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‘Brexit’ and the Collapse of Public Trust

Sebastian Payne comments [1] on the lack of trust in institutions and leaders [2] fueling the movement towards “Brexit”:

Some of the divides are stark. Economists have a net trust rating of 41 among Remain voters, whereas Leave voters have them on -36. People from the Bank of England have a 34 rating among Remainers, versus -45 among Leavers. But significantly, Remain voters appear to be sceptical too. Politicians from Britain have a -45 trust rating among pro-EU supporters, compared with -73 among Brexiters.

The headline numbers from the YouGov [3] survey are also quite striking. When asked about statements from Cameron, 70% overall said they don’t trust what he says while only 19% do. Most Remain voters (58%) don’t trust the statements of the leading advocate for the Remain campaign, and of course among Leave voters that figure almost thirty points higher. Cameron hasn’t helped himself in this regard by making absurd and risible claims about what “Brexit” would mean for the world, but he probably couldn’t have been trusted very much before the campaign began to have numbers as terrible as this.

Other politicians and ex-politicians suffer from a similar problem, albeit not as great as Cameron’s. As many people in the U.K. distrust Gordon Brown’s statements as trust them, and this divide holds true among the Labour voters that he has been desperately trying to win over in recent days. The people that the Remain campaign has to win over don’t believe what their spokesmen say, and even some of their own supporters don’t believe them. The pro-Leave politicians don’t fare much better (63% don’t trust what Farage says and 58% don’t trust Johnson), but they have the advantage that they are arguing for the side that represents the rejection of what most of the political class wants. When all politicians are distrusted more or less equally, the side that tells you to distrust and/or ignore elite opinion will tend to win more support.

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10 Comments To "‘Brexit’ and the Collapse of Public Trust"

#1 Comment By less trustful than thou On June 16, 2016 @ 2:29 pm

“When all politicians are distrusted more or less equally, the side that tells you to distrust and/or ignore elite opinion will tend to win more support.”

Something to keep in mind with respect to our own general election. HRC is the living, breathing embodiment of elite opinion.

#2 Comment By Myles On June 16, 2016 @ 2:38 pm

I’m afraid this is another example of how Cameron is a clever tactician but a lousy strategist. He thought promising a referendum would disarm his internal critics and unite the party behind him. Several years later, his promise comes back to bite him on the rear. Dave’s bright ideas have a tendency to turn out like this.

#3 Comment By Paul On June 16, 2016 @ 3:11 pm

Cameron thought the referendum promise would remove the danger from UKIP. He had not the slightest intention of holding one but his scare tactics won him the 2015 election and he was caught. He has staked his whole political career and that of half his Westminster party on this. No doubt he’s calculated a scare campaign could save him again but the remain claims are so ridiculous that no one believes them. For the fourth time in a row opinion polls now put Leave ahead by over 6 points.

The fall out after the referendum will be enormous, blue on blue attacks are growing increasingly bitter and purple
(UKIP) waits in the wings., the only party that is united for Leave.

#4 Comment By Grumpy Old Man On June 16, 2016 @ 4:46 pm

The British don’t seem to have much reverence for [4], but they keep floating to the top. Where are the Aneurin Bevans these days?

#5 Comment By Kurt Gayle On June 16, 2016 @ 5:17 pm

Daniel, your thoughts on Brexit have consistently been among the most perceptive this side of the Atlantic. I hope that some of your posts demonstrate how silly certain American politicians are when the try to claim that the UK’s leaving the EU would affect us in any substantial, negative way. (Graham needs medical attention!)

Re today’s news: On a human level I hate assassinations. I especially hate assassinations that occur at critical moments and that introduce wild cards into important decision-making processes. I hope-to-God that the Jo Cox murder doesn’t send the British chattering classes on such a bout of babbling that it will somehow affect the result of the vote.

The suspected perp seems to have a history of mental issues, but you and I know how crafty politicans will try to spin tragedy (witness Orlando) for their own agendas.

[5]

#6 Comment By Neal On June 16, 2016 @ 8:22 pm

This rejection of globalization and the elite ruling class in the west is getting infectious.

#7 Comment By Kurt Gayle On June 17, 2016 @ 7:22 am

Does anyone have a link to the text of this ridiculous State-Department-hawks-want-to-bomb-Assad cable?

[6]

#8 Comment By Colonel Blimp On June 17, 2016 @ 8:22 am

Kurt – there may be chaos if we vote to leave. I don’t care. Anything, anything, anything is preferable to life under the yoke of people like Gaby Hinsliff, one of the self-appointed tribunes of humanity, possessed of infallible wisdom about how we should all live.

[7]

“It is right to be suspicious of being governed by people who have led overly comfortable lives, of course; but fearful individuals can make lousy choices too, and what’s worrying is that in a world where to override even the most self-destructive individual impulse means being branded out of touch, politicians feel increasingly inhibited about stepping in and saving us from ourselves.”

It requires a level of delusion that verges on the epic to write that last sentence. Such people cannot be reasoned with, and I don’t want to do so. They must fought with unrelenting vigour, because believe you me that is how they think too. The arbiters of good thought are not like Mormons; they don’t walk away if you close the door on them. They are going to kick your door down and make you ‘nice’

#9 Comment By Kurt Gayle On June 18, 2016 @ 9:52 am

The kind of Mainstream Media spin that has been fine-tuned against the Trump campaign in the US is now being directed against the Leave campaign in the final days before the referendum.

Steve Erlanger writes in the New York Times:

“While it is still too early to say how the attack will change the dynamics of the campaign, it has unquestionably shifted the focus from the growing momentum of those in favor of leaving to the anti-immigrant tactics they have employed as the vote has drawn closer…

“In a widely distributed piece written for the magazine The Spectator, which favors leaving the European Union, Alex Massie drew a connection between the “Leave” campaign, which has featured outlandish assertions, xenophobia and Islamophobia, to the death of Ms. Cox.

“’Sometimes rhetoric has consequences,’ Mr. Massie wrote. If you spend days, weeks, months, years telling people they are under threat, that their country has been stolen from them, that they have been betrayed and sold down the river, that their birthright has been pilfered, that their problem is they’re too slow to realize any of this is happening, that their problem is they’re not sufficiently mad as hell, then at some point, in some place, something or someone is going to snap. And then something terrible is going to happen’.”

[8]

Trump supporters have seen this kind of Mainstream Media spin for months and months. Hopefully this kind of spin will have as little impact in the UK as it has had in the US.

#10 Comment By entre nous On June 18, 2016 @ 9:01 pm

““’Sometimes rhetoric has consequences,’ Mr. Massie wrote. If you spend days, weeks, months, years telling people they are under threat, that their country has been stolen from them, that they have been betrayed and sold down the river, that their birthright has been pilfered, that their problem is they’re too slow to realize any of this is happening, that their problem is they’re not sufficiently mad as hell, then at some point, in some place, something or someone is going to snap. And then something terrible is going to happen’.””

Yes, very likely it will.

It would have been far better if people weren’t under threat, if their country was not being stolen from them, if they were not being betrayed and sold down the river, if their birthright had not been pilfered, and if they had been quicker to realize it was happening and sufficiently mad to say they were mad as hell and not taking it anymore.

But it’s a bit late for that sort of reflection now, sadly. The elites lacked any sense of proportion, and consequences of all kinds are taking shape.