Monday, November 10, 2008

Poll: Ministers Are Dedicated Public Servants...Who Lie

The Committee on Standards in Public Life has published a report showing a declining trust in politicians. The poll was conducted by the BMRB. Here are its key findings...

* Only 22% of people think ministers tell the truth (down from 27% in 2006)
* 42% believe ministers are dedicated to doing a good job (down from 46%)

There is surely some conflict between those two figures. Are 20% of people really saying that ministers are dedicated public servants who lie?!

12 comments:

Jonny Mac said...

Don't tell me you're surprised by a finding that suggests a sizeable chunk of the population is monumentally stupid?

Inspector Morse said...

It all depends on how the questions are constructed, which is not revealed.

1. Do you think that gov ministers sometimes lie if in the national interest (e.g. terrorism threats)?

2. Do you think that gov ministers are basically trying to do their best for you?

John said...

A little OT, but I hope you'll forgive this one Iain due to it's humerous content.

Sky's breaking news:

http://img227.imageshack.us/img227/4518/58279959ag6.jpg

Spot the deliberate mistake? Or are Sky getting like the BBC? Haha!

McSweeney said...

Very much depends on how the question is asked as this extract from the BMRB reort points out:

"The survey also shows that, when people are given the chance to say how much they trust office holders to tell the truth, rather than to
say simply whether or not they trust them to do so (the question used in 2004 and 2006 and in a number of other surveys of political trust), they give a more positive assessment overall.
So, for example, while only 27 per cent of respondents said that they trusted government ministers to tell the truth when given a choice
of answering ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, 44 per cent said that they trusted ministers ‘a lot’ or ‘a fair amount’ to tell the truth when given a choice of four points on a scale."

Niccolo Machiavelli said...

They're dedicated to doing a good job of lying.

Anonymous said...

Yes; they'll be the natural authoritarians, people who believe ministers know important secret things that they cannot tell us little people, and are lying to us for our own good.

A number of ministers pretty clearly fall into that category themselves, Jacqui Smith for example.

Alan Douglas said...

I'd love to compare these figures not with 2006, but, oh, at random, errr, 1996 or 7 ?

Alan Douglas

Tony B said...

Nothing changes. Labour won in Glenrothes by lying to the voters. The SNP would, take away Pensioner Bus Passes, They would have to pay £1000 more in LIT, Charge the moon for council services (when in fact less are charges, the wealthier paying more. Schools would close when in fact the budget was increase. Old folks home get shut down etc etc etc. As Geobbells said, If you keep telling a lie often enought the people do believe it.

Chris Paul said...

Link would be good practice Iain. There's nothing "surely" about a qualitative poll of sentiment. Contradictions are par for the course in this sort of work.

As morse says with no methodology or published script (being as there is no link) it is hard to say much more.

This is government ministers, right? Not clerics? 42% ain't too bad. And understanding what "truth" is can be incredibly difficult even for a trained constituency.

Decides not to tell story at this point of Philosophy Professor in court for running traffic lights ... (enough already, ed.).

Anonymous said...

"Are 20% of people really saying that ministers are dedicated public servants who lie?!"

Why not? Seems perfectly reasonable to me. Have you never lied in a good cause?

Anonymous said...

O/T, but apropos the issue of declining trust in politicians:

Abrahams’ “disguised” donations to the Labour party (which Brown called "illegal" at the time) were referred to the police by the Electoral Commission in November 2007 and a Scotland Yard file was handed to the CPS in June 2008.

Anyone heard anything about this matter since? Or perhaps the bearings in Brown's moral compass have rusted up again, and a little lubrication is needed.

Word verification: pigheat! Snouts in trough?

Letters From A Tory said...

Maybe the public just assuming that lying is an essential part of the job these days!