A slightly shortened week one of the General election campaign is complete and it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on what an extraordinary week it has been.
In every campaign in my adult life we have known broadly when the election would take place, even when Prime Ministers tried to use their prerogative powers for party advantage.
In 2015, for the first time, we knew the exact date of the poll years in advance and the parties meticulously planned campaigns.
This time everyone has been taken by surprise, even Conservatives outside the PM’s inner circle.
Last time around campaign messages were planned meticulously and political communications were thought through – the Conservatives had Miliband dancing to Salmond’s tune, the Green’s wanted to sing a different tune.
This time around the messages are still coalescing.
Looking at the first week’s Facebook posts some themes are emerging.
Labour are fighting with Corbyn front and centre, videos of stump speeches and clips from broadcast interviews have emphasised he’s a different kind of leader.
The Conservatives also have their leader at the heart of the first week’s campaign.
Theresa May’s surprise Downing Street address was the most watched video released by a party this week, by a considerable margin. They were also the first to launch an election attack ad.
But the Liberal Democrats have had the most coherent first week on Facebook – the first branded election response was up by 11.19 on Tuesday morning, just minutes after May finished speaking and well ahead of Labour.
By midday they’d settled on their theme of avoiding a hard Brexit and hammered the message home all week.
The LSE’s Charlie Beckett has argued that if the polls are to be believed the election is a foregone conclusion, so journalists should concentrate on the issues and policies rather than the horse race. I think there’s a lot of truth in that.
But there’s no doubt personality will be the major battleground – the question from both Tories and Labour will be continually posed: “in the end, who do you trust?”