Hello and welcome to the TCC Weekly – the Friday bulletin for people who know their shop talk from their talking shop.
Our politics section this week includes a look at crowds, contrarians and social mobility in the light of populism. And our Values Lab and Behaviour Change sections switch round, to look at attitudes to hot weather and what the implications are for environmental campaigners.
And of course, there’s Charlie’s Attic, the set of rose tinted Ray-Bans with which we conclude our newsletter each week.
Copycats and contrarians
We’ll be interested to read the new book Copycats and Contrarians, by Michelle Baddeley. The concept is striking, and you can see how these two apparently contradictory impulses reinforce each other. The desire to share in collective anger and the willingness to question the mainstream, ‘expert’ consensus intertwine in interesting ways to create populism.
On the topic of books and understanding political populism, we’re also interested in the look at social mobility provided by Social Mobility (and its enemies). Social mobility and populism don’t immediately tally as sides of the same coin, but it seems to us that, if you’re looking to explain the rise of populism, a society where doors aren’t open is also likely to be one where frustration rises and the safety vale of populism becomes attractive.
With new findings suggesting heatwaves like this summer’s could become the norm thanks to climate change, we thought we’d look at the values of those who like the ‘sun on their skin’ (a topic we covered a little while back, but which seems to have extra resonance in light of our unprecedented June and July).
Pioneers are the least likely to be sun worshippers – maybe because of a stronger awareness of the health implications, or less concern about looking good. Meanwhile, the numbers suggest that, although a majority from all segments agree, the Settler corner is significantly less likely than the Prospector one to agree – perhaps feeling that very hot weather is an intrusion on safety and comfort. This is especially true of the most ‘settled’ Settlers, in the east of the segment.
We’ll come back to this in a moment in our Behaviour Change section, but before doing so, we also wanted to flag this interesting review of the book Authentocrats. It’s very much a values analysis, suggesting the ‘London versus the Rest’ cultural divide has been exaggerated.
Although there are clearly groups with different values, the extent of this geographical divide definitely feels overblown. As Tony Blair put it, when discussing his Sedgefield constituency: “when you scratched even a little beneath the surface, the definitions didn’t quite fit… They drank beer; they also drank wine. They went to the chippy; they also went to restaurants… There had been an article – usual Daily Mail stuff – about how I was a poseur and fraud because I said I liked fish and chips, but when in London living in Islington it was well-known I had eaten pasta (shock-horror). Plainly you couldn’t conceivably like both since these were indications of distinct and incompatible cultures. The Britain of the late 1990s was of course actually one in which people ate a variety of foods, had a multiplicity of cultural experiences, and rather enjoyed it. This was as true ‘up North’ as it was ‘down South’.”
Climate change and values...
The Values Lab above got us thinking about messages around climate change. As the table shows, Settlers are among the most likely – along with Prospectors – to feel efforts to protect the environment are over the top.
“This country has gone too far in its efforts to protect the environment”
Given that groups like Settlers are among the hardest to convince – and potentially the most likely to want predictable, non-extreme, non-threatening weather – we wonder if simple messages around changes in the weather and how this effects everyday life would resonate better than some of the approaches previously tried.
And finally this week, Charlie’s Attic, the psycho-social sun-worshipper at the end of each newsletter: