The Scotsman says: Has our politics ever been less trusted?

Is this, as some have suggested, the most dishonest election campaign in British political history?

Monday, 9th December 2019, 7:08 am
Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks with political journalist Andrew Marr. Photo: JEFF OVERS/ AFP

That is a pretty big claim for a kingdom which has seen at least its fair share of smear and scandal over the centuries.

Few though would argue that 2019 has not marked a new nadir in modern times with trust between public and politicians at a desperate low point.

Earlier this year, a study by the respected Hansard Society found trust in our political systems had fallen below levels seen in the aftermath of the MPs’ expenses scandal of 2009 and at their lowest point since it started its regular studies 15 years ago. Since then, things can only have grown worse.

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The dramatic rise of ‘fact check’ teams, working to test the truth of politicians’ claims on the campaign trail, is just one sign of how badly trust has been eroded.

Several leading figures have been caught telling whoppers in recent weeks. Some have been the mundane – do we really believe that republican Jeremy Corbyn sits down to watch the Queen’s Speech at Christmas? – and others more obviously serious and far-reaching – Boris Johnson and some of his fellow Ministers cannot all be telling the truth about the need for Irish Border checks in a post-Brexit world.

Politicians have always had what can be euphemistically described as a loose relationship with the truth, to a greater or lesser degree. Voters understand and accept that, to a point, evasion and a selective presentation of the facts are part of the political process.

But the carelessness with which promises and claims of fact are being made – neither the Johnson or Corbyn tax and spending plans stand up to much scrutiny – only feed the growing cynicism with which our politics is regarded by the majority of the general public.

It is often said, particularly of the United States of America, that the public get the politicians they deserve.

There is some truth in that.

There are many considerations to weigh when casting your vote on Thursday.

One important one, we would humbly suggest, is assessing the track record and general trustworthyness of any candidate before lending them your support.

It is the surest way to bring some more honesty back into our politics.