This week we have a great NLGN report that divides the UK into three core types of place, each with different considerations. Plus, we put the role of the father in child-rearing into the Values Lab – and the curious politics of east London.
And of course, there’s Charlie’s Attic – the part of The Weekly that’s always “on a break” – which this week includes YouGov polling of the nation’s favourite Friends characters. Plus, the French storm the Hazelnut Bastille, with Nutella
Social conservativism in The East (End)
This map of the referendum vote in different parts of London reveals startling differences between inner and outer – with a core of Leave voting in the east. The findings contradict the top-line headlines you usually hear about cosmopolitan London. At TCC we’ve worked a lot with outer London boroughs in the east – often on cohesion projects – and our findings are fairly similar. Barking and Dagenham, for example, is one of the few majority Settler boroughs in the capital.
The reason for this is hard to say. Perhaps proximity to Kent (and specifically Dover) makes these areas feel more vulnerable to change? Perhaps people that have moved to leafy Essex hear about inner-city London a step removed – building on senses of decline? Maybe the traditions of docking communities remain strongly embedded? Whatever the reason, it’s a fascinating phenomenon, and shows the way that distinct histories, cultures and traditions mean places more often than not defy the pigeonholes we’re inclined to put them in.
Policy and place
A new NLGN report this week explores place and policy-making. It uses three key area types: 'cosmopolitan' areas (typically cities), post-industrial towns and declining provincial-coastal areas. (John Denham’s produced a useful map here – see below).
As we explore at length in our New Conversations guide (p.115), understanding place is essential in engaging properly. And NLGN’s report, which is well worth a read, shows the very real importance of place in arriving at decisions.
It’s easy to think of place as a nebulous and rather cosmetic idea – something that’s more about branding than substance. NLGN provide a reminder that understanding the limitations, capabilities, motivations and possibilities within your place is at the heart of delivering good policy.
Soon after ONS said that two-thirds of the gender pay gap ‘cannot be explained’, we came across an interesting twitter thread this week that sheds a different perspective. This links back to this paper from Denmark on women, gender inequality including income inequality and the role of family and suggests that inequalities related to having children are increasingly dominant. As the chart above suggests, other forms of gender inequality have been gradually abating, but inequalities around maternity, flexible and part-time work, and childcare account for a bigger and bigger proportion of the problem. On the topic of traditional gender roles and child-rearing, we thought we’d look at attitudes to fatherhood and the family in the Values Lab.
The result is one of the purplest heat maps we’ve seen; almost everyone, it seems, agrees with the need for a father to play an active role in raising children.
This isn’t exactly a surprise. Although men were once expected to be bread-winning hunter-gatherers, who played no role in the family, they haven’t been for many years. You’d be hard-pressed to find many people who are ideologically in favour of absent fathers.
But with the idea of paternity pay – and of men and women playing genuinely equal roles in child-rearing – likely to be central to solving the equalities that remain, it’s interesting to see where potential resistence might come from. The fact that those on the Prospector-Settler Faultline are notably less purple than the rest suggests that this group is perhaps the one most likely to oppose more radical solutions when it comes to fairness and the family.
And finally this week, Charlie’s Attic, the absent uncle pulling a penny from behind your ear each Friday: