Gina Miller: Three years of lies, sleaze and chaos has eroded what little trust was left in British politics
Every prime minister wants to leave a legacy. The ego and ambition that drove them to No 10 also means that have the desire to make their mark on the world. Unfortunately, Boris Johnson’s legacy is a terrible one, his mark on history a scar.
Three years of lies, sleaze and chaos – together with the flagrant abuse of our “good chap” conventions of governance – have resulted in the erosion of what little trust was left in British politics. None a surprise when you look at his public and private track record. Those around Johnson have made the situation even worse, protecting a man they always knew was manifestly unfit to lead our country, and hold the Office of Prime Minister. They didn’t force him out until the damage was done. Now, these supposedly professional politicians have allowed Johnson a ridiculously long goodbye rather than agree a caretaker prime minister, which shows little concern for the further harm Johnson might yet cause.
Last week, we commissioned polling by Find Out Now that demonstrates the shocking disillusionment voters have in our so-called political elite. Nearly two-thirds of people said that they do not feel represented by one of the mainstream political parties and fewer than one in six felt any such connection. Roughly a fifth said they didn’t know, which is arguably pretty much the same as feeling unrepresented.
Politics is no longer about right and left, but right and wrong
We suspected that this sense of political abandonment might be particularly strong among the young and, indeed, 64 per cent of 18–24-year-olds felt that way. Yet the percentage kept growing up the age bands until it reached 69 per cent of 35–44-year-olds, falling back only marginally to 67 per cent of those aged 45-54. The malady of British politics is felt strongly across the demographic spectrum. They see people very unlike them ruling the country – them and us.
While there is little doubt that those in power have led this race to the bottom, the traditional opposition parties have failed to effectively hold them to account or repair the damage. Only around a fifth of people who voted Labour and Liberal Democrats at the 2019 general election feel represented by the knights – Sir Keir Starmer and Sir Ed Davey – who now lead those parties.
What should worry those leaders and the Tory leader who succeeds Johnson is that the way back will not involve the paradigms that have dominated for so long. Politics is no longer about right and left, but right and wrong.
That is where the True & Fair Party comes in – we are fighting for the restoration of public trust. Our policies include putting the Ministerial Code, Nolan Principles and prerogative powers on a statutory footing, overhauling our outdated electoral system, and an oath of office applicable to all MPs and public servants.
There have been hints of this restructuring of the country’s politics for some time. Martin Bell – “the man in the white suit” - took Tatton in 1997 as an independent, heavily defeating Tory incumbent Neil Hamilton on an anti-sleaze ticket.
Dr Richard Taylor was elected twice in Kidderminster, running on the principled single issue of restoring A&E services at the local hospital. Even though Caroline Lucas represents a far bigger party with the Greens, her four successive victories in Brighton Pavilion shows there is appetite for a different breed of principled politician.
These results have been promising, but, finally, the possibility of breakthroughs across the country are now possible as voter sentiment overtakes the existence of safe seats. Our poll shows 33 per cent are undecided on who they will vote for at the next election, while a further 13 per cent do not currently intend to go to the ballot box. In other words, nearly half of votes are still up for grabs at the next general election.
Having toured the country for the past two months, I know most voters want to see local, independently minded, honest candidates who very much understand the difference between right and wrong.
When we open our candidate application process shortly, these will be the type of aspirational politicians we will look for to represent the True & Fair Party. We want our legacy to be the undoing of some of the dreadful damage Johnson has caused.
Gina Miller is the leader of the True & Fair Party.
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