We are at that unfortunate part of the political cycle when politicians open the sweetie shop - and it’s free sweets for all. Politicians of all complexions should stop and think before they make rash promises. All too often they hurt the very people they should be protecting in their search for votes.

Let’s take two specific examples.

First, the rises in the minimum wage and, in particular, dramatic increases in its level for those under 25 proposed by Labour and enthusiastically endorsed by the SNP. Their enthusiasm is misguided. Young people cannot always do the jobs for which there are openings, they need experience and training to help develop their skills. Faced with a choice of a candidate aged 26 who is slightly better than the candidate aged 19 why would you ever take the younger person if their cost is the same

One thing the UK is not blighted by is mass youth unemployment. This is not the case in other countries, for example the youth unemployment rate in Spain is over 30%. Significantly increasing the minimum wage for younger workers may play well politically but impacts disproportionately severely on their chance of obtaining work.

Worse still, and this is where the SNP should think carefully, is that raising the minimum wage doesn’t have an even effect across the country. In London a large rise in the minimum wage will have virtually no actual effect. That might be true in Edinburgh too but it is not the case in Melrose, Stranraer, Inveraray and elsewhere in economically fragile parts of Scotland where a significant rise in the minimum wage will have a big effect - and not one we should want. Many businesses in rural areas of Scotland are faced with low and highly seasonal demand, and are often only marginally profitable. Raise their employment costs and they will have no choice but to reduce staffing levels or go out of business. In these areas the desperate shortage is that of jobs of any kind. We should not artificially increase the cost of employing people if we want to improve the economic vitality of these vulnerable areas.

Second, not for many elections have we seen such a dramatic shift in the stance of politicians towards public borrowing. Since the last Labour Government’s spending and the financial crisis pushed us to the brink of disaster over a decade ago the UK as a whole has been hauled painfully back from the abyss. Scotland as a standalone entity has not made much progress at all - our annual deficit remains worryingly large.

The UK’s level of borrowings is still high, too high to be comfortable, too high to leave much firepower in another crisis. What we should be doing is continuing to reduce our debt as a proportion of GDP. The electorate however is fed up with austerity and the politicians respond by promising a huge boost to public spending.

The Conservative Party should know better and to be fair its policies are just about attached to reality. Labour on the other hand has no such anchor - hit the afterburners and its back to the 1970’s with plans to nationalise and spend on a scale which will bring inevitable disaster. The SNP, essentially a socialist party, tags along.

Borrowing is not free. We are essentially being bribed with our own money and, worse, with our childrens’ money. The massive debt fuelled increase in spending which is proposed represents a transfer of wealth to the Baby Boom generation and away from the young and unborn. Borrowing for an infrastructure programme which raises the growth potential of our economy might be sensible but the rest is just lunacy. If we want more public services we should pay for them now out of our own pockets rather than use the flash in the pan of low interest rates to load the burden onto future generations.

Guy Stenhouse is a Scottish financial sector veteran who wrote formerly as Pinstripe.