Public attitude towards politics worsening, says Hansard survey

 
House of Commons Hansard said the public's view of the coalition government was "worrying"

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The public are "disgruntled, disillusioned and disengaged" with politics, according to an annual survey by the Hansard Society.

Interviews with 1,163 people found that only 42% were interested in politics - down from 58% last year and the lowest since the survey began nine years ago.

Only 24% believe the current system of coalition government is working.

The number of people volunteering has fallen from 29% in 2010 to 21%, despite David Cameron's Big Society project.

The political engagement audit is carried out annually by Hansard.

'Momentous year'

The society said "the public's growing sense of indifference to politics" had "hardened into something more serious".

The survey found that:

  • 42% of people said they were interested in politics - down 16% on 2010 and the lowest figure since the audit was first carried out
  • 48% of people said they would definitely vote if a general election was called tomorrow - down 10% from last year and again, the lowest figure in the audit's history
  • 30% said they were unlikely or absolutely certain not to vote - up 10% from 2010
  • 24% of people believe the current system of coalition government is working "reasonably well" - a fall of 7%
  • 56% agree their involvement in politics locally could bring about change, but only 38% actually want to be involved

The audit also uncovered variations in attitudes according to political party allegiance.

While just 29% of Liberal Democrat supporters thought the coalition was working well - down 4% from last year - 56% of Conservatives were happy with it, a rise of 10%.

Dr Ruth Fox, director of the Hansard Society's parliament and government programme, said: "2011 was one of the most turbulent and momentous years in recent history, but it appears that the economic crisis, the summer riots and phone hacking did not lead to any greater interest in or knowledge of politics.

"The public seem to be disgruntled, disillusioned and disengaged. Thus far, coalition politics does not appear to have been good for public engagement.

"Worryingly, only a quarter of the population are satisfied with our system of governing, which must raise questions about the long-term capacity of that system to command public support and confidence in the future."

 

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 406.

    355 Free Willy. The chicken should last you longer than that. As pensioners we make one last longer. We cut of fillets, leg/wings & freeze them, then roast rest of chicken, which does 2 meals each, take of remainer of cold meat, freeze ready to make a lasagne [2 meals each] Fillets when used do 2 meals each, legs 2 meals each wings 1. The chops depending on size also 2meals each. Thats economy

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 405.

    Democracy is a wonderful system, but it's not the answer to everything. What's more important is that we have a strong government which is prepared to take difficult and sometimes unpopular decisions in the national interest when they believe it is right to do so. So long as they can command the confidence of the public at an election once every 5 years, I have no problems with the current system.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 404.

    Most average Britons feel disengaged with politics, because every year it feels like picking the best of a bad bunch. There are very few inspiring politicians in the UK, and given the disproportionate number of privately educated and wealthy-background MP's, it's little wonder noone can associate to them.
    As Billy Connolly said "The desire to be a politician should bar you from ever being one".

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 403.

    People are sick of lying, cheating, pompous, self-serving, millionaire politicians. Every single word that comes out of their mouths appears to be spin trying to further their own careers or finances. We are powerless.

    We need a system where we elect normal, honest, genuine people who lay out exactly what they hope to achieve and how and are held accountable if they deviate from this.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 402.

    Today's politics is based on soundbites and what will please specific groups of voters at election time. The identikit politicians won't make long-term plans for the country - if it involves pain in the first 5yrs they are voted out. This is no way to run a country and results in a disenfranchised people, with no clear strategy or direction for the country over a longer term.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 401.

    The problem is many-fold. We want politicians with conviction yet we fail to accept that people make mistakes - only "safe" politicians survive the scrutiny.

    We want sensible debate in parliament, yet support a FPTP system which advocates black/white politics. The coalition dilutes the power of the PM to just have his way which promotes compromise yet people are still unhappy with this.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 400.

    I always use my vote, but I feel ignored and sidelined by a coalition government that appears to be blundering around in the dark.

    The endless gaffs, ill thought out plans (later watered down or kicked into the long grass) and "jobsworth" mentality display all the signs of a government not even having the common sense to understand "impact and consequences".

    PROVE YOU LISTEN or you'll be out.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 399.

    You are only dissatisfied with your own prejudices. Your prejudices keep you voting for the same parties that keep not listening to you. (EU membership, immigration, welfare state, political correctness and wars). When I suggest voting for different parties like UKIP or BNP, again your prejudices kick in and stop you from considering them. You have only yourself to blame.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 398.

    Politics is about people cheating, lying, backstabbing and trousering what they can for themselves and their friends. Nationally, locally and within large corporations - just the same. Long gone are the true idealists, visionaries, leaders that inspire and do so with the people as their only priority. Lawyers and accountants mainly - enough said!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 397.

    While the majority of people are struggling to keep themselves afloat in the face of ever rising bills, taxes and falling wages, the rich are pampered by their puppets in government who themselves are busy lining their pockets. Politics? Don't make me laugh - There are no politics in the UK unless you have the £ to have "influence".

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 396.

    Any party that grows within the existing establishment will be corrupted by it. "Revolution" will introduce a governance based on hopes but depending on who leads it and their morality could be something quite different.
    I think the change has to come from within the existing system, a party established for 1 term & 1 term only to do all the changes to the system the existing parties decline too.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 395.

    I think that whichever government was in, people would be disollusioned. Why? because we need to introduce cuts and save money... Mr Milliband (can't remember which brother is leader) keeps saying he would care for people etc etc but in reality he would be doing the same as the coalition. I'm sure labour will say they could have avoided the 'double dip' - words are cheap as they say.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 394.

    I get hacked off that immigrants from a large number of countries get IMMEDIATE voting rights in council elections (its all there on the back of the voter registration form so dont accuse me of being racist) even though by definition they have never contributed and never paid taxes, yet many get immediate benefits entitlement, education, health etc. No representation without taxation!

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 393.

    The problem is people can't apparently see the difference between for example a million union members voluntarily donating £3 each to the Labour Party and One Non Dom tax dodger handing over £3 million to Cameron at a cosy little Downing Street Supper.

    Or indeed the difference between raising taxes on Pasties or pensions while not raising them on Caviar and cutting them for millionaires.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 392.

    "The public seem to be disgruntled, disillusioned and disengaged"
    Wrong. Politicians are disengaged from ordinary people. They live in a bubble isolated from the community they are supposed to serve. This is not a party thing, they all do it (with a few very rare exceptions). No wonder the public is hacked off with them.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 391.

    If I were English, I'd feel disengaged.

    There appears to be no voice for the English, you appear to have to put up with whatever british politicans say, at same time they are not accountable to you.

    Scotland has an accountable alternative to the old party system a left of centre Government who actually stick up for Scotland and don't bend over for westminster or discredited honours.

    C McK

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 390.

    having witnessed over 40 years of politics with the various booms and busts and scandals I have come to the conclusion that all politicians are either corrupt or inept or a combination of both and that its grab as much as you can while you can because given the opportunity they will.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 389.

    Welcome to Little America...without the bill of rights.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 388.

    It's quite simple really. I don't know why they don't get it. Anyone with a brain knows they're all, irrespective of party, a bunch of self serving egotists who only care about their own power and not one jot about the people they're supposed to serve. They say what they think you want to hear to get elected and then renege on all their promises as soon as they are. I vote for NONE of the above.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 387.

    Politicians do not trust their constituents to have a REFERENDUM on anything, EU, Second House, Monarchy. One HUNDRED years has passed and they still refuse their CONSTITUENTS a REFERENDUM on anything. What are POLITICIANS for ????

 

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