Politicians at bottom of UK 'trust list'; nurses on top

06 December 2016

It is not only Indians who hold their politicians in deep distrust. Researchers in the UK have found that trust in politicians is "approaching rock bottom" with only 19 per cent of the public thinking they were largely telling the truth during the EU referendum campaign.

Nurses, on the other hand, were found to be the most trustworthy professionals, in their first appearance in the annual Ipsos Mori "veracity" survey.

Politicians are hardly new to being at the bottom of the list but they have sunk even lower in the public's estimation in the year that brought the Brexit vote, the survey found.

The elected representatives are now trusted to tell the truth by just 15 per cent of the public, a drop of 6 per cent from last year, according to the report published on Sunday.

The authors said the drop may have been "surprising" if seen in any other year. "But 2016 is, of course, some way away from being a normal year, and voters' levels of trust in mainstream politicians seem to be approaching rock bottom," they added.

An Ipsos Mori poll just before June's referendum found nearly half of Britons believed politicians from either side were lying while 19 per cent thought they were mostly telling the truth.

The report said, "One rare point of agreement between Leave and Remain voters is that neither of the campaigns covered themselves in glory; between them they demonstrated most of the characteristics that turn voters off.

"Politicians in Westminster in particular have much work to do to start reconnecting with voters and demonstrating that they have priorities other than getting their own viewpoints across and ignoring debate."

Amid the disruption caused by the Indian government's high-handed decision to demonetise old currency notes sans any discussion or debate, one wonders if our politicians are taking heed. Unlikely, going by past experience.

But this may be the wrong place to get sanctimonious - journalists fared little better than politicians in the survey, with 24 per cent of people trusting them, putting them below bankers, estate agents and lawyers.

Britain's nurses were trusted to tell the truth by as much as 93 per cent of people, and doctors by 91 per cent, according to the poll of 1,019 adults in October.

Teachers, judges and scientists followed the medical professionals at the top of the list.

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