Over half a century ago, politics, and most politicians, received a greater degree of public trust than is found these days, writes leader of the Werrington First group on Peterborough City Council, Cllr Steve Lane, in this week’s Speaker’s Corner.
There was a certain amount of apathy by some who chose not to vote, but turnout was generally good and 83.9 per cent was attained in 1950.
Fast forward to present times and we note it has slumped to the low-sixties. There is some public appetite but, I believe, a growing cynicism and distrust is increasingly prevalent. The blame is often levelled at the public for not having sufficient interest, suggesting we should learn more about politics and government to understand how important our actions are for the bigger society.
That may well be so, but first they need to recognise that it works both ways. They need to learn, and recognise, that trust has to be earned, although I’m not sure if that is yet to sink in.
We have witnessed, on a daily basis in recent weeks, the arrogance of certain Members of Parliament who say they know what is best for us.
Political leadership is just about non-existent, and at the very least, is void of any semblance of quality. Where are the leaders of yesteryear, who led with hope and justification? Who has a workable plan to lead us out of this crisis?
Even through rose-tinted glasses, I would find it hard to see one amongst today’s Westminster incumbents. One is striving to be the modern-day Churchill, complete with ancient Greek philosophy and doing so with gusto and jocular quips, but desperately seeking friends. Another, often conspicuous by their absence from the chamber, could be the revolutionary that delivers a particular vison for a united nation, but must unite their party first – although, perhaps may be not the ideal candidate, judging by the chaotic mess it is in.
The remaining proponents are the dynamic duo of one jumped-up student activist, joined by political chameleons who change direction to suit their mood, and a ‘simple crofter’ who seems to be always looking for a fight, yet both holding contempt for the UK and advocating for subservience to a foreign power.
Each and every one of them has deployed such a distortion of facts, exaggeration of figures and other means of deception in their quest for power and political majority, that the once-respected mother of all parliaments has been left in such a state of stalemate.
Most, if not all of their current tactics and egos are non-productive, corrosive and simply undermines democracy. Oh, for a code of conduct that might resolve this problem, because currently there is no penalty for political deception.
We know that deception has been around as long as there has been politics and elections, and is designed to promote something that is either partially untrue or exaggerated to encourage willing listeners.
Usually, it is left to the audience to deduce a meaning by deliberately sounding ambiguous.
It is often the main political tool for those with inadequate policies, or who fail to deliver on a manifesto promise, so they appeal to people’s human emotions over a particular subject.
In front of television audiences and 24/7 social media, instead of promoting vision and hope, they project anger, resentment and hatred. Unfortunately, people will pick up on that, and it creates polarisation, not only within political parties, but amongst friends and family as well.
Something needs to be done to nip this in the bud, before it goes too far down the road to anarchy.
If only someone can pull in the reins on this abuse to our intelligence, and ensure the British public are told the truth so we can resume our faith in democracy.