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Most people do not spend lives thinking about democracy, they just want to see the government delivering for them. That means moving levelling up from rhetoric to reality, a laser focus on tackling Covid backlogs and a clear road map for a fair transition to net zero.
More in Common, a research consortium that explores the drivers of social fracturing and polarisation, reports on areas of agreement between groups in societies. In the UK, for example, they have found that majorities of people across the political spectrum view hate speech as a problem, are proud of the NHS, and are concerned about climate change and inequality.
"Great ... if it all actually happens.” That was the double-edged verdict of voters in the South Yorkshire constituency of Rother Valley who watched the chancellor’s budget speech yesterday.
Focus group: In another barometer of public opinion More in Common’s Luke Tryl has a fascinating write-up of a focus group held yesterday in the South Yorkshire constituency of Rother Valley in the Times this morning. It was with voters who swung strongly behind the Conservatives from Labour in 2019. “As the speech went on, and ever-larger numbers started to flash up on the TV, the questions quickly turned to where all this extra money was going to come from,” Tryl writes.
"A factor in ministers’ desire to resist stricter measures is their belief that, while the public were overwhelmingly supportive of the lockdowns and restrictions pre-vaccine, the mood changed once people got double-jabbed. Kantar polling for More in Common finds just over 60 percent of people are fairly or very concerned about the prospect of another lockdown."
"We must make every effort to stop giving oxygen to the climate of hate, trolling and threats of violence that is all too familiar to MPs, their staff and families (and indeed to journalists and other public figures). That is vital if public life is to continue attracting people like Sir David and Jo."
"Britain's political system broken, politicians disconnected from the real world... a system where it's one rule for them and another for everyone else. That's the damning verdict of a landmark report looking at how the British public sees the state of British democracy."
"It's disapointing to hear that people think that politicians look down on them. We are all the servants of our constituents." Andrew Mitchell MP.
"This is one of the reasons that I chose to put myself forward to enter politics because I think there's so much that needs to be done around engaging people with politics nationally and locally" Kim Leadbeater, MP.
"Despite their commitment to democratic principles, people feel frustrated by a democratic system that isn’t delivering for them, and let down by a politics that falls short of their expectations."
"There's a disconnect between people's belief in democracy in principle and how they see politics played out in practice...when polititians break the rules there need to be consequences, just like there are for the rest of us"
"The biggest problem is not the divide, which does not functionally exist, but the way in which people feel shut out of the debate, for their inability – their lack of desire – to scream at each other on social media...The wise (responsible) politician will dig in with truth and those unbearable and unfashionable things: nuance and compassion. It’s where the country is. So where are they?"
When it comes to cultural tensions do you think politicians resolve issues or seek to enflame them?
"Both politicians and campaigners are turning what should be discussions about these sensitive issues...into rows"
"Briton's are very likely to say that free speech needs to be protected, people are too easily offended nowadays, but they also think that when it comes to hate speech we should be taking action".
"As we rebuild the economy, build back better, post Covid, there's got to be a story that brings climate, economy, place-based development, local communities, tackling inequality. It feels like if we could bring those pieces together.. you would also be able to rebuild some of the trust in the system that has been lost in recent years."
" Remember that spring surge in community spirit? How we came together in adversity, helped each other out, celebrated key workers, and more or less got behind the government's strategy for dealing with the crisis?"
"Only 22 people of Britons said they identified closely with Left or Right, with 70 per cent viewing such labels as unhelpful and more than half describing themselves as being on the centre ground"
The desire to fight a “culture war” is the preserve of a small group on the political extremes that does not represent most British voters, according to a major new project on political polarisation in the UK.
"Nearly three-quarters of the UK public (74%) believe that ‘working together to protect the environment could build a society that’s based on sharing not selfishness, community not division’. The evidence suggests that Britons, like other peoples, are weary of political division and want to get past the polarisation that has characterised the past five years. They want to grasp the opportunities of the future and the accompanying benefits of a cleaner economy."