The Crisis of Trust in British Politics
The Conservative party has presided over a collapse in trust in politics over the past 14 years. Can Labour really turn things around?
The following edition of the Bienkov Briefing is a sneak preview from the new print edition of Byline Times, which is available from today to subscribers as well as in selected outlets of Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, WHSmith and good independent newsagents.
According to a major recent study by King’s College London, public faith in our political parties has collapsed to a level previously only seen in some of the most corrupt and unstable countries in the world. Britain now ranks firmly in the bottom third of nations, the research shows, with trust in our politicians now as low as in crisis-ridden Italy. This collapse in trust is greatest among younger generations, with fewer than one in five voters under 40 still having faith in their MPs. There are good reasons for this.
Declining living standards, failing public services, and permanent crises in Westminster have all combined to bleed trust out of the British political system over the past 14 years. In focus groups, voters repeatedly bring up long NHS waiting lists, which remain at record levels despite Rishi Sunak’s pledge to reduce them, as a symbol of how politicians simply can’t be trusted
The new edition of Byline Times also contains exclusive reporting, analysis and columns from Peter Oborne, Sonia Purnell, Caroline Lucas MP, Clive Lewis MP, Gavin Esler, Otto English, Alexandra Hall Hall, Bonnie Greer and many more.
“It's just a sense of a system that has stopped working,” pollster and former Conservative government advisor Luke Tryl says. “With the cost of living crisis and the pandemic it’s been a pretty miserable time and, to most voters, it hasn't looked like politicians have been able to help or to change that in any way.”
Of course, every political era has its periods of hardship. But what has changed in recent years is a growing sense that the Government has prioritised its own interests over those of the nation.
“We’d be kidding ourselves if we pretended that there was ever a ‘golden age’ of trust in politics,” Tryl adds. “But what we’ve got now is this real sense from people that we’re not all in it together.”