The 2014 Hansard Society annual Audit of Political Engagement 11, published April 30, shows the level of public concern with the culture and conduct of politics and politicians. This year’s audit looks at public concerns over the conduct of MPs, public attitudes to and perceptions of the culture and processes of Westminster, and concerns over how relatable or distant politicians feel to them.
- 67% say ‘politicians ‘don’t understand the daily lives of people like me’
- 45% agree that ‘most politicians go into politics because they want to make a positive difference in their community’
- 74% believe ‘politicians should be prepared to make personal sacrifices if they want to play a role in running the country’
- Just 21% agree that ‘politicians are behaving in a more professional way than they were a few years ago’
- 86% agree that politicians ‘should be expected to act according to a set of guidelines about their behaviour’
- 77% agree that politicians ‘should have to undertake regular ethics and standards training’
- However, 62% agree that ‘politicians in the past were no better than today; they just didn’t face the same media scrutiny’
It looks at how the public feel about their potential to have an influence locally or more widely. It finds that few people feel their getting involved in politics could make a difference, and that parliament does little to encourage more active public involvement.
- Just 31% think that if people like themselves get involved in politics ‘they really can change the way that the UK is run’
- Just 23% agree that Parliament ‘encourages public involvement in politics’
- While 43% want to be involved in local decision-making, only 26% feel they have at least some influence locally
- While 38% want to be involved in national decision-making, only 14% feel they have at least some influence nationally
It also looks at public attitudes to and understanding of European elections, and finds that most people feel they know less about European elections and the European Parliament than national equivalents.
- 77% agree that ‘I know less about the issues in a European Parliament election than a general election’
- 71% agree that they ‘understand more about how general elections work than elections to the European Parliament’
- 61% believe their general election vote is simply ‘more important’ than their European one
You can read Audit 11 here.