Politicians and trust
Another month, another IPSOS MORI poll on Trust.
Earlier this month, they asked people whether generally speaking they would trust groups of people to tell the truth. Top of the list were doctors (89% said Yes), teachers (86%), scientists (83%) and judges (82%).
Bottom of the list were politicians generally with a princely 18%. They were behind journalists and bankers both on 21%, MPs generally on 23% and estate agents on 24% (Interestingly, trade union leaders fared better on 41% than business leaders on 34%).
To be trusted less than bankers, journalists and estate agents is quite a feat. And I suspect it will be galling to many hard-working local councillors, who absolutely do not deserve such a bad reputation.
I suspect a number of reasons – all interacting and mutually reinforcing. First, politicians are seen as part of the socio-economic elite; economically, socially and intellectually separate from and generally disinterested in “ordinary” people. Second, the expenses scandals and ferocious protection of their salary/pension and benefits levels have reinforced the view that politicians expect one rule for themselves and another for everyone else.
I think there are other more profound political reasons too. On most of the really major international and national political issues, there is little practical difference between the main political parties: the environment, austerity, NATO, Iraq & Afghanistan. For most people increasingly, they are “all the same”.
And there is some truth in this view – the centre ground has indeed become much more crowded. Few voices are taken remotely seriously outside that “consensus”. Votes for and membership of the main political parties continue to fall. In Italy, an anti-parties comic has just scored nearly 25% of the popular vote. Anti-establishment voices are becoming more credible.
All this neatly brings me to some news that some of you may have already heard about – others may not. I’ve been selected by the Green Party to be their parliamentary candidate for Brighton Kemptown constituency at the next general election.
I know that some of you reading this will not necessarily find the Green Party to your taste. That’s fair enough. I hope that won’t deter you from taking my blog posts and my professional credentials seriously.
I will shortly be setting up a website for my candidacy so that those of you interested in that side of things can follow my progress and campaign work. Brighton Kemptown adjoins to the east the constituency of Caroline Lucas, the UK’s first Green Green MP, and I intend to fight a vigorous campaign. If you would like to offer any support, please just email me: firstname.lastname@example.org