The crucial challenge - repairing battered trust in British government

Tony Blair

Damaging: Tony Blair's claims over Iraq helped break down the trust between politicians and the electorate

At the start of a new decade, it is pertinent to ask: how will historians view the past 10 years of Labour rule?

Certainly, a Government which was elected on a wave of almost unprecedented optimism and goodwill will be judged - harshly we suspect - on its dreadful handling of the economy and the disastrous intervention in Iraq.

We also suspect that a Government, which promised welfare reform but massively increased State spending and the debilitating dependency culture that goes with it, will be rightly criticised.

But it is the breakdown in trust between electors and elected that will, perhaps, provoke history's greatest opprobrium.

From Tony Blair's lies over Iraq to the sleazy cheats who held high office, the breaking of solemn promises over the EU constitution to the expenses fraud by 'honourable members' - the public have been treated with utter contempt.

Voters no longer feel they can trust a word their elected representatives say.

The challenge of the decade is to repair this battered trust. Thanks to Labour, no task could be harder - or more crucial.

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