WHAT have we woken to this morning?

I'm writing this column not having been to vote yet, having spent much of the afternoon looking at Dogs At Polling Stations as a means of distracting from the fretfulness of waiting to see whether we'll have another Conservative government inflicted on us.

But, of course, even that superficial pastime is only brief respite. Mr Johnson has got himself a rescue dog, Dilyn, and there he was with said poor hound, it dressed in what looked like a Christmas pudding bandana.

It's not, of course, the first time Dilyn has been used to try to distract and dazzle our nation of animal lovers. He made front pages in September when he was first introduced to Downing Street just as politicians along in Westminster wrangled over whether we should have another General Election or not.

Jeremy Corbyn failed to bring El Gato with him to Islington North polling station, the cat presumably a swing voter given he's been described by his owner as both a Tory and a socialist.

It feels as though Jacob Rees-Mogg's comments about Grenfell Tower residents lacking in "common sense" were in another age, so much has happened during this particularly macho Tory campaign, a campaign that left us with the final symbolism of a Get Brexit Done JCB bulldozing through a wall.

Yet despite this bullish symbolism, there has, at its heart, been cowardice. A Prime Minister who refused to turn up to critical debates, sending his dad to speak for him. One who was replaced by a melting ice sculpture. Who lurked in a fridge rather than face a journalist.

"For f*ck's sake," said Johnson's advisor live on camera, summing up the mood of the nation.

Despite everything, and "everything" is doing an extraordinary amount of work here, Johnson's actions were still being reported favourably by sections of the press. The Wall Street Journal had him as "buccaneering", which, while it of course has connotations of dishonesty, still sounds jolly enough. Five Go Spaffing It Up The Wall.

This election campaign has broken precedent after precedent, a denouement to a political era in which the disaffected and disillusioned party faithful of all stripes have become increasingly polarised, leading to shock decisions and entrenched divisions.

Trust in all our societal pillars is at rock bottom. British voters surveyed by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism were asked whether they trusted news and only 40 per cent said they did. For social media, only 10 per cent trusted news shared there.

During the ITV debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn, the Conservative Party Twitter account pretended to be a fact checking service, leading to a warning from Twitter.

Faith in the BBC's coverage of the election campaign, as with the 2014 independence referendum campaign, dwindled after a range of events left the corporation the subject of headlines. On Remembrance Sunday Mr Johnson carried his wreath upside down.

The BBC then used the wrong archival footage of Mr Johnson carrying a wreath was used, sparking claims of a conspiracy to make the Prime Minister look less defective. Footage of a studio audience both booing and clapping Mr Johnson was altered so it sounded as though the audience was merely clapping, shoring these claims further.

Respected political editors Laura Kuenssberg, at the BBC, and Robert Peston, of ITV, tweeted in haste and, as should be standard if any trust is to be regained, repented in haste after both sharing the fake information that a Labour activist had punched a Tory advisor.

Footage of the incident showed that no such thing had happened but by that point their tweets had been shared thousands of times. A swift correction and frank apology was the right thing to do but a step not taken often enough by those in power. Certainly, apologies have had to be dragged from politicians this year.

The most probing and revealing interview during the campaign had nothing to do with politics. It was Emily Maitlis on Newsnight slowly stretching Prince Andrew on a rack. It speaks to something quite deeply broken that a prince is more accessible for interview than a prime minister.

With the mainstream media held in contempt, social media fills a gap. On Facebook endlessly shared memes sprang up encouraging people to register to vote.

Many of the people engaging with these would have already been registered to vote anyway, not realising it. It's a superficial engagement that gets people involved without explaining what they're involved in, how and why.

As an organisation, Facebook was desperately trying to restore trust in the run up to the election, saying it would not allow the platform to be used to influence how people vote.

Foreign interference and deliberate misinformation would be tackled, it said. The platform has the power to influence the outcome of the election but Mark Zuckerberg has been at pains to say he does not want this power but still, it exists and the only way to diminish it is to diminish the size and scope of Facebook.

Social media has also assisted with the polarisation so affecting our political debate. Twitter has ceased being the town square and become only the stocks, a place for throwing rotten verbal fruit at those deemed to have transgressed accepted mores. But who sets these mores?

No two sides can agree. There is no space for nuance and kindness in 280 characters, both necessary ingredients for finding common ground. This election, whoever we have in power today, will not solve the key dividing questions of Brexit or Scottish independence.

No matter what we have woken up to this morning, building bridges and trust is what we must prioritise now. This long stray into these bizarre hinterlands of boundary free, anything goes politics must come to an end.