The best thing about a snap election is that the campaign doesn’t go on for long. Some may be energised by the possibility of a renewed mandate, a change of government or a ‘hung parliament’, but the majority of the country (like many others around the world) is disillusioned and cynical with politicians and don’t trust any of them.

Populist leaders (usually with dubious political credentials) have exploited this and swept into power in countries as diverse as the United States, Brazil, France, Hungary and the Ukraine. At home, the centre political ground lies abandoned; political parties have moved left and right leaving most of us behind.

Alongside that, something even much more sinister and damaging has been taking place; honesty, integrity and a respect for truth and fact have been subverted by expediency.

Did I really hear a politician saying the other day that a leader’s record of not telling the truth in the past was irrelevant; what mattered was what he said he would do in the future?

In a recent speech, comedian Sacha Baron Cohen commented on the way that social media is now undermining a respect for truth, noting that, were he alive today, Hitler would be advertising on Facebook.

“Conspiracy theories once confined to the fringe are going mainstream. It’s as if the age of reason - the era of evidential argument - is ending, and now knowledge is de-legitimised and scientific consensus is dismissed.”

When faced with irrefutable evidence (from their own trusted experts) that Russia, not Ukraine, had interfered with the US elections, one of President Trump’s prominent supporters said “Well, that’s what you believe, but who knows….”

Fact, evidence, the truth is dismissed as opinion. Speculation, fantasy, blatant falsehood is presented as ‘an alternative reality’.

Cohen goes on: “Democracy, which depends on shared truths, is in retreat, and autocracy, which depends on shared lies, is on the march. Hate crimes are surging, as are murderous attacks on religious and ethnic minorities.”

In the dark ages, those who dared to speak the truth, that the earth was not the centre of the universe but orbited the sun not vice versa, faced the inquisition. They were called heretics and burned alive.

Religious lnquisitions and Nuremburg rallies are passé. Social media channels are more effective at disseminating lies, undermining truth and fomenting hatred more effectively than dictator could have dreamed of.

The age of opinion has replaced the age of reason. Those with the loudest, most colourful, most strident and catchiest sound bites dominate political debate. Politicians are no longer bound by the truth or need to justify their opinions; they merely need to repeat something pithy often enough for it to be accepted and can comfortably rely on social media to deliver it to a sympathetic audience.

A short campaign, maybe; a disturbing one, certainly.