A new Policy Network paper finds that concerns about immigration are an important factor in explaining distrust in politicians and political institutions. The paper by Lauren McLaren, associate professor of politics at Nottingham University, finds that if citizens’ perception of immigration is negative, trust in politics is lower.
The paper, which compares the situation in different European countries, also finds that:
• Political trust does not appear to be related to actual levels of immigration, but rather to how people perceive the effects of immigration.
• The popularity of far-right parties does not appear to be related to levels of political trust.
• In countries where policies are more conducive to the integration of immigrants, the impact of concerns about immigration is stronger than in countries where immigrants face greater barriers to finding work and becoming citizens.
To summarise, the paper says that immigration leads to a breakdown in trust about political institutions and process. Which in turn means that politics is seen as less trusting.
It also occurs to me that if you view from from a left-right prism, where lefties depend more on ‘faith in the political system for working for people‘ – immigration is better news for the right than the left.
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