UNLESS there is a marked change in the conduct of this election during its final week, we are in danger of ending up with a result rather than a conclusion, and to come away from the count without an honest account of the parties’ positions.

This may explain why polling suggests that around 30 per cent of voters have yet to decide, and why a large portion of the electorate don’t intend to cast a vote for anyone, but instead to hold their noses and vote against their least favoured outcomes. For a lack of accountability has been not only a feature of the election campaign – from all the parties – but now seems endemic in public affairs.

This week’s resignation of Susan Deacon from the chair of the Scottish Police Authority, on the basis that “governance and accountability arrangements” within the system are “fundamentally flawed”, is merely the latest example of what many believe to be a truth about our institutions and public bodies.

Some of those claims are ill-founded, some are contentious, and some indisputably true. But what is certain is that not enough is being done to apply proper scrutiny of institutions and policies, and that there are examples from all sides of at best evasion and at worst downright misrepresentation of central areas of political concern.

It’s also certain that these failings across the spectrum are corrosive of public trust and of political discourse; indeed, the wilder and more unfair allegations are readily asserted only because it is so difficult to take other political claims at face value.

It is perhaps inevitable that the normal political priorities such as education, policing, health, defence and economic policy should receive less close attention in an election dominated by Brexit and, in Scotland, a second independence referendum. It also means that at least some partisans will frame any examination of those bread-and-butter issues, which have a real impact on people’s lives, through the prism of those over-arching disputes.

That’s damaging, not least because those two issues exemplify the tendency to take hard and fast positions, to make wide-ranging generalisations, to sweep aside inconvenient objections and assert quite unrealistic predictions (whether of utopia or apocalypse) as if they were already established facts.

The Prime Minister’s reluctance to be grilled may be an example of him dodging scrutiny; but it has also led to wild conspiracies about bias in the BBC (from the Left) and Channel 4 (from the Right). And the interviews to which he has submitted have not been awfully enlightening on, for example, how many more nurses or hospitals or tax cuts will actually be forthcoming from the Tories.

But the same, alas, is true of the other parties. Labour’s economic policy has been described as “incredible” (not in the complimentary sense) by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, which is certainly true of claims that the average family will be £6,000 a year better off, or that the NHS is to be sold to Donald Trump.

The SNP continues to play fast and loose with claims about their responsibility for Scotland’s deficit (seven times the UK’s, and half the UK total) as well as domestic issues, such as poorer results in educational achievement and access, that have all been under their governance for a decade. The Liberal Democrats, otherwise invisible, have been criticised for “misleading” election literature and refusing to say who they might support – longstanding charges against them. None of the parties has shown anything like the accountability on spending or their records that one would expect from those who are, in the final analysis, asking for the voters’ trust.

Hurrah for Kate Bush

On election day, meanwhile, there is the altogether more edifying prospect of an academic symposium devoted to Kate Bush in Edinburgh. Whether as a teenage pop star, choreographer, performance artist, populariser of the avant-garde, or recording producer, Miss Bush has always been innovative, if occasionally bonkers. At least you can trust her to be interesting.