Shropshire Star comment: Politics can irreparably lose trust
If one thing is clear from the current state of UK politics, it is that people deserve much better.
Voters are being badly let down by the two main parties, who are failing to provide either an effective government or an effective opposition.
The Conservatives are tearing themselves apart over the issue of Brexit, causing divisions within the party that could take a generation to heal.
The upshot is we have a government that does not have a majority in parliament and cannot keep its own house in order. While every political mind is consumed by Brexit, crime is rising and schools and the NHS are struggling to provide an effective service.
Labour, as the official opposition, should be cleaning house and have a record lead in the polls.
Instead they seem to be as muddled by Brexit as the Conservatives, and spend more time fighting each other than the opposition.
This desperate state of affairs should open the door for a centrist party to come in and sweep the board. Instead, the Liberal Democrats are floundering worse than Labour and the Conservatives combined. And The Independent Group, or whatever name they are going by now, have struggled to garner any momentum since the original defections.
That the group was predicted to get dozens of defections from Labour and ended up with just eight sums up how badly they have stalled.
Brexit will get sorted eventually, but the concern is all the damage that will be caused between now and then. Domestic reform has gone by the wayside as the majority of the civil service prepares for Brexit. These, such as much-needed changes to the prison service, can be picked up again after the European conundrum is solved.
What cannot be so easily picked up again is people’s trust in politicians, which is eroding faster than the Cliffs of Dover. The longer Westminster is stuck in a state of paralysis and fails to deliver Brexit, the more people will disengage with politics and never attempt to re-engage.
There is a genuine threat of British democracy being damaged beyond repair. The UK needs effective leadership and an effective opposition to hold those in power to account – and it needs both now.