This is the most polarised and rancorous general election I have ever witnessed, and I go back a way. The first one I covered was in 1983. OK Boomer is my middle name.

That wasn't exactly a garden party. Margaret Thatcher, fresh from the Falkland's War, was in bitter confrontation with Labour's unilateralist leader, Michael Foot. But '83 was nothing like this.

The anger, noise and hyperbole; the fake news and obfuscation is off the scale. Last week was dominated by the leaders of all Britain's major faiths accusing Labour of being an anti-Semitic party and Jeremy Corbyn of hating Jews. Incredible, for anyone familiar with Labour history.

I have never come across any Labour politician who hates Jews – quite the reverse. The Labour Party used to be filled with Jews. They saw the party as a haven and a bulwark against the anti-Semitism that was the calling card of the political right.

However, the almost daily departure of Labour candidates for allegedly anti-Semitic statements culled from social media makes it hard to defend the party. This, even though some Tory and SNP candidates are now also falling by the anti-Semitic wayside. Four last week in Scotland alone.

However, this lurid taint does not appear to be affecting Labour's popularity. The untold story of this election is how Jeremy Corbyn has been very gradually whittling away the Tory lead across the UK, even as Labour support in Scotland appears to be collapsing.

The YouGov MRP mega poll last week suggested that the Tories are in line for a 68-seat victory. But that doesn't tell us much about trend. Labour has increased its average poll showing steadily since the election was called, according to the BBC poll tracker, and is now up at 30%. This is not unlike what happened in 2017 when Labour ended at 40% as the smaller parties were squeezed.

The Labour manifesto, while fanciful in its costings, had the virtue of being distinctive and ambitious. The Tories' equivalent last week was a dismal non-event and instantly forgettable.

Nationalisation of utilities like rail is popular with many people, and Labour's pledge of free broadband has really cut through. The Green New Deal is popular also, though no one is quite sure what it means.

The Corbyn factor is still a problem on the doorsteps (especially in Scotland where the Labour leader is more unpopular than Boris Johnson). But Labour is dealing with that by fielding tens of thousands of young activists to knock on doors and sell the message of hope and spend.

Labour also dominate social media. Any casual visitor to Twitter could be forgiven for thinking that Corbyn had already won. The Tories are widely portrayed as hate figures: cruel and heartless racial bigots, and not just by industrious activists of Momentum.

Comedians like Frankie Boyle, David Schneider, Armando Iannucci and Nish Kumar pump out anti-Tory propaganda day by day, reaching far more young people than TV debates. Well-produced videos and memes accuse Boris Johnson of hating immigrants, killing 120,000 people through austerity and trying to sell the NHS to Donald Trump.

Actually, Jeremy Corbyn's much-hyped document dump last week did not prove that the NHS was being sold, or that the price of medicines is going to increase as a result of trade negotiations. And that wasn't my view, but that of Channel 4's own Fact Check service, which generally takes a left-wing line.

Everyone is playing fast and loose with the truth. Labour's claim that a Trump trade deal will cost the NHS £500 million a week was as fake as the £350 million on Boris Johnson's Big Red Bus. But you won't find it being mentioned anywhere on social media, which is where this election is increasingly being fought.

The Tories seem to have no answer to this. Indeed, they've been giving every indication of hiding in the hope that it'll go away. It won't. Boris Johnson's avoidance of exposure, in debates and interviews, has become another internet meme.

The Prime Minister's performance, in the debates he has attended, has been lamentable. For someone who is said to be a brilliant debater, he comes across as singularly inarticulate and ill-informed. He doesn't even know his own policy half the time.

At the Scottish Tory manifesto launch last week he displayed his ignorance on everything from the Tory city deals to the existence of a Spaceport. He accused Nicola Sturgeon of wanting to join the euro, which she does not. What she actually wants to do is keep the pound in the years after independence.

No wonder the PM has been so reluctant to submit to a grilling by Andrew Neil, the BBC's brutal interrogator. The encounter, if it happens, could be the decisive moment in the later campaign. If you think a political career cannot be ended by half an hour of TV, just consider the fate of Jo Swinson.

Her evisceration in the BBC Question Time debate was painful to watch. Her party has been in despair ever since, as it sinks in the polls. She will no doubt try to claim it is all down to sexism – which will only make people dislike her more. Her downfall was a result of hubris and opportunism.

Like Theresa May in 2017, Ms Swinson launched her campaign in a blaze of personal boosterism, promoting herself as a prime minister-in-waiting. Sceptical voters don't like that. Her signature policy of reversing the 2016 Brexit referendum made a nonsense of the names “Liberal” and “Democrat”.

It may have been commendable honesty to say, bluntly, on ITV that she would use nuclear weapons. But there was something chilling in Ms Swinson's failure to convey any sense that she appreciated the consequence of using weapons of mass destruction which kill millions of innocent civilians. Of course we don't want phoney empathy, but nor do we want Dr Strangelove.

Nicola Sturgeon took her firmly to task over the nuclear issue. The FM has been the only political leader who seems capable of giving a clear and informed account of her own policies. She even weathered a bullying interview by Andrew Neil by keeping calm and largely knowing what she was talking about.

The SNP leader may be over-confident and emotionally remote. Ms Sturgeon may find that Labour will not agree to her demand for a referendum next year. But she is a cool customer, and has formidable staying power.

Of course, the First Minister has it relatively easy in this general election, not least because she is not standing in it. The UK media is not particularly interested in Scotland at the best of times, so she is not challenged much on her own performance. The SNP is also extremely well represented on social media and crushes any hint of criticism before it gets traction.

The nationalists have been on a remarkable winning streak in this election. In the latest polls, the SNP is on course to rival the Tsunami election of 2015. That would be quite something, only two years since Sturgeon lost a third of her MPs in the 2017 general election.

It could make her the king maker in any hung parliament. The SNP leader has made clear that she'll do nothing to help the Tories into office. Well, Boris Johnson hasn't earned his poll lead, and he could still lose it. And become the shortest-serving Prime Minister of modern times.