WHEN I was a little boy, my late grandmother used to have a saying, which she trotted out at every possible opportunity.

It went something like: “How can you tell when a politician is lying? You can see his lips move.”

I know it’s not original but for her it was heartfelt. She had lived through some very tough times and felt that her position in life had never been made any better by politicians or politics.

My grandmother was a very influential figure in my life and her disdain for politicos of any colour did temper my own world views for a long time.

As I got a little older, and hopefully wiser, I increasingly came into contact with the political class, both at a local level and with a number of MPs.

I believe there are some really decent, hardworking people, from all parties representing Northwich and Winsford and generally speaking, I found the politicians I met genuinely wanted to do good and make the world a better place.

Obviously, there were a few rotten apples in the political barrel but let’s face it, that can be said about any walk of life.

When I went to university, one of the modules I studied looked at how organisations behaved and it was then I was introduced to another concept that has probably shaped my take on life as much as my grandmother.

The theory goes: People’s perceptions are their reality.

It’s a blindingly obvious concept when you think about it. As people go through life, they are bombarded with facts, experiences and opinions and you, as an individual, filter, process and synthesise all this information. What it left is your ‘reality’.

Of course, your reality probably doesn’t match the reality of the person sat next to you on the bus.

I mention all of this as a result of something our very own George Osborne said last week.

At this point, I feel obliged to say this is not a party political dig at Chancellor of the Exchequer.

But basically, George said something along the lines that the vast majority of people are better off now than they were 12 months ago because the change in the tax regime had left more money in their pockets and with the rate of inflation falling, put households ahead of the game.

Now I am not an economist and have no way of auditing Mr Osborne’s assertion. He may well be right and have the figures to prove it. Enter stage left people’s perceptions.

Every man and his dog lined up to have a go at the Chancellor, chanting the litany of constant price rises in food and fuel, no wage increases for five years, public service sector cutbacks and cuts to the benefits system.

As I said earlier, I make no political point. You have your perceptions, therefore you have your reality and can make up your own mind. But I think we have a lot more of this kind of thing to look forward to.

Have a look at the work of American sociologist Robert K Merton who studied the theory of unintended consequences The idea isn’t new but Merton looked at it from a scientific viewpoint. Basically, the theory says that when we seek to intervene in a complex system, no matter how well intentioned, that intervention tends to create unanticipated and often undesirable outcomes.

Back to politics. When the Coalition Government took over in 2010, it introduced the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, meaning that Governments will serve fixed five-year terms.

As a result, we all know that the next general election will be held on May 7, 2015, (except in the event of a collapse of Government or a two-thirds majority of MPs voting for an early election).

And the unexpected consequence? Rather than having an election campaign lasting three weeks, we are going to have one last 18 months.

There’s little doubt it has already started and Mr Osborne’s ‘we are all better off’ is undoubtedly part of it. But rest assured, there is much, much more of this to come.

And I just wonder if the law of unintended consequences will play its part again. I have a sneaky feeling that come May 7 next year, we might just all be a little bit fed up with politics.

Surely this wasn’t the intended consequence.