LETTER:Who does the public trust?

Click to follow
From Mr Robert M. Worcester

Sir: Stephen Ward's interesting "Judges vs the Government" (News Analysis, 3 November) cites judges against politicians on seven criteria: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership. His conclusion is that judges score 38 (out of 70!) against politicians' 30, but the public see it somewhat differently.

When asked how the two sides compare on veracity, telling us whether they generally trust them to tell the truth or not, we find judges six times more trusted than government ministers, 68 per cent to 11 per cent, and five times more trusted than politicians generally (14 per cent).

In comparing trust in them over the decade, judges have tumbled nine points, from 77 per cent in 1983 to 68 per cent last year in a MORI survey for the Times. By contrast, politicians have fallen 18 per cent to 14 per cent, but then judges had further to fall. In percentage terms, there has been a 12 per cent drop in trust in judges while politicians generally have fallen 22 per cent.

But then, journalists have taken the biggest fall of all, some 47 per cent. Nineteen per cent of the public trusted journalists to tell the truth in 1983 but it was only 10 per cent in our most recent measure.


Robert Worcester


MORI: Market & Opinion

Research International

London, SW1

6 November