The latest Conservative election poster features an idyllic view of a country road with incredibly neat verges on top of the Union Flag and the message ‘Let stay on the road to a stronger economy’.
The simple message intended has turned out to be more complex as the view is actually a digitally enhanced version of a stock photograph taken in eastern Germany about six years ago.
One of the enhancements was to replace the genuine cracks in the road surface with pristine tarmac - if only this worked in real life.
So are the Conservatives really saying ‘let’s stay on the road to a stronger economy - Germany’? - Of course not.
George Osbourne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has stated that this ‘is a British picture, a British road’ .
The two-fold message to the electorate is that Conservatives failed to pay attention to detail, revealing that the carefully digitally enhanced ‘truth’ was not worth the paper it was printed on.
In this case a straight forward brief to their ad agency has gone horribly wrong because no-one checked. In addition, George Osbourne, the man who is ultimately responsible for guiding our economy into the future, has made a statement that shows that he has either been very badly briefed or is lying through his teeth.
The Tories are depending on the iconography of a green and pleasant land (Britain) supported by the Union Jack - UKIP has the the smiling chap holding a pint of beer in a country pub - while Labour are currently stuck with the image of their leader wrestling with a bacon sandwich
Meanwhile the issue that dwarfs all others in this election year is National Debt. The deficit is being brought down, slowly and painfully, but National Debt is increasing by about £100 billion a year.
In 2016 Britain’s government debt will be 900 billion pounds greater than in 2008. This massive increase in debt has two main consequences
a) any future government has to show how it is going to manage (and reduce) this debt in the long term, and
b) it will not be possible to borrow our way out of another crisis - our existing debt is already too high.
Everyone in Britain will be living with the consequences of government overspending prior to 2008 for at least another 15 years.
The crisis has been deeper and more expensive because of the scale of the earlier overspending.
Many other countries are in a similar or worse mess. Britain is not safe from the danger of other economies failing - and generating another economic crisis.
You will not find politicians mentioning the National Debt if they can help it - all parties are trying to get the biggest slice of the electoral cake with as rosy a view of the future as they can conjure up.
So beware of idyllic or jokey imagery in this election campaign - there are unpleasant truths that need to be addressed by all the political parties.
As ever it is the poorest in our society who suffer the most when the people that govern us make big - no let’s be honest - vast, gigantic, near terminal economic mistakes.
The new government - which will probably be a coalition of two or more parties - will need to put in place a long term plan which is fair to all - but it is not going to be nice.
Above all the new coalition will need to pay attention to detail - or who knows where Britain will end up.
King St, Market Rasen