The revolution that is happening in politics here may not be as dramatic, or played out as visibly on our streets as in the Middle East, but a revolution it just as surely is.

Commentators trying to explain why Egyptian citizens have suddenly taken to the streets have remarked that something in the nation's psyche has changed. The demonstrators are not militants, they are ordinary men and women who have had enough and are willing to risk all looking for the right to self-determination and democratic change.

A similar transformation is happening here. We are not, as yet at any rate, taking to the streets to voice our displeasure, except in a very organised trade union sort of fashion. But there is a definite change in the national psyche. Men, women, young, old, working and unemployed, having reached the end of their tether, have become passionately politicised and, if the polls are to be believed, are promising an earthquake in our political landscape.

As much as Fine Gael and Labour would like to think that all the anger is directed at the departing coalition government, this is not the case.

All the polls have been charting a steady rise for Fine Gael, Labour and Sinn Féin, with political annihilation foreseen for Fianna Fáil and the Greens.

Today's Red C poll in the Sunday Business Post shows a decline of 2% to 33% for Fine Gael while Fianna Fáil enjoys a 2% increase from a historic low of 14%. Labour remains stuck on 21% while the Greens decline by 2% to 2%. Sinn Féin drops 1% to 13% while independents gain 3% to 15%. Leaving aside the bounce for Micheál Martin, it is clear the electorate sees all politicians as culpable for our current situation.

But the really significant number in terms of the general election and the shape of the next Dáil is the percentage who remain undecided. About one-third of all voters have yet to be swayed in one direction or the other. These are probably the angriest and bitterest of all because they include many who most trusted the political system in the past, and who feel most let down today. They are emotional and highly volatile – and every party is looking for their vote.

Ironically, this has had the knock-on effect of producing a standard of political debate that is directly in inverse proportion to the principled discourse that the country is yearning for. The need to woo the disaffected and the don't knows is encouraging some to speak out of both sides of their mouths.

Fianna Fáil, under Micheál Martin, is now sorry for what went on for the past 13 years and is suddenly very much for political reform, with the new leader anxious to tout the advantages of PR, plus a list system which allows a Taois­each to choose a cabinet that includes experts in their field. Great idea, shame he didn't push it over the past 13 years. It might have saved us a bailout!

The Greens were so anxious to get out of government to begin the process of decontamination from partnership with Fianna Fáil that they were willing to sacrifice the tax provisions within the long-awaited civil partnership bill.

Labour doesn't know whether to outmanoeuvre Sinn Féin by moving to the left, or to outfox Fine Gael by moving to the right.

Enda Kenny says he won't be drawn into a three-way leaders' debate and takes Micheál Martin to task for displaying old FF "arrogance" by trying to dictate the terms of the debate when he's not even Taoiseach. But is all this just bluster, covering Kenny's fear of making another gaffe on live TV?

The real campaign starts on Tuesday when Brian Cowen names the election day, but the sooner all parties realise that the electorate is in no mood for distractions such as debates over the format of leaders' debates, or displays of rudeness such as Joan Burton's on Tonight with Vincent Browne, or Brian Lenihan's constant sniping over the short timeframe of the finance bill, time which TDs on his own side used to spout total nonsense, the better.

Enough respect for politics has been lost without those who wish to regain our trust devaluing it further.

The revolution that has happened is that this time round, power will not be won by buying people off or by pulling political strokes. This election is about policies and about competence and above all, about integrity. People are in no mood to listen to promises that are not rooted in reality.

The priority is about putting together a credible means of reducing our interest rate on the European Financial Stability Facility element of our bailout, at the very least.

Despite Eamon Gilmore's contention that no renegotiation of the bailout deal can take place without a mandate after the election, Enda Kenny and Michael Noonan were right to meet José Manuel Barroso and Olli Rehn.

That was not a question of jumping the electoral gun. It was the sort of decisive preparation for government that any party that believes it will soon hold power should be taking.