16th November 2021 — True Publica
It makes no difference what side of the political debate you wave your flag for, trust in the Boris Johnson government has now almost completely collapsed. Whatever you believe, one fact stares us in the face – Britain’s politics is as divisive and toxic as ever and trust in politicians and our political system remains at all-time lows.
The British Social Attitudes survey was recently published and they tried to put a good spin on its findings. They said – “Levels of trust and confidence have risen back to pre-Brexit levels.” What they didn’t say was that pre-Brexit levels of trust were only just above their worst ever recorded levels of confidence. No less than 77 per cent of the voting public think that the government don’t put the national interest first. Nearly half say they don’t trust a word that comes out of a politicians mouth.
Trust has collapsed not just in politicians but in corporate leaders and religious leaders. And it would be true to say, most people now feel very wary about almost everything they come across other than those close to them.
‘Empty the sewer’ should be a three-word slogan to clean up the three things in life that would make our world so much better. That is of course if the sewer isn’t being emptied into our rivers and coastlines first in yet another national disgrace.
First, we need the democratic institutions of the UK, its nations and regions and other constituent parts to work in ways that lead to citizens having high levels of trust in them. That means having public authorities in the UK elected by proportional representation and specifically by the Single Transferable Vote in multi-member constituencies. If you want to read all about how this works, please visit the Electoral Reform Society.
Second, we need the internet cleaned up. Companies like Facebook are destabilising the fabric of society, scammers are using its cloak to rob millions of us – and of course, political charlatans act with all of their sponsors of dark money that serves only to steal hard fought-for rights and protections.
Third, we need to stamp out corruption. It’s not just the dramatic rise of corruption and overall sleaze within this government and their handing out tens of billions of contracts to their friends and donors that we’ve heard so much of, it’s the colossal scale of bank managed money-laundering, transnational corporate tax-dodging and handing out citizenship to some of the world’s biggest criminals to name just a handful of state-sponsored crimes.
Global Britain Embarrassed
Embarrassingly for Great Britain, Boris Johnson felt he needed to reassure the world that the UK was not a corrupt country. Yet, he was defending the indefensible. Britain is practically submerged in corruption and yet, looking at those that attempt to measure it you’d think Britain was one of the last bastions of global morality. Transparency International ranks Britain No11 for its global position against corruption – and yet Britain and its territories are the No1 money laundering centres of the world.
It’s no surprise that the City of London is (the only area in Britain) protected from having to respond to Freedom of Information requests, it cleans illicit funding for terrorism, human trafficking and a whole trail of murders, kidnappings, drug trafficking theft and tax dodging to sustain it. And it’s not like we don’t know part of what is going on. Even the National Crime Agency estimates that money laundering costs the UK £100bn a year. And once done, the UK rolls out the red carpet through its golden visa scheme to welcome the very people at the heart of these horrific global crimes. These same people are really national security threats.
Then there are all the other known instances of corruption that goes on every day in the UK. In more recent years, it’s our political system (or more accurately abuse of) that’s the focus of public attention. We’ve all read about the Greensill scandal, constant breaches of the ministerial code, acts of cronyism, lying, bullying and intimidation – the common denominator, is, of course, this government.
In the end, the moral compass of any country is determined by its governance and principles of democracy – both of which have been relentlessly attacked by Boris Johnson and his acolytes and cronies.
On this matter, Politico reports that – “Professor Mark Knights, an expert on the history of corruption, reckons there are similarities between the “old corruption” of the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries when government jobs were bought and sold, and what he terms the “new corruption” of the Johnson regime.”
Serious political commentators have now had enough. Politico, The Times, the FT, the BBC, Sky and others are now homing in on this government because Johnson is tarnishing the reputation of the country itself.
Deception by the dishonest
The lies are now coming home as truths, especially those perpetrated by Boris Johnson himself. Multiple news outlets reported just two weeks ago that Brexit is now costing British business well over £1 billion a week. And it gets worse. The National Audit Office report also warned that the government will likely face action for not “complying with international trading rules” (reducing Britain’s global reputation yet further) – but that when controls are finally introduced, they will bring “significant risks” to traders.
Brexit itself was a corruption of democracy because it was presented to the British public on a platter of promises built on nothing more than deception and dishonesty. In the last week alone, a trade war between the UK and the EU is being mooted as a reality for the near future. Northern Ireland is in the limelight as highjackings of buses and violence ramp up over the NI protocol. And throughout all of this, contrary to what ministers have said – new trade deals have not been agreed as promised.
That other policy, not yet even defined by this government is that ‘levelling-up’ is actually worth a lot less than promoted. HS2 tells you all you need to know on that score. This week, we now expect confirmation of a watering-down of plans for both HS2 and a new Leeds to Manchester rail line. As a result, Johnson is facing anger from northern MPs, mayors and a coordinated local newspaper campaign. Anger is what happens when you lie to people and they find out the lie was deliberate.
New polls show that voters now want to reverse Brexit amid shortages and disagreements with our European neighbours. The Times reports that – “Two-thirds of voters now see the Tories as “very sleazy” as Boris Johnson’s ratings fall behind Sir Keir Starmer’s for the first time”.
For the first time, there is real disillusionment with Boris Johnson and this government. And for all of the excuses, at its heart is much more simple. The British sense of fair play has been thrown out of the window, that injustice now rules and that playing by the rules is now a disadvantage. Many people at the top are abusing their position and profiting from everyone else’s efforts (and taxes) – and that’s not acceptable. The lies are now being exposed for what they are and there’s a lot of them yet to show themselves for what they are.