Five live

Good morning, and a very Happy New Year to you.

And what a year it promises to be for all sorts of reasons, not least the rapidly approaching UK General Election.

Yes, there are only 121 days of campaigning to go before you can catapult yourself out of bed before sprinting down the road to your local polling station.  Lucky old you.

If you're wondering why this campaign already seems to be the longest in British political history, it's because it is.

Previous to this Parliament, a British Prime Minister had the option to pop down to Buckingham Palace and ask the Queen for permission to go to the country at a time of his or her own choosing.  But as a result of the Conservative-Lib Dem Coalition Agreement of 2010, the date of 7 May 2015 has long been set in legislative stone.  And whilst the three largest parties "formally" launched their respective campaigns yesterday, the truth is that they have effectively been underway for much longer than that.

From a positive viewpoint, this does leave voters and the media with more time than usual to scrutinise the array of policies on offer.  More negatively, it does risk the public's current contempt for politicians growing even higher - fed by journalistic lampooning. 

To illustrate, you may have seen the images of five Cabinet ministers lining up behind lecterns at yesterday's Conservative launch.  It was obviously meant to a serious event - "serious times require serious people" and all that.

But within minutes, the scene was being compared by political hacks to a slimmed-down version of gameshow Fifteen to One and a Kraftwerk concert.

THIS was Newsnight's take on it. 

Prepare for much more of the same in the weeks and months ahead (whether you like it or not).