Having followed and commented on elections for over two decades the biggest single change I see is political spin. Sadly, conviction politics is all but dead. Whether you loved or loathed Margaret Thatcher you knew exactly what she stood for. Her values were genuine not a product of some focus group. Mrs T was prepared to stand or fall on her opinions. I didn't love her policies but I didn't have any doubts what they were. Anyone who voted for her knew precisely what they were getting.
Apart from the lust for power what do Messrs Cameron, Clegg and Miliband believe in? On what issues are they (honestly) prepared to live or die? Mr Cameron doesn't even know what football club he supports. Nick Clegg swiftly dropped his belief in tuition fees when he saw it would exclude him from a cabinet post and anyone who witnessed the ludicrous 'discussion' between Mr Miliband and Russell Brand knows now there is no humiliation too far for the vote seeking Labour Leader.
It is not what politicians stand for any more that counts it's what we THINK they stand for that concerns those seeking office. Obfuscation is the name of the game and by God are they good at it.
I recently read an exchange between two opposing candidates in the forthcoming local election. Then I read it again. I wrote the points down I thought each candidate was making. I studied the statistics they quoted. Then I read the exchange again and I had no idea who was correct or whether they were both wrong.
It was a confusing jumble of claim and counter claim with both parties insisting their 'facts' had been substantiated - which was clearly impossible. That little episode wasted 45 minutes of my life, which I shall never see again.
I doubt many voters can spare the time for that kind of analysis especially when they will be no wiser for doing so. Far from being 'transparent' (the most recent buzz-word) today's politicians talk in riddles.
"I may have 'over firmly denied' having a second job." What the hell is that other than lying? Sorry... I meant economical with the truth.
One politician's Greenbelt Invasion is another's Brownfield First and both claim to have 'conclusive evidence.'
So, here we are facing an important election how are we, the electorate, suppose to make a judgement when facts and statistics can be provided to 'prove' every candidate's point of view?
All we can do is to go on what we know. We know we haven't had a council tax increase in three years (that IS a fact) but have we paid for it with poorer services? Are our roads being repaired and our dustbins emptied? Are social services any worse because of it?
Do we believe a change would improve things? Would we be happy to pay more council tax and trust a new regime to spend it wisely?
Which candidate can we trust to represent OUR views even against their own party?
This is make-your-mind-up time.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of alderleyedge.com.