Hello and welcome to the TCC Weekly – the Friday bulletin for people who know their doublespeak from their triple bottom line
This week we look at loneliness and isolation in our Behaviour Change section, and look at trust and parody accounts – in light of a brilliant Balderdash style quiz of Brexit parodies. Plus, we mark the Angel of the North’s 20th birthday with a special North East themed Values Lab.
And of course, there’s Charlie’s Attic, which this week includes the ultimate moral dilemma: is it ok for vegetarians to kill animals in console games?
Valentine’s Day was on the Wednesday just gone, and it can be a lonely time for many. A recent BBC article about the issue points out that the number living alone is on the rise. And an LSE event later this month, entitled ‘What’s love got to do with it?’, suggests loneliness is one of the contemporary equivalents to Beveridge’s ‘five giants’.
We worked on the issue of isolation in Greenwich a few years ago (you can read more about it here). But one of the things we were most struck by was the importance of separating out four different types of issue: of loneliness, isolation, solitariness and inactivity. We first came across the distinctions via Public Health England, and the grid below shows, in very loose terms, how people that lack social connections differ.
Strong desire and willingness to connect with others
Weaker desire and willingness to connect with others
High practical ability to connect with others
Lower practical ability to connect with others (i.e. a carer, housebound)
Social isolation and loneliness is one of the most pressing issues for contemporary policy-makers – and will only become more so as we face an ageing population and a rise in the digital world. And the best place to start in solving it is by understanding the different forms it takes.
As Friday quizzes go, this 17-question test of how well you know your Brexit parody accounts from your real ones is hard to beat. Let us know how you did (averages in the TCC office ranged from a savvy 14 to a gullible 6).
At the risk of getting overly serious, just as you’re listening out for the Friday drinks trolley, the role of parody accounts raises interesting questions about trust and engagement in the digital age. It seems that they serve both the progressive function of exposing other views to ridicule and scrutiny, and the non-progressive one of embedding stereotypes or even stoking anger.
The real test is probably whether your supporters get that it’s a joke. If too many of those in your own camp are believing the parody is true, then you might be doing it wrong. Or, to put it another way, it might be ringing a little too true!
With the Angel of the North turning 20 this week, we thought we’d look at the values makeup of the fog on the Tyne (and the Wear and the Tees), by exploring the values of people in the North East.
The below table is from the 2014 values survey, and the overall sample is fairly small – about 2,000 in all. Nevertheless, we thought it was interesting to look at how the region over- and under-indexes when it comes to values. The minus figures, in red, are places where the North East under-indexes compared to the British average – and the green plus figures are the ones where it over-indexes.
North East values compared to 2014 UK average
The findings are interesting, and perhaps reveal why the North East leaned towards Brexit more than other comparable areas. The area over-indexes for Settlers – the segment that plumped most heavily for Leave – more than just about any other part of the country.
Yet what’s interesting about the North East is that it also has markedly higher trust and satisfaction in local authorities – at least according to detailed research by MORI from a few years back (see p.7). This is surprising, as Settlers are often the most disaffected with the council.
What it perhaps shows is that, in an area with a Settler community and Settler history, the relationship with the authority doesn’t need to be difficult; it’s arguably when an area changes fast, and Settlers suddenly find themselves outnumbered, that the real challenges for trust and cohesion occur.
And finally this week, the Cherub of the South that is Charlie’s Attic:
Read the fallout from nationalists on twitter in response to the revolution that the first Briton was black.