It hasn’t just been economies that have crashed in the decade of Downtown. The reputation of virtually all our institutions has been damaged by a series of scandals. The damage has been compounded by another striking development over these ten years: social media. Twitter and Facebook have come into their own just at a time when the pillars of our society have come crumbling down.
Banks, once seen as dull but reliable, are now variously blamed for triggering the recession and ripping off their customers with scams like Payment Protection Insurance.
MPs hit by the expenses scandal in 2009 are still paying the price five years later as the Maria Miller affair showed. For their part, sections of the press stopped investigating what really affected people’s lives and started breaking the law in pursuit of sensation and gossip. The issue of press regulation also remains unresolved.
Sexual abuse in the church and at the BBC, the mistreatment of patients in the NHS, the list goes on.