In my Journal column today I'm calling the 2010 general election against Gordon Brown and Labour. Not an easy one for me to write for reasons I make clear in the text.
Here it is in full.
Thirteen years ago, on John Major’s last Saturday in 10 Downing Street, I wrote in my pre-election column that the over-riding factor when people cast their votes would be the desire for change.
Politics tends to go in cycles, and so this election, too, is likely to see the curtain fall for a Prime Minister who now seems ready to leave the stage.
For all the talk of “Cleggmania” and “Duffygate” altering the dynamics of the contest over the past three weeks, the key dynamic – the desire for a new beginning - has been in place from the start.
It is still not clear who is going to win on Thursday. It is, though, becoming clear that Gordon Brown is going to lose.
It’s not easy for me to have to write that. I continue to believe that Mr Brown could have been a perfectly good Prime Minister had he got the chance to be one at a time when his party as a whole was still riding high.
I also believe that history will judge him far more kindly than his contemporaries have done, and that the actions he has taken with regard to the recession will, in time, be vindicated.
But once the country began to tire of New Labour, it was always going to be a big ask for a man who has been so close to the centre of power for so long to successfully represent change.
The party’s core campaign message – “don’t risk the recovery” – has been an essentially defensive operation in a situation which cried out instead for vision.
The Gillian Duffy incident in Rochdale this week – which could have happened to any of the three party leaders – only put the seal on Mr Brown’s already fading prospects.
The real significance of it was not that he views the voters with contempt – he doesn’t – but the fact that he thought the initial exchange had been a “disaster.”
It wasn’t - Mrs Duffy had actually promised to vote Labour. But Mr Brown thought it was a “disaster” because he has lost both his self-confidence, and his ability to judge political situations.
His inability to make any inroads in the polling that followed Thursday’s final TV debate shows the public has by and large made up its mind about him, and they won’t change it now.
So, then, Clegg or Cameron? Well, I won’t dwell at length on the potential hazards for the North-East that may result from an outright Conservative victory.
Mr Cameron’s comments last weekend, suggesting the region receives too much public money, probably tell you all you need to know, however hard he later tried to row back from them.
Irrespective of that, I have argued previously that both Britain and the North-East need a balanced Parliament, for two reasons.
Firstly because the Tories cannot be trusted to govern on their own. Secondly, because this must be the last election fought on a bent electoral system which could yet produce a result on Friday that is beyond parody.
All along, the polls have suggested it will happen, but that may yet change as minds are concentrated over the remaining few days of the campaign.
The outcome that would probably best reflect the mood of the country at the moment is a Lib-Con coalition – but that can only happen, of course, if Mr Cameron puts electoral reform on the table.
If he does not, the likeliest scenario is a minority Conservative administration and – joy of joys! – a re-run of all this in a few months’ time as Prime Minster Cameron seeks a working majority.
One thing will be different next time though. Mr Brown will not be there.