Trust and Political Life: the need to transform our democracy
One of the major concerns of contemporary public life centres on how much we can trust our politicians and the public institutions and services that they, with civil servants and political aides, are responsible for. This of course is not a new concern as, ever since we have had a system of representative parliamentary democracy, we have needed to trust our elected representatives and those they appoint, to undertake good governance on our behalf. However, in more recent years trust in UK national politicians and political life has been put under considerable stress. A 2011 Europe-wide Guardian/ICM opinion poll found that only 12% of those polled in the UK said they trusted politicians to ‘act with honesty and integrity’. Further, 66% stated they did not trust the UK government ‘to deal with the country’s problems’ (Glover, 2011). Political trust is central to democratic rule, and any decline in this can reduce the quality and stability of our democracy. Importantly, a reduction of trust in government and confidence in political institutions can damage the vitality of our democracy.
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