So the phoney war is over. Gordon Brown has proved incredibly reluctant to give voters a say on his role as prime minister, but thank goodness, in a democracy, even he has to go to the electorate sooner or later.
Conservative poll leads have been firmer in recent days. With the party's emphasis on marginal seats, Nick Cohen's view that the election might not be as tight as predicted, looks like sound analysis.
In Northern Ireland this election should offer an exciting departure. The Conservatives and Unionists are offering voters a chance to choose the next government. However the 'New Force' has been rocked by a series of internal wrangles.
Now that campaigning can begin in earnest, there is a chance to steady the ship. Otherwise the most popular response from the Northern Ireland electorate, to an election which sees the main parties in various degrees of disarray, may well be apathy.