It struck me today why no politician can ever tell the truth to voters. Why they never answer the direct question interviewers ask them. It's shockingly naïve of me to not have worked it out sooner.
Lets face it, the TV debate between the seven party leaders left us all with a sinking feeling that we are dealing with a 'best of a bad bunch' selection.
The truth is that the truth is just not acceptable to anyone. So to win our votes, none of the politicians can deal with the truth.
If anyone was buying a stake in UK plc they would do their due diligence on 'the facts' before deciding whether or not to buy shares. (Or debt!) And of course, that's exactly what all the clever boffins in the City do all the time with their algorithms, dark pools and black boxes of tricks. They already know what the economic consequences will be of a 290/260 Conservative/Labour minority government. Equally, as they do with every other permutation. They already know the consequences of every outcome and its impact on the sterling and exchange rates and exports and share prices and government debt prices. They have already figured out the UK's post election balance sheet, income and expenditure under every possible scenario. They know what that means in terms of buying and selling shares, debt, currencies, companies. They know what the UK plc's current balance sheet and P&L looks like - and how the promises made by each party will affect every aspect of the economy. They have hedged every outcome already.
They know what the impact will be on the economy of every single outcome in voting preferences on May 7th.
And that's the point. It's an ugly truth. A truth that the parties fighting for our votes just cannot tell us.
Perhaps this is a great example where democracy simply doesn't work, as no one would ever get voted in if they told the truth. The truth is just not that acceptable. So they fudge and hedge around, grandstanding lofty ideological statements that they think voters will align with.
Our democratic process - with its focus on personality - obscures truth. If we had the facts at our disposal, we would perhaps make more intelligent choices.
When one party says 'we will cut such and such by 1%' and the other party says ' we will boost spending on such and such by 1%' they are not as far apart as the rhetoric and tokenistic party political arguments would have us believe.
Boards are often split on key decisions - but at the end of the day, they reach an agreed outcome that is in the best interests of all stakeholders.
Isn't it true that by raising the tax from 45% to 55% on the 'super rich' (i.e. those earning over £150k - I think there are only about 150,000 people who fall into that bracket) we would raise only a tiny fraction of what would happen if 1p was added to the base rate for the 30m others who pay the basic rate? Such a fact would perhaps make ordinary voters less vulnerable to political rhetoric.
Isn't it true that we simply cannot afford to increase expenditure on education, the health service, infrastructure and so on, without raising our already high levels of debt?
Isn't it true that all of this debt that bailed out the banks and bridges the overspending by governments is invisible theft from our children and future generations who will have to pay more tax?
I listen in to many conversations from hard working people who say things like 'well, of course we'd like to move to a bigger house, or build an extension, and get a new car, and take a foreign holiday - but we simply cannot afford to do all of those things this year - or probably next year, so we will prioritise our spending on x, y and z this year.'
Companies and households alike have to cut their coat according to their cloth. They need to make these decisions based on the truth and hard facts.
I think the British people are sensible enough to be trusted with the truth - to make short, medium and long-term decisions to do the right thing, the right way, for the long-term prosperity of their families, employees and other stakeholders.
The truth is, we don't trust any of the politicians to do the right thing for all of us - because we feel they are not giving us the whole set of facts and allowing us to see the compromises that we all need to make for the long term benefit of all.
Wouldn't the best coalition be the Conservatives and Labour joining forces? After all, they have 70% of the votes between them. They have a duty to look at the facts together, sharing them with us the voters, and agreeing what the best outcome for the country would be as a whole.