Nearly Three Quarters Believe Society Undermined By Government Corruption
By TruePublica: Public trust in the all important institutions of Britain is deteriorating. But first let’s look at a recent Pew Research Study that finds the overall level of trust in the American government remains near historic lows. Just 20% say they trust the government to do what’s right always or most of the time. In 2001 about 53% of American’s were ‘basically content’ with government – this has steadily decreased and at one point nearly hit single digits in 2013 under President Obama.
The problem is that the same approach in terms of political ethics and morality that does so much damage to civil society in America is now infecting every aspect of British life, one way or another. No surprise then that in Britain, public trust in government also fell to similar dire levels, as three quarters of the public mistrust our government officials. And it’s not hard to see why trust on the key pillars of society – politicians, business leaders, NGOs and the media has crashed to all time lows.
There are plenty of example’s of why this has happened.
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Over 90 per cent of NHS hospital trusts in England are not staffed to safe levels, new analysis by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has found.
And yet: Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, the most disliked politician in Britain is building a £44,000 private bathroom in his office while calling for £22bn NHS cuts and being mistrusted by 83% at the same time.
The Dept for Work and Pensions is another cause for social angst. Government has attempted to ‘reform’ the welfare state and ended up giving £1.6 billion more to private contractors to carry out controversial work assessments for the disabled. This is money taken away from public health at taxpayer expense and put directly into the hands of American for profit corporations. The result of this privatisation scheme? About 90 people die within a month of a work capability assessment, where they are judged fit to work. In addition it is calculated that 590 suicides have happened as a direct result of the same assessments. The United Nations waded in with a report that stated these assessments had caused significant “anxiety” and “financial, material and psychological hardship.”
The cost of carrying out each employment and support allowance (ESA) test had risen from £115 to £190 – a 65% increase on the previous company who was sacked for their incompetent handling of such a complex process. And yet, none of the companies carrying out the tests even met the Government’s own quality assessment threshold.
In addition, the American firm Maximus that got the contract – worth £500million over three years, got it despite a history of allegations of corruption along with fines for fraud and incompetence in America.
Then there is the massive cost cutting, privatisation and subsequent brewing scandal involved with Britain’s fire emergency services. With the FBU already warning that cuts are leading to avoidable deaths, investigator David Wibberley has compiled a dossier of evidence of attempted privatisation, cuts and disastrous expensive experiments in moving certain rescue duties to the private sector.
Dave Green of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) warned that with 10,000 less firefighters in England under Theresa May’s watch as Home Secretary, “its ability to respond is becoming compromised.”
In just one area, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Authority (CFRA), is using private contractor Serco to provide cover for its chronic shortages of firefighters. CFRA freely admits that up to 18 fire engines can be unavailable at any one time because of staff shortages and is prepared to turn to the private sector to cover this shortfall.
In the meantime, the attempted replacement of the 46 fire and rescue services’ control rooms across England with nine “purpose-built” regional control centres, linked by a new IT system, was a total failure. The Department for Communities and Local Government cut its losses by terminating the contract, seven years after it had begun, but only after £469m had been wasted.
The list of wasted time, money and resources goes on and on, all to the detriment of front line services and lives.
The Edelman annual trust barometer reveals confidence in CEOs and government officials has declined sharply to its lowest level since 2008 – and things don’t get any worse than a financial crash comparable to that of the Great depression. Both were due to a lack of government control of the banking sector and of course, corruption.
Oversize CEO pay, government corruption and not paying taxes (or allowing corporations to not pay tax) are the primary drivers of mistrust. As for the financial instiutions – $7 trillion has now been spent shoring them up (still increasing) worldwide. This has now been calculated to be the cost equivalent to a world war, which, in a way it has been – a war against civil society.
The truth is that a staggering lack of confidence in leadership is now the new norm with 71% of the general public believing that government officials are not at all credible, and 63% said the same about CEO’s.
As for institutions like the European Commission and European Parliament, just over 70% of people believe that corruption is endemic to society in general. This is a direct result of politicians and private contractors or corporations and the deals they do, more often than not against the public good.
Perhaps in the backdrop of this environment it is not surprising then that the media, and for clarity, we mean mainstream establishment media, is now distrusted by 82 percent of the public in 28 countries surveyed.
With three quarters of the public now mistrustful of the institutions that hold up society in the first place it is little wonder that ‘populists’, societal division and anger are brimming to the surface. This is a dire state of affairs driven by political corruption at the heart of government that will end badly if it does not act quickly and effectively. Which, of course, it won’t. It’s too corrupt. What next?
Russian-American philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand (1905-1982) once said “We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force.”
The consequence is that extremists and populists turn up. Donald Trump said with an irony worthy of good comedy during the presidential election campaign – “One of the key problems today is that politics is such a disgrace, good people don’t go into government.”
The list of modern political corruption and wrong-doing in Britain is long; from cash for influence to cash for access, parliamentary expenses to personal scandals – they keep coming and keep diminishing public confidence. The age of 1980’s sleaze and hypocrisy is back with a vengeance.