The overwhelming majority of voters are not confident that the government can successfully tackle and reduce crime, according to a new poll which suggests that a crippling lack of trust is damaging Rishi Sunak’s attempts to revive Tory fortunes.
Michael Savage www.theguardian.com
Both main parties have been prioritising pledges to tackle low-level crime and antisocial behaviour ahead of local elections in May. However, the latest Opinium poll for the Observer revealed that only 20% of voters have confidence in the government to successfully tackle and reduce crime, while 71% are not confident. Only 27% have confidence in the courts and justice system to reduce crime and only 31% have confidence in the police to tackle and reduce crime.
The poll found that Labour continues to lead on crime, with 30% trusting a government led by Keir Starmer over a Tory government led by Sunak. However, the pollster found that Labour leads on most issues, so its six-point advantage on crime makes it one of the closer issues. Crime is currently the sixth most important issue, behind health, the economy, energy, immigration and housing.
It comes after the government announced plans to force offenders guilty of crimes such as vandalism to wear jumpsuits or hi-vis jackets and start repairing the damage they caused within two days of receiving their punishment. The “immediate justice” plans were part of an antisocial behaviour strategy.
However, a serious loss of trust appears to have become a significant electoral barrier to a Conservative revival. Among those who backed the Tories at the last election who no longer plan to vote Conservative, 52% say the main reason is that they have lost trust in the party – significantly larger than any other answer. Another 16% say a key reason is that they are running the country poorly.
Similarly, among the smaller group who have directly switched from the Conservatives to Labour, 48% say they have done so because they trust Labour more than the Conservatives.
The polling found that antisocial behaviour came sixth in the list of crimes the public want the UK government to prioritise. Although 55% think the possession of nitrous oxide should be illegal – a move the government has backed – 56% think that a ban will not succeed in reducing antisocial behaviour in public.
“Generally, Labour are ahead on vote share because of the cost of living situation and an absolute cratering of trust in the Conservative party,” said Adam Drummond, associate director at Opinium. “This means that, even though the public’s instincts on tackling crime line up more with what they think the Tories want than what they think Labour would do, the government is struggling to get traction because voters don’t believe they are capable of improving things.
Why stop at crime?
Does anyone trust them on handling the economy, climate action, reducing pollution of our rivers, saving our precious environment, to name but a few.
I do trust them to be efficient on voter suppression initiatives, and on data harvesting and possible postal vote harvesting via their “community surveys”.
It seems to me that whether the Tories are trustworthy depends on your definition of the word.
IF you take it to mean reliable and predictable, then I would assert that today’s Tories are extremely predictable and very reliable in how they behave. We know full well that they will always:
1. Give tax breaks to the already obscenely rich whilst hitting the less well off with higher taxes and lower benefits. In the last 13 years of Tory government, the living standards for the rich have increased beyond belief whilst the rest of us us much, much, much worse off. Remember the Tory motto: FOR THE FEW, NOT THE MANY.
2. Do whatever they can to debilitate and destroy the NHS. They do this because: A) the obscenely rich always go private anyway and don’t need the NHS and B) the NHS is the single biggest expense of government and they cannot cut the taxes of the already obscenely rich if they keep having to fund it (see point 1 above).
3. Stick two fingers up at the environment, particularly where caring for it would impact profits of companies and the dividends to their shareholders (the majority of whom are the same obscenely rich as point 1. above).
4. Lie literally whenever it is beneficial to do so by e.g. explaining why policies that really benefit the obscenely rich (see point 1. above) are “actually” (sic.) to the advantage of ordinary people who will not benefit and will most likely suffer from these policies. Q: How do you know when a Tory is lying? A: Their lips are moving.
OTOH IF you take “trustworthy” to have some ethical basis, perhaps based on the principles of honesty, integrity, democracy, fairness etc. then unfortunately the Tories demonstrate on almost every occasion that they are not trustworthy in the slightest.
And in essence this is the difference between Macavity’s response and Mark’s.
Further to this comment, I am on a email list from Politico and here is a direct quote, two consecutive sentences from today’s email (the capitals are mine to emphasises the dissonance):
* A [formal] report from the Home Office from 2020 about “group-based child sexual exploitation,” launched in the wake of the Rochdale and Rotherham cases, notes: “Research has found that group-based CSE offenders are MOST COMMONLY WHITE.” https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/944206/Group-based_CSE_Paper.pdf
* In a piece for Mail Online over the weekend, Braverman wrote that “the perpetrators are groups of men, ALMOST ALL BRITISH-PAKISTANI, who hold cultural attitudes completely incompatible with British values.”
As I said previously, Suella Braverman’s lips were moving, and I trusted that when they did she would be lying – and lo, it was so!!!
P.S. And, of course, also racist – but again I have come to trust that the Home Office is institutionally racist, most obviously under the last three Home Secretaries, but presumably so to a less obvious extent under earlier ones.