Wednesday 7th (1pm): Keynote Speech – Dr James Weinberg. “Life at the top: political leadership in an age of distrust”

Life at the top: political leadership in an age of distrust. Wednesday 7th, 1PM. Dr James Weinberg, University of Sheffield

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Michelle Doyle Wildman

Thank you James, really interesting and timely work. Your lecture got me thinking about how far having a safe seat or enjoying a parliamentary majority (and vice versa) impacts on the Politician’s perception of trust and risk. I did see that whether the politician was in a ‘Safe Seat’ was a factor you considered in your research. Any further thoughts on this?

James Weinberg

Thanks Michelle! I’m yet to properly analyse the predictors of felt trust and risk, but I have data on each participant’s election marginality. I’ll be exploring this relationship as I start to write up the data over the summer. Happy to share with you as and when I’ve done this. But yes, I predict that politicians in safe seats (especially where they’ve won safe election margins after turning a seat) will act as a boon for felt trust.

Leah Rea

Thank you so much Dr Weinberg for your presentation. Your lecture has made me consider the particular nature of trust/distrust within devolved institutions vis-à-vis central parliaments. So for example, the public perception of i) politicians in Northern Ireland who sit within the NI Assembly, and ii) politicians who take their seats in the House of Commons, as there has been a notable rise in frustration and distrust of MLAs (especially due the recent absence of functioning devolution) particularly expressed on public radio and social media. There remains a perception of distrust of serving MPs on the grounds their roles are… Read more »

James Weinberg

Hi Leah! Thanks so much for watching the lecture. You pose a really interesting question that I think reflects contingent nature of trust judgements in politics. For example, the Northern Ireland public are very likely to use different indicators of trustworthiness for MLAs and MPs, which makes it hard to accurately compare overall levels of trust and distrust in either. The questions to ask, then, when studying trust in any multilevel polity, are (a) which features of each tier of governance are salient and what is expected of actors in each tier, (b) which performance indicators or policies are salient… Read more »

Dr Liam McLoughlin

James, you’ve absolutely blown us away. I have feeling that everyone here at the conference, across all disciplines, have something within their research that they can resonate with or say to the results you’ve presented today. For me, in particular, part of my research background is the abuse of MPs on Twitter, while my PhD involved interviewing UK MPs and surveys of citizens about their social media communication. So, I was really interested in what you had to say here, and it gave me a new perspective of understanding the potential impact of abuse on MPs. Current understandings seem to… Read more »

James Weinberg

Hi Liam! Thanks so much for your kind comments. It’s a strange experience to lecture into the void, so to speak, but I’m really glad the presentation landed well. You pose two really interesting questions. I didn’t have enough time to explore these for today’s lecture, but both will feature in a dedicated chapter on distrust and political wellbeing in my next book. On the first one, I’m pleased to say that I have data on participants’ usage (and preferred platform) of social and legacy media. I anticipate that politicians who do regularly engage on social media, and use this… Read more »

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