Public attitudes emerge that ‘challenge core tenets of our democracy’, says report
'The UK public is increasingly disenchanted with MPs and government and ever more willing to welcome the idea of authoritarian leaders who would ignore parliament, a long-running survey of attitudes to politics has shown.
Amid the Brexit chaos, overall public faith in the political system has reached a nadir not previously seen in the 16-year history of the Hansard Society’s audit of political engagement, lower even than at the depths of the crisis over MPs’ expenses.
Almost three-quarters of those asked said the system of governance needed significant improvement, and other attitudes emerged that “challenge core tenets of our democracy”, the audit’s authors stated.
The study, compiled annually by the democracy charity, found that when people were asked whether “Britain needs a strong ruler willing to break the rules”, 54% agreed and only 23% said no.
In all, 42% of respondents agreed with the idea that many national problems could be dealt with more effectively “if the government didn’t have to worry so much about votes in parliament”.
Ruth Fox, the director of the Hansard Society, said scepticism about politics, a feeling that the system was rigged and a willingness to consider radical solutions was a potentially dangerous combination.
She said: “Preferring a strong leader who is willing to break the rules, or thinking that the government should be able to tackle the country’s problems without worrying about the approval of parliament, would challenge core tenets of our democracy.
“The public feel strongly that the system of governing favours the rich and powerful and that political parties don’t care about the average person. And people are not confident that politicians act in the public interest. Unless something changes, this is a potentially toxic recipe for the future of British politics.”'
Read more: UK poised to embrace authoritarianism, warns Hansard Society