It's going to be one of those key phrases over the next six weeks. The battle-ground over which Tories and Labour will fight. And it's actually, whatever John Prescott or Michael Gove or whoever might say, down to the fact that you can get barely a fag paper between them. They're both going to cut the State and they're both gonna blame the other party for it.
The other parties have less of a problem. The Plaid message is "Free Wales and Socialism". The SNP "Free Scotland and Socialism". The Greens, "Let's all starve while huddled round the last stick of firewood in Britain". UKIP, "Let's go back to Enid Blyton's 1930s". And the Lib Dems are going with "If any us are left in Parliament, maybe we can be in coalition again".
But for the big two parties, it's down to "hardworking families". I guess this is based on the following assumptions:
- Except in North London, rich people will vote Tory, regardless.
- Old people will vote how they've always voted.
- Poor people don't vote.
- Students get up so late the polls will have closed.
So that leaves hardworking families. They may think that there's a chance that voting for one party or the other may make a difference to their lives. They may not have twigged that the difference between Labour and Conservative is that Ed Balls will tell you he's taking your money for your own good, whereas the Tories are taking your money for their own good.
But how hardworking is your family? Do you, especially, qualify for that tag? Here are the questions you must ask yourself.
Do you, or your partner, have a job? If you're a traditional family and the man works and the woman doesn't - what's the matter with her? Life isn't all milk-vomit on your shoulder and Loose Women, you know. Get out and pay taxes - we mean, work. Have you never heard of feminism?
If you're a traditional family and both parents are out at work - what's the matter with the woman? Going out to work, leaving the children with childcare or the grandparents or asking passing glue-sniffers to keep an eye on them - irresponsible. Don't you know studies have proved that children whose mothers work are 90% more likely to like One Direction and hassle strangers outside Tesco Express? You people make me sick.
If you're a traditional family and the mother goes out to work but the father doesn't - don't you worry there's something odd about that? I mean - it's not what anyone else does, is it? Are you sure you're traditional at all? Who's wearing the flat cap in your family?
If you both have flat caps, as well as bizarre beards, fixie bikes and you work as barristas, you are strictly speaking a hipster flat-share. Politicians don't care about you. You'll be drinking your two-thirds of a pint of lambic steam-malted cherry rye-beer when you should be voting. And standing about asking if people want squirrel milk with their Somalian Red Ferret dark roast doesn't really count as hard working, does it?
If you are gay, bravo. Nobody wants to get into the question of who goes to work, who looks after the children or what you spend your money on. It's best for the party's rep if you are just quietly approved of.
But those families with kids - not the babies. The spotty ones. They're old enough to work aren't they? If they are over 13, the least you can do, now all the mines are closed, is send them to work in McDonald's. It won't help the spots, obviously. But still - it all keeps the economy moving. And the stumpy ones - even if they're not old enough for paid work, can't you get them knitting?
And Granny needn't think she can just sit there in front of the telly, dreaming of when London was so friendly you could leave your doors open and friendly Kray twins were on every corner, directing traffic while bobbies, two by two, gave cheery waves. Surely she can do a bit of cleaning?
So add it up. If 45% or more of the waking hours of your family, ages 13 and up, is spent in gainful employment - congratulations. You are a hardworking family. You will be the most important people in the country for the next six weeks. And, after that, if you can just shut up, work hard, and pay your taxes?