THERE'S this scene in the film, The American President, where the lead character delivers a lesson in essential politics to his audience as he explains: "Whatever your particular problem is, I promise you, Bob Rumson [his opponent] is not the least bit interested in solving it.
"He is interested in two things and two things only: making you afraid of it and telling you who's to blame for it.
"That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections."
Sounds familiar, doesn't it.
Over the past weeks I've been assailed by leaflets and broadcasts from all the parties urging me to use my vote to 'send a message' to the government or to the opposition or to Brussels.
A part of me understands the motive behind the rhetoric.
What bothers me is the presumption that I can only serve a useful purpose by voting against something or someone.
Protest politics can be a powerful thing. Just ask Nigel Farage.
I've watched news presenters trying to give the impression that they've seen it all before. They haven't. Not on this scale.
Neither can any of them adequately explain the popularity of a party with only a sketchy outline of actual policy supported by candidates that defy stereotyping.
Yet should the media or the main parties be surprised?
Having highlighted protest politics themselves for so long, it was inevitable that the anti-establishment chickens would eventually come home to roost.
I read elsewhere that people have been looking for a way to express their discontent with a political class made up of self-serving right wingers with off-shore interests or a left of centre full of people ready to brandish a placard at the mere suggestion of impropriety. Maybe so.
For me, it was Liberal Democrat MP Lyn Featherstone who best summed it up when she observed how modern politics has become so guarded and so on-message that it has lost the human touch.
I'd go a step further and say that more and more people no longer think that politics makes a difference to their lives.
That's called disconnection and it's a dangerous place to be.
As the old saying goes, the unfortunate thing about political jokes is that they have a habit of getting elected.
Of course, there comes a stage when the laughing stops.
By that time however, it's usually too late.
That's my message.