform the the election into a simple popularity contest.
But if last month’s debate between the Chancellor and his opposition counterparts is anything to go by, the economy is likely to be the only talking point the day after.