People in UK ‘Least Likely’ to Think Their Government Overlords Obey the Rules

People in the UK are more likely to believe their government flouts its own rules than people in Ireland, Norway, Germany, Poland or even Italy, a report has found.
britain trust government study
PHOTO: Matt - Dunham - WPA Pool/Getty Images

More than 6 in 10 people in the UK think their government ignores the rules, according to a new study from the Policy Institute at King’s College London. 

The results come after the “partygate” scandal, in which senior British government figures have been fined for taking part in social gatherings while citizens lived under strict lockdown rules.  

Of all 6 countries included in the study – which included Ireland, Italy, Germany, Norway and Poland – 62 percent of people in the UK surveyed thought the government disregarded rules, compared to just 35 percent of Germans and 34 percent of Norwegians.

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Britons who had voted for Labour and the Liberal Democrats in the last General Election, as well as women, were more likely to think their national government ignored the rules than Conservative voters and men did. 

Virtually all age ranges felt the government ignored rules. 

Poles were the most cautious about trusting their government, and 75 percent of them think the government does not communicate accurate and unbiased information. 63 percent of them said that the Polish government “acts unfairly towards people like me.”

Norwegians were the only nationals surveyed in which a majority – 52 percent – felt that their government was trustworthy. Generally speaking, both Norwegians and Germans were more likely to hold more positive views than the other countries polled. 

The study was conducted to gauge the public’s trust in expertise, comparing national governments not only with each other but with public perceptions of scientists. 

It found that on average 1 in 2 people had positive feelings about scientists that work at universities, suggesting people feel far more positively about them than they do politicians. 

Professor Bobby Duffy, director of the Policy Institute at King’s College London, said “none of the countries in the study do particularly well.”

“It is important to focus on rebuilding this perception,” Duffy said, referring to a lack of trust created by “partygate,” “as it could affect the legitimacy of government and the public’s willingness to comply with the rules themselves.”