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Unsurprising fact of the day: Voters don't expect politicians to deliver on promises

By Tim Montgomerie
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In yesterday's YouGov poll for The Sunday Times (PDF) there is evidence that Theresa May has been damaged by last week's borders row. 56% think she should resign and only 26% want her to stay. 52% think it was wrong for her to blame civil servants.

Away from the immediate issue there were two interesting findings on the broader immigration picture:


In other words voters want the tough Tory policy on immigration but don't believe the Coalition will deliver on it.

This perception gap between policy promise and policy delivery is exercising The Sun at present. Reacting - last Wednesday - to two other pieces of news, Britain's best-selling newspaper has clearly got announcement fatigue:

"David Cameron promised to kick out thousands of foreign prisoners by securing repatriation deals with non-EU countries. Eighteen months on, how many deals have been struck? None... So forgive us if we can only raise half a cheer for the Government's latest benefits "crackdown". Welfare shirkers will have to do community work or lose their benefits, we're told (again). We'll believe it when we see it."

We live in a time when there's little money to deliver promises, a creaking Whitehall machine, an inexperienced government and, of course, the realities of compromise in a coalition.

How does a government stay afloat in this environment? Identify five or six things which are essential and focus on delivering them? Stop making so many announcements and reannouncements? Overhauling the machine to improve performance? Promoting the most competent ministers (good news for Phil Hammond)? Or give up and simply paint the opposition as worse?

Enough questions but the cynicism towards politics seems to have reached a new level. Hasn't it?


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