Oh dear... the launch of the "unofficial" UK election campaign in a blaze of posters seems to have begun.
Discussion about the profound, existential crisis facing the country is reduced to some unilluminating truisms- preferably banal ones. The absurdly airbrushed David Cameron announces that he will cut the deficit and not the NHS. Hmm... The NHS is in another crisis. Not, it is true, the funding crisis that it endured under the Conservatives, but a far more serious one. The system as it currently stands soaks up more money and delivers generally worse outcomes than most European comparables. The lack of accountability and responsibility is leading to gold plating at every level: the tripling of GPs compensation over the past decade has not delivered triple the care- indeed GPs now work a fraction of the time that they worked 15 years ago. Hospitals struggle to cope with basic cleanliness- and unrestricted visiting is sending MRSA and other superbug infections out into the community. The NHS is highly dysfunctional, but Mr. Cameron dares not be seen as a threat to this holy cow.
Meanwhile the use of the personal pronoun "I will..." underlines the central role of Mr. Cameron in the campaign, but the reality of our Parliamentary system and indeed the scale of the crisis requires huge collaboration and much high level teamwork. Apart from the potential hostage to fortune that taking the challenge personally represents, the fact is, it is not true: Mr. Cameron can do nothing on his own, and it is a mistake to pretend that he can.
As the first salvos are loaded the fight a long election campaign, my heart sinks at the prospect of shrill trite, dishonest and just plain stupid political debate, when all the time the hour of economic reckoning comes closer.
This is not a very adult way to start the debate.