Thursday, 4 March 2010

What the People Think

Last night the Hansard Society published its 7th annual "Audit of Political Engagement". As usual it contains the results of polling and further research which will be pored over and reflected upon by all those with an interest in the health of the British body politic.

The report is larger this year - with relevant analses and commentaries on two central questions.

* how have the expenses and related scandals affected attitudes to MPs and Parliament?
* how can public involvement, and in particular, electoral turnout be raised?

For all the furore over the scandals of the lat year the report found that "There has not been a fundamental realignment of views about MPs and the political process as a result...for the most part, it has merely confirmed and hardened the public's widely held scepticism about politicians rather than changed their views"

Another significant finding is that "proposals for constitutional, political, and parliamentary report in the light of the MPs' expenses scandal have yet to resonate with the wider public"

Furthermore "there is a huge gulf between the public's perception of what they think MPs should be doing and what MPs actually do."

The report highlights the need for effective education.

There is a useful division of people into eight groups. (Details of these groups - and how to engage with them is discussed in Chapter 6)

1 Politically Committed
2 Active Campaigners
3 Interested Bystanders
4 Detached Cynics
5 Politically Contented
6 Bored/Apathetic
7 Disengaged/Mistrustful
8 Alienated/Hostile

This should be a helpful tool to tackle the concerns of different sectors of the community.

I commend this report to you - which can be downloaded from here.