Watching the five contenders for the leadership of the Conservative Party perform - debate is not the right word - on television a few days ago left me rather depressed.

We might imagine they were speaking to us all but they were actually speaking to 313 Conservative MPs who decided who went into the final head-to-head and the 120,000 odd party members who decide the final winner. These are narrow electorates. The MPs want somebody who might stop the Conservative Party being crushed at the next election, they pretend to be afraid of Corbyn but really they are afraid of Farage. This is dangerous because they turn right towards what is foolish rather than towards the centre where the consensus which would heal our country lies.

The Conservative Party membership is more dangerous still, they don’t care if Northern Ireland and Scotland leave the Union, nor if the economy is trashed along the way - they want Brexit at any cost - and that cost may be considerable.

These strange electorates made the five contenders say things which were unwise or untrue, or both. Only one had the courage to tell us it won’t be possible to leave the EU anytime soon with a deal other than the one we have already been offered. The rest told us it can be done - I hope they know this is not true. If no better deal can be procured they said they would take us out anyway - I hope they didn’t mean that and were aware they couldn’t deliver it either.

During elections politicians have a tendency to say foolish things. What went beyond foolish is what the almost certain winner, Boris Johnson, wants to do regarding income tax. Boris appears unstoppable, the Conservative Party electorate largely loves him , to the point where it may be smarter for his rival to fall on his sword - if he hasn’t already done so over the weekend. What Boris said was it is his ambition to increase the starting point for the 40% rate of income tax from £50,000 to £80,000. Seldom do I shout at the television in rage but I did for that one, in part at the economic stupidity of the plan, a large cut in Government revenue whilst overall debt is still extraordinarily high and our public services and infrastructure in dire need of more not less money. Much more offensive was the unfairness of the proposal. A 20% tax cut for people with high unearned income, a 10% cut (taking account of higher National Insurance) for high earners and no thought for Scotland at all.

Referendums are dangerous things - they divide and damage society and the economy - Nicola Sturgeon take note. Just when we need to be brought back together Boris proposes tax cuts which split us further apart. If radical changes to taxation are being considered something very different is required. At the moment a basic rate taxpayer actually pays tax at 32% on their salary. Politicians’ efforts should be focused on bringing that level down to 20% on earnings of up to , say , £25,000. If you keep the National Insurance rate as it is that means a starting income tax rate of 8%. This would help the part of our society which has had a rotten decade and struggles to make ends meet.

Expensive? - Yes. Unaffordable? - No. Put the top rate of income tax up to 50%, reintroduce indexation on Capital Gains but then tax the real gain as income, reduce the amount anybody can put into their pension tax free each year to £10,000 - job done. A great way for a new Prime Minister to start.

Pinstripe is a senior member of Scotland's financial services community.