Perhaps it is endemic. More probably, it is election fever. Either way, our political tribunes seem more energised and anxious than ever.

Consider Labour. The Shadow Chancellor, Rachel Reeves, has only just announced her plan to raise revenue by assailing those who presently avoid paying income tax.

The details are still pending. But Anas Sarwar, he who leads Labour in Scotland, is all set to spend the cash.

Mr Sarwar, whose palpable enthusiasm can be disarming, announced that Ms Reeves’ plan to “crack down on tax dodgers” meant £134m for the NHS in Scotland.

One can only applaud his zeal, of course. But three tiny points arise. Firstly, not a vote has been cast in the forthcoming UK General Election.

Secondly, not a penny of the putative revenue has been raised from Ms Reeves’ swiftly generated scheme.

And, thirdly, health is devolved. It isn’t Mr Sarwar’s call at present. Labour could win every single Westminster seat in Scotland. Humza Yousaf would remain Scotland’s First Minister and Neil Gray our Health Secretary.

For the avoidance of doubt, that is not an election forecast.

If Labour should win the election, if Ms Reeves contrived to raise the cash from curbing avoidance and evasion, there might indeed be Barnett consequentials for Scotland from her spending package.

But it would be up to the elected Scottish Parliament and Government to allocate those consequentials.

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I know, I know, this may seem pedantic. But it matters. I hope we will not have a UK election where the constitutional boundaries are so blurred that the discourse becomes muddled.

In addition, there are problems with the Reeves plan itself. She only came up with it because the Tories pinched her scheme to clamp down on the taxation of non-doms, UK residents whose tax base is elsewhere.

In his Budget, the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, cut National Insurance by a further 2p in the pound, diverting revenues to be raised from non-doms.

But Labour could have promised to scrap that NI cut. They chose not to do so, believing that hard-working families might welcome such a reduction – and might resent its removal.

Hence the clampdown on tax avoidance. I understand the party’s dilemma. I reckon their political calculation is probably correct.

But we are now being asked to gaze in wonder at an anti-avoidance scheme which only emerged out of electoral necessity. Further, Ms Reeves notes it will require more funding – and presumably time – for Treasury officials to pursue the dodgers.

Every Chancellor, from every party, enters 11 Downing Street determined to clamp down on tax avoidance. Every Chancellor encounters problems down the line.

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To be clear, I understand Labour’s quandary. And I know that, in an election, leaders must make advance promises. I get the concept. But that does not mean that we should swallow every single statement without challenge.

However, Labour is very far from the only party relying upon fiscal hope. Indeed, there is a fair dose of doublethink on display in contemporary political discourse. (Forgive me for resorting to Orwellian Newspeak. Just been listening to a powerful audiobook presentation of “1984”. Will review it on the wireless next week.)

The Institute for Fiscal Studies put it rather well when it said there was a “conspiracy of silence” among the major parties with regard to the economic challenges ahead. Spending cuts or higher taxes or both.

By contrast, the Conservative Chancellor cuts NI and blithely hints at scrapping it altogether, given the chance. An incredible prospect. Literally, given the cost.

Again, I understand. Jeremy Hunt faces two forces. Fretting voters, beset by the cost of living. And the Tory Right, gearing up for an ideological battle if/when Rishi Sunak loses out to Keir Starmer.

To be fair, there are some positive economic indicators. Inflation is down and the Chancellor drew our attention to the latest GDP stats, which were mildly encouraging.

But Mr Hunt is still torn two ways. One, offering reassurance after the catastrophe of the Truss/Kwarteng Budget. Two, placating his Right wing who want to shrink the state. Doublethink, indeed.

The Liberal Democrats reflect this apprehensive age. Their view, for this coming election, is that folk could do without more income tax rises.

This, remember, from the party which once favoured a penny on tax for education. Instead, they’d target windfall oil and gas revenues, digital services and bankers’ bonuses.

And the SNP? It seems to me they too are torn. Humza Yousaf dismissively links tax cuts to “Tory austerity”. Yet he trumpets his own freeze on council tax.

The SNP message is that only the very broadest shoulders in Scotland will bear an enhanced tax burden.

Yet anyone in Scotland earning more than £28,867 will pay more tax than elsewhere in these islands. Not sure about you, but those do not seem particularly gargantuan shoulders to me.

Shona Robison, understandably, defends her budget as providing “investment and protection from UK Government cuts”.

Yet the party publishes research suggesting that the average household will pay less overall – when water, free prescriptions and that council tax freeze are taken into account.

Again, I understand. Their fiscal strategy is, in reality, driven by necessity. By economic circumstance. Yet that sounds weak – so they place it in an idealistic context.

All political parties are caught in an honourable dilemma, seeking to proffer the best response to emerging events. All are, again honourably, divided.

The Herald: Chancellor Jeremy Hunt

For the Scottish National Party, there is history here. The SNP is now 90 years old, formed in 1934 by a merger of two distinct parties, one of the Right and the other Left leaning. Their first joint presidents were the Duke of Montrose and RB Cunninghame Graham, a Socialist convert.

Is this still salient today? Probably not much. Today’s party has forged its own political significance in Scotland and beyond.

However, it is a reminder from history that politics involves choice. Driven frequently by events.

Given that, why do our politicians not say: we are in a mess, share your ideas to resolve matters? Would the voters applaud such frankness? No. They would see it as feeble – and kick them out.

We get the political discourse we deserve.