POLITICS, like heavyweight boxing, has been going steadily downhill since the 1980s.

Things used to be so much simpler, or so it seemed. Powerful figures would trade blows, there were good guys and easily identified villains, and we’d be left with a winner and loser.

Nowadays we’re fed a never ending bill of over-hyped showdowns which produce no real victors, just trash talk before the contest, fake bonhomie afterwards, and a series of endless rematches leading to, well, nothing much really.

Take Donald Trump’s summit with Kim Jong-un. Both sides are claiming victory yet there were few tangible results from the meeting. It was certainly historic, but the results are harder to judge. The pre-match rhetoric failed to match the final result. International politics is like a David Haye fight: weeks of plugging and promotion to convince the public that an unmissable contest is in the offing, then a power puff clash of huge egos that leaves the more savvy viewer feeling they’ve been conned.

The Brexit showdown in Parliament was another case in point. Theresa May caved in to Tory rebels in an eleventh-hour climbdown on the government’s flagship legislation, but neither side landed a knockout blow and both tried to claim they had won the day.

We the paying public are supposed to feel grateful that democracy has been served, whereas in reality most of our weak-kneed representatives failed to vote with their hearts.

In boxing and politics we can ask the same question: where have the real fighters gone?