Nearly half of Britons say they are angry with politics and politicians, according to a Guardian/ICM poll analysing the disconnect between British people and their democracy.
The research, which explores the reasons behind the precipitous drop in voter turnout – particularly among under-30s – finds that it is anger with the political class and broken promises made by high-profile figures that most rile voters, rather than boredom with Westminster.
Asked for the single word best describing "how or what you instinctively feel" about politics and politicians in general, 47% of respondents answered "angry", against 25% who said they were chiefly "bored".
Rage is the dominant sentiment across just about every sub-stratum of the electorateAnd, do you know what? I don't think it will change any time soon while politicians are still engaged in a war on their employers (you know, us poor saps, the public) as highlighted by the IEA's Mark Littlewood back in September.
In order to give you a sense of the tide of possible regulation we face – not just from Brussels but homegrown – let me just give you a heavily abridged list of policies that are currently on the agenda of the public health lobby.
A minimum pricing for alcohol, plain packaging for tobacco, a twenty per cent tax on fizzy drinks, a fax tax, a sugar tax, a fine for not being a member of a gym, graphic warnings on bottles of alcohol, banning parents from taking their kids to school by car, a ban on gambling machines in betting shops, a ban on smoking in cars, a ban on anyone born after the year 2000 ever buying tobacco, a ban on the sale of hot food to children before 5pm, a ban on multi-bag packs of crisps, a complete ban on alcohol advertising, a ban on electronic cigarettes, a ban on menthol cigarettes, a ban on large servings of fizzy drinks and a complete ban on advertising any product at all to children.
And these are just the policies proposed in the last few months.All this on top of (also abridged) a ban on what publicans can allow on their property despite a government promise to the contrary; an internet filter because they personally don't like what you view online; arrests for joking on Twitter; banning supermarkets from placing sweets near a cashier; a refusal to allow a referendum on the EU - again, despite numerous promises; and even the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition competing to be the most eager to stop you eating a chocolate fucking orange.
If I knocked on my neighbours' doors on a daily basis telling them all that I demand them not to do, while simultaneously hacking their bank accounts and stealing their cash to pay for the time I spent doing so, I don't think I'd be very popular along the street, either.
So, finally, the public seem to be waking up and realising that these people are not there to serve our interests anymore; that it really is a war between MPs and everyday people; and that politicians are an enemy. A political enemy with its campaign HQs in Westminster and Brussels, working long and hard to shaft each and every one of us on a daily basis. About time, too.
Perhaps - and this might come as a massive surprise to most elected politicians who don't seem to realise that freedom is popular - a good way of reversing public opinion which places MPs alongside burglars, granny-muggers and vandals in popularity, would be for them to sit on their hands for a bit and stop passing law after ridiculous law specifically designed to ruin the way we freely choose to live our own lives.
If only they could then imagine committing to a New Year resolution to not be such utter bastards, eh? What a marvellous 2014 we could be in for then. I won't hold my breath though.