Watching the BBC's Question Time special with the party leaders, you quickly realised why they've been kept away from ordinary voters for so much of the campaign. Ordinary voters ask bloody good questions, and they don't accept being fobbed off.
Funnily enough the Conservatives will tell you David Cameron won the argument on the big issues, Labour will say Ed Miliband's taken another step towards Downing Street, and the Lib Dems will claim to be the only party to have gained votes on the night.
David Cameron’s gamble is that the bad publicity from scuppering the debates is less damaging than the sight of him losing a debate to Nigel Farage, something he seems to believe is a distinct possibility.
As the last Christmas trees are dumped on the pavement, the party leaders will jostle for position on the 10 o’clock news. They think you’re desperate to hear their big plans. But it might be worth a short tactical retreat, if electoral tedium isn’t to set in within weeks.
The UKIP threat has made the other parties more tribal -- making sure their core vote stays loyal is the top priority.
How they’ll win the additional support needed to govern remains a mystery.