Trust in politics and institutions rose during corona, but new prejudice could remain

Mark Rutte at Wednesday's press conference. Photo: Bart Maat ANP
Mark Rutte at a coronavirus press conference. Photo: Bart Maat ANP

Trust in politics and politician has risen during the coronavirus epidemic – but this is probably only temporary, according to a report from government think tank the SCP.

The institution, which measures social and cultural change in the Netherlands, found a sharp rise in trust in law and order, the government, but also the media, unions and large companies as the coronavirus started. In April, these trust levels were at their highest in more than a decade, and trust in government and the lower house rose the most.

However, based on similar patterns in previous crises, the researchers Emily Miltenburg and Joep Schaper warn that most things will probably return to normal afterwards.

‘If the crisis is present for longer, one worrying issue may be discrimination and stigmatisation against groups who, in people’s eyes, had something to do with making the virus,’ they warn.

The report notes an increase in reports about discrimination in the Netherlands against people with an eastern or Asian appearance since the coronavirus epidemic began. It also says some older people ‘feel discriminated against in the public debate if the suggestion is made that saving their lives should not have priority if the economy suffers, or that their increased risk is their own fault.’

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