Two in five do not trust politicians. This is the striking result from a new survey of British social attitudes and confirms just how few people have any faith in politics or politicians.
Perhaps it is little surprising given the charge sheet against politicians. In the last week alone Liberal Democrat leaders voted in parliament to increase university fees despite actively campaigning and pledging during May’s General election that they would oppose any increase if elected.
Little wonder ‘Sell-out’, ‘Betrayal’ and ‘Lies’ are some of the quotable descriptions being used in student circles to express their utter disgust at the duplicitous behaviour of politicians. While students have been quick to blame politicians for not keeping the pledges they were elected upon the MPs have merely demonstrated the stark reality of democratic politics.
The study, which charts social attitudes over the last three decades, has found that mistrust in politics was now four times higher than it was in the mid-80s. Researchers maintain confidence in the political system had never been particularly high in anycase.
Before the General election the public were dismayed and horrified at all manner of expenditure that politicians charged to MPs expenses. Of the 630 odd MPs two thirds were implicated in the MPs expenses row yet only three are being prosecuted on criminal charges exposing the abuse as systematic and inherently associated with the way in which parliament operates.
MPs taking ‘cash for questions’ and offering consultancy services like ‘sort of cabs for hire’ are other examples of how public confidence in politics has been severely dented.
Such endemic failure can not be deflected away by blaming on a few ‘bad apples’ or some ‘black sheep’.
The British political establishment has failed to convince people at home about the merits of democracy yet is eager to impose democracy by the barrel of the gun through invading and occupying Muslim nations.
It is extraordinary that in Britain with one of the most developed democracies in the world – sometimes described as the mother of all parliaments – 40% have lost trust in the political system. Yet Muslims are supposed to welcome this system in their countries, and are derided as ‘extreme’ if they criticise, oppose or propose alternative ways of political engagement.
In much the same way as the economic crisis exposed capitalism’s inherent flaws increasing numbers have lost faith in politicians and the political system as they see through the veneer over democracy.