WHO says Britain is broken? SNP supporters? Or Scottish football fans? Far from it, “Broken Britain?” is the latest research by Lord Ashcroft Polls. And it is somewhat unlikely that Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC is any friend of the independence movement.

In a little-reported new poll of 5000 ­people across the UK, Ashcroft found that 72% agreed with the statement: “Britain is Broken – ­people are getting poorer, nothing seems to work ­properly, and we need big changes to the way the country works, whichever party is in ­government”.

In the same poll, focus groups described the state of the country as “shambolic”. Many felt the Government seemed to lack a grip on events and a clear plan to tackle the ­country’s ­problems for which they often thought Covid and the Ukraine war were too often used as an excuse.

People also said that there seemed to be little accountability in public life – inside and outside politics – and their trust in political leadership has not recovered from “partygate”.

They also felt that the governing class lived by different rules.

The general mood about the state of Britain was overwhelmingly negative.

“We are on this hamster wheel, really. And nobody’s helping us get off. There’s no light at the end of the tunnel.”

In another damning indictment of ­Westminster failure, 64% of those polled said that “in important ways, Britain is falling ­behind countries that used to be poorer and less advanced”.

Interestingly, Sweden came out tops among those countries that respondents thought ­Britain should be more like, while the United States came almost last.

Asked what they thought was a force for good, most plumped for economic growth. Small businesses also rated well. Big business and ­capitalism, by contrast, had poor ratings.

There was a clear difference in attitudes to fairness among young and older people. More than others, young people agreed with “people getting what they deserve”.

A majority of SNP voters believe that “making sure everyone gets the same share” is important.

Britain at large now appears to be more in tune with SNP and Scottish thinking than most people realise. For example, 68% agree that “people have a right to things like decent ­housing, healthcare, education and enough to live on, and the Government has a responsibility to make sure everyone has them”.

And 60% agree that “the Government should help out people who are struggling”.

People across Britain are sceptical about ­private ownership of utilities, such as water and electricity. The pollsters found that clear ­majorities believe that public ownership would mean “the industry investing more in services rather than taking out profits”.

Very few people in Britain think that ­private operators do a better job than a state-run ­provider would.

Now, most of the above views above are in sharp contrast to what politicians generally tell us about British attitudes. There’s a very clear imbalance. Much of it may be down to the ­media that hides the real picture while ­presenting an image that conforms to their ­owners’ prejudices. Sadly, the BBC increasingly falls into this category.

Given all that, it still begs the question: Why do the so-called main parties, Labour and ­Tories, consistently argue against what people actually want?

Part of the explanation may also lie in the ­banjaxed British voting system, where the ­outcome of most UK general elections owes much to the prejudices of a relatively few voters in key seats. The lack of a proportional system means the views of these few vastly outweigh the wishes of the majority across the country.

Any British general election is therefore a pantomime where the players keep to their ­established roles while striving to misdirect the audience. The whole thing is a cruel sham. Meantime, while the players are enjoying their time on stage, hundreds are dying, short of care and underfed.

And this matters so much. For example, some of the panto players say expenditure on ­public services has gone up. The pollsters asked ­people what they thought and only 23% agreed that public expenditure had risen. Indeed, 51% thought “austerity was a way to make the well-off richer, at the expense of the less well-off”.

At the same time, the replacement panto cast chorus that “there’s no money” – a blatant misdirection.

So long as there is wilful ignorance of the real issues, Britain will likely break even more. And all political promises will continue to be ­perishable.

Britain is on borrowed time. The longer the political class obsess on pantomimes rather than on people’s real needs, the little faith folks have in the political system will progressively evaporate. This is not good for anyone, as ­history shows us.

It really is time to go.