Trust: How we Lost it And How to Get it Back
By Anthony Seldon
Biteback £8.99, 256 pages
FT Bookshop price £7.19

Seldon laments what he perceives to be a breakdown of trust in British society. The author of Blair Unbound, Blair and other discourses on Number 10 draws on philosophy – Plato, Cicero, Montesquieu and Locke – for “lessons helpful in designing a new model of government”.

Although he quotes Thomas Paine (“with rights come responsibilities”), Seldon’s list of what or who is to blame for the loss of trust is more reactionary than responsible. He reels out often conservative ideas that alienate rather than inspire trust: moral codes only exist within the context of religion; marriage is essential to family life; the media spreads fear. Even satirical TV shows Have I Got News for You and Mock the Week are attacked, for “undermining confidence in good people”.

Seldon is clear in his delivery – and particularly in his use of lists and graphs. But Trust would have benefited from a more analytical, measured approach.

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