There is a really powerful article in today's Sunday Times by Matthew Syed in which he argues that one of the main problems of our time is a moral one - a reduction in our ability to trust one another.
It is certainly possible to be too trusting. A person who has no healthy scepticism of government, of politicians, of people who are trying to sell things to him or her, is liable to be the victim of bad policies or bad products whether those advocating them are doing to out of dishonesty or foolishness.
However, if we are unable to trust one another at all, the results are catastrophic. Some degree of trust in one another, in governments, in our institutions, is necessary for society to work at all. Successful government requires the consent of the governed just as policing requires the consent of the vast majority of those policed, and needs to be two-way.
Without it any trust at all you have to fall back on order imposed by force - a solution which works only in dictatorships and not very well there.
Certain politicians of all political parties have delivered hammer blows to trust in politics in the last few years,
(No names, no pack drill, any person who themselves combines a reasonable degree of impartiality with intellectual honesty will admit that there are some honest people in all political parties and some others who are part of the problem of collapse in trust, and I will delete any comments trying to score party points by naming individuals from one party as examples and saying - oh yes it's all X party's fault.)
However, the media also has a lot to answer for. Partly that is due to the media's own displays of dishonesty - the BBC's catastrophic failures of integrity over Saville and the Martin Bashir interview with Princess Diana and the phone hacking scandal are only three of the worst examples.
But also, the media have not always kept the right balance between healthy scepticism and corrosive cynicism. Jeremy Paxman was a brilliant interviewer, but he openly admitted that he approached all interviews with the mindset "Why is this lying bastard lying to me." The trouble with that level of cynicism is that it reduce trust in honest politicians as well as the bad ones. And Paxman was not the only interviewer to adopt that style.
I don't see an easy answer but I think Matthew Syed's article raises important questions and I think the first part if the answer is that all of us need to start being more honest with ourselves and one another.
You can read the article here if you register - there is a paywall but you can get a certain number of free articles.