Have people lost their faith in politicians - whatever their views on Brexit?
On so many levels, the ongoing battle over Brexit is contributing to a divided nation. It’s an issue which continues to split friends and families.
But there is, I believe, something which actually unites Remainers, Leavers and those who really don’t care what happens - and that’s a loss of faith in politicians.
The parliamentary expenses scandal of a decade ago, where revelations resulted in sackings, de-selections, resignations, apologies and prison badly damaged the reputation of MPs.
And the Brexit fighting, manoeuvring, politicking, inaction and waffling has done them no favours.
While I was reporting on the People’s Vote campaign in Norwich at the weekend I got chatting to a chap on Hay Hill who wanted to know what the campaign group wanted.
After I’d explained, he asked me why they were bothering, as, to paraphrase him, the Westminster politicians will just do what they want to do for themselves. “They don’t represent me,” he told me.
And he’s far from alone in that feeling of them and us, of politicians who are out of touch, existing in a London bubble, who we trusted to sort things out, but who seem to be making an almighty pig’s ear of it.
It will be interesting to see what effect that belief will have when it comes to the council elections this year. There are no county council elections and, as things currently stand, no general election on that day – May 2. But the positions of hundreds of city, district and borough councillors are on the line. And there’s a very real danger of a rock-bottom turnout at those elections if people’s disillusionment with the national situation carries over. And that would be a shame. As someone who reports on what our councils get up to, I can’t stress enough how important some of the decisions which they make are.
You might not like what the parties they represent have been up to nationally, but the fact is these are people will make decisions which will affect you.
They will make decisions over where hundreds of new homes are built and decide what your council tax money should be used for (and whether it should go up).
So, be cross with the goings-on nationally, by all means. But don’t let that be a reason not to vote locally on May 2. You may regret it.
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