As election fever - or, depending on your perspective, election fatigue - grows in the UK, the prospect that no single party will have an overall majority after the 6 May General Election is dominating political discussion and media comment.
Following the first-ever televised leaders’ debate, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg won viewers’ acclaim for his performance. And, in these ‘instant fame’ times of The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent, his party’s prospects rose dramatically – at least according to the post-debate opinion polls. That surge in potential support has been halted to a degree, following the second debate in the series. But the Lib Dems still appear to be running a close second to the Conservatives in voter popularity.
Overall, then, this promises to be one of the most interesting election nights of modern times. But why are politicians and commentators so exercised by the thought of the Nation waking up on 7 May to what – in UK terms – has traditionally been viewed as a weak, indecisive result?