According to a recent survey on political trust, Britain is pessimistic, mistrustful of the government, and contemptuous of politicians.
According to the annual Trust Barometer conducted by communication company Edelman, a record number of respondents—34—believe the UK is moving in the wrong direction.
For the first time in eight years, the majority of respondents predicted that their standard of living would decline over the upcoming year, while less than a quarter predicted an improvement over the following five years.
Two-thirds of respondents to the survey of 3,000 UK adults conducted at the end of January believed that inequality was rising, and one in five respondents said they had used or were contemplating utilizing a food bank in their community.
Skipping credit card or loan payments was mentioned by 14% of respondents, while skipping rent or mortgage payments was mentioned by 12% of respondents.
All age categories, economic levels, and geographic locations expressed a general lack of optimism about the condition of the UK, with only Conservative Party members more likely than other voters to believe that the nation was moving in the right direction, by a margin of just 52% to 48%.
However, only 23% of people said they felt connected to the Conservatives, a four-point decline since 2022, while 29% of people said the same about Labour, a six-point increase.
The Trust Barometer also discovered widespread “disdain” for politicians, with only 27% of people expressing confidence in the government, which is the lowest level since 2016.
A “dark” perception of politicians in general underlies this statistic, with 68% of respondents believing they are more likely to lie, 77% saying they are making things worse, and 80% saying they are dividing the nation.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt earned 18%, while Rishi Sunak received a score reduction of 10 points to 25%, indicating a low level of trust in particular politicians. Despite having higher trust ratings than other MPs, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer only received 31%.
Regional authorities performed better. Just a few weeks before she announced her retirement as Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon received the highest rating, with 39% of respondents saying they trusted her.
Welsh Prime Minister Mark Drakeford received 36%, while Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, leader of the DUP, received only 17%.
There was a strong and popular desire for a new kind of political party. The UK “needs a completely new sort of political party to fight with the Conservatives and Labour for power,” according to almost 61% of respondents, with similar percentages of respondents in each age group, income level, and area.
In addition, 54% of respondents said they would want to stay in the EU if another referendum were conducted, while only 32% said they would choose to leave.
Only people born between 1946 and 1964 were more likely to support Brexit than Stay, 47% to 44%.
“This year’s report shows a public yearning for change and fresh ideas to restore trust, drive optimism, and make a positive difference in people’s lives,” said Ed Williams, president and CEO of Edelman.
“Yet, the data suggests that British politics is bracing itself for a seismic shock if political leaders lose this chance and pass up the chance to define an inspiring and motivating vision, choosing instead to back away from involving the public in necessary trade-offs and decisions.
We shouldn’t be shocked if people turn to other sources of information for solutions if there is a large demand for reframes and fresh thinking that our current political apparatus is unable to meet, with all the negative repercussions that follow.