I recently watched again an excellent - and sickening - documentary called Pedigree Dogs Exposed which shows in appalling and graphic detail the consequences of dog breeding for appearance rather than function.
If you can bear to watch it, you will see dogs having severe epileptic fits, being unable to walk or breathe properly, or writhing in agony due to their brains having grown too large for their skulls. One of the most compelling aspects of this piece is the comparison between photographs of some of the common breeds as they used to be and photographs of what they have become. These harmful mutations have not taken long, well within living memory - including mine.
What occurred to me is that the contrast between the politicians we used to have, whose selection depended largely on how well they functioned as representatives of their constituents' interests, and the current generation, whose selection (as they see it) depends entirely on appearance has followed the same path as the degradation of many dog breeds.
The Kennel Club of politics - the populist media - has made sure that this has happened, and the people have let it happen.
Time to get back to function. Time to ask those who want the privilege of representing us some functional questions:
"Tell me about your record of supporting working and retired working people."
"Tell me about your support for a wholly publically owned National Health Service."
"What is your attitude to the disadvantaged?"
And when they reply with vapid froth - ask for the evidence!
Nigel Farage is, frankly, winning on appearance alone. There's practically nothing of substance there at all It's our job to ask people like him some specific questions, to read the manifesto of his party Ukip. In fact to read the manifestos of all the political parties.
If you want politicians who function, ask questions about function. Ask what they have done. And nail them down on what they plan to do.
Can it really be all that difficult?