"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." - H.L. Mencken.
Mencken died in 1956, in what could still be described as a period of political sanity, when the hobgoblins were much fewer in number. Since then, they have multiplied beyond measure, with politicians inventing, feeding and nurturing new hobgoblins every year, then presenting themselves as the hobgoblin-slayers, ready to vanquish them on our behalf.

I generally try to ignore politicians, but all the more so around election time, when their nauseating PR and snake-oil sales techniques go into overdrive, and we get treated to the spectacle of having promises of the money we have earned, extracted from us upon pain of imprisonment, spent for us multiple times, as if they were doing us some great favour. I say "spent", but please forgive me for using Oldspeak. In Newspeak the word is "invest", because of course "spend" sounds far too much like it is money we earned that they're talking about.

Having seen just a few minutes of the so-called debates between the leaders of the pitiful parties, it rather reminded me of a debate I once took part in around election time at 6th Form College. Somehow, a friend of mine managed to persuade me, about an hour before the debate, not only to take part, but to represent a party that I did not support and had no time for. It was fun. I knew about three things this party stood for - all about how much of other people's money they had pledged to spend of course - and just repeated them over and over again, accusing the others of not spending as much as we were. To my intense surprise and amusement, I found that the representatives of the other parties knew no more than I and my friend, but were slightly less adept at mindlessly repeating the mantras. And yet despite us having no real ideas — just promising to spend, spend, spend other people's money — for some reason the college's students actually bothered to vote, and we won.

Lo and behold, some two-and-a-half decades later I see the same thing being repeated in our national politics and so-called debates. Huge problems caused by decades of misrule by both major parties, can apparently be solved by — surprise, surprise — chucking more money at them. The obvious inability of schools to properly educate people to think, rather than be told what to think, can apparently be solved by more money. The failure of the police force and criminal justice system, caused by the fact that they are run by people who actually don't believe that criminality should be punished, can apparently be solved by more money. The systemic failures in the NHS, growing despite a health budget £100bn more than it was just 30 years ago, can apparently be solved by more money.

Here's a thought experiment. Imagine that the party leaders were invited to debate, but they were forbidden to mention the words, "spending" "money" "invest/investment" and "hard working". Any mention of these words would lead to automatic exclusion. I reckon they'd last less than a minute: "What! You mean you want us to debate ideas and concepts? Can't think what you mean. Anyway, we're going to be investing more in this than them ... blah, blah, blah."

The number of "acceptable" ideas and opinions now allowed in political discourse has narrowed to fewer and fewer "progressive" talking points, and anyone with socially conservative views might as well forget it. I can just about see why socially liberal people might bother to vote; I can't for the life of me see why anyone with even a hint of socially conservative views would bother.

All major parties now unequivocally support the deaths of hundreds of thousands of humans in the womb each year.

All major parties now strive to get all women into the workplace as soon as possible after they have had children, ostensibly because they'll all have great careers (most won't), but in reality because it adds to the state coffers, fragments the family and is the friend of corporations.

All major parties support an increase in state-sponsored childcare, so that little children are looked after by "experts" and "professionals", rather than by their parents (just like in the USSR).

All major parties, having supported the last two points, have contributed to a society where it is now almost impossible for a family to live on one wage — a situation of servitude which they call "progressive" and seem to think we should all be rather chuffed about.

All major parties have done their bit to destroy the most fundamental and vital social contract of all - marriage - and are committed to continuing to make it an irrelevance.

All major parties, although paying lip service to the religion that has dominated this country for over 1,000 years, view it as anachronistic and are hostile to it.

All major parties support the foisting of sexual propaganda on children of younger and younger ages, which in case you aren't aware is an idea gifted to us from the Hungarian Bolshevik, György Lukács, who was cultural commissar in the 1919 Béla Kun regime.

All major parties believe that the authorities should have a monopoly of force, and the idea that citizens should have the right to bear arms to defend themselves is anathema to them.

All major parties now broadly accept the sociological view of criminality as a thing that can be explained by upbringing and life chances, to be excused, rather than simple wrongdoing that should be punished and deterred with stern sentences.

All major parties care little for the rule of law, freedom of speech, presumption of innocence, and all the things that have helped keep us relatively free over centuries.

Of course, you may well love some or all of these things. But you cannot deny that they are all things that are profoundly unconservative ideas. And since all the major parties hold to these things — to a greater or lesser extent — it is quite obvious that social conservatives have no political representation. Actually, it's much worse than that: social conservatism in now effectively forbidden from playing any part in our national politics anymore, since if such views ever do dare to rear their heads, they are quickly shot down in a barrage of intolerant spite by those who claim to be on the side of tolerance and diversity.

Regardless of whether you rejoice over this or lament it, it ought to be clear to anyone with their eyes open that our culture, our civilization is circling the drain. As a country we have less cohesion, less community, more broken homes, and more broken lives than at any time I can recall. And whilst the politicians carry on trying to fix all our problems by promising to spend, spend, spend, yet are not only utterly bereft of ideas, but have eliminated a whole stream of political thought from our public discourse, it ain't going to get better. In fact, it will get worse. Freedom of speech will continue to erode. Presumption of innocence will continue to be destroyed. The rule of law will continue to be spat on from a great height. The law-abiding will continue to be let down by authority. Trust in authorities will continue to fall. Families will continue to fall apart. Anxiety and depression will continue to grow. Children will continue to have their innocence taken from them.

But our politicians will be there to invent new hobgoblins and then promise to slay them for you with your money. And when they fail, they'll say they need to spend invest more money because it's a really big hobgoblin. And most people will keep on voting for them. Those who don't will maybe think there's something in another of Mencken's observations:
"The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out... without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, intolerable."
What abaht Brexit? What about it? Although we'll see a little bit of furniture shifting in this election, I doubt very much whether the make up of the new Parliament will be substantially different than the make up of the previous one. That is, I expect there to be no clear majority for any party, but with the Party that masquerades under the name "Conservative" getting the most votes. And even if Johnson gets his deal through, the issue will not be solved and will surely rumble on well into the future when we begin the new negotiations with the EU following his deal. It'll be like watching a particularly bad remake of Groundhog Day.

But let's not leave things on such a depressing note. Putting an X in a box on election day is held up to us as being one of the most important and sacred things granted to us. Yet its importance is way overblown. There are far more important things that we can be doing to change things for the better. Strive to be the best husband or wife you can be. Strive to be a better father or mother. "Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honour (Romans 12:9-10)." Plant a garden in the ashes. And above all, ignore the hobgoblins.