Hello and welcome to the TCC Weekly – the Friday bulletin for people who know their Agnes from their Mark.
This week we look at the behavioural science behind the ‘Latte Levy’ and the latest from the world of democratic engagement. And from the serious to the light-hearted, we take a look at Mrs Brown’s Boys and examine what it means from the vantage point of politics and Values.
And of course, there’s Charlie’s Attic, the loft turned underground tunnel which invites you to the Museum of London’s soon-to-open exhibition about the ‘fatbergs’ that clog up the capital’s underworld.
Last week the Government set out plans to end the country’s “throwaway culture”. A string of policies were announced, including one that’s been dubbed the ‘Latte Levy’ – a measure that aims to cut waste by imposing a levy on all unrecyclable coffee cups.
But will the ‘Latte Levy’ work? Experts disagree. Those who back it argue that its effectiveness lies in the psychology of “anchoring”. The argument is that it’s more effective than approaches like the one used by Pret (where consumers are encouraged to bring reusable cups to stores to save themselves 50p) because the motivation to not pay more is more powerful than being given the opportunity to pay less. On the other hand, those who disagree argue that the onus for change needs to be placed on producers rather the consumer – and so the ‘latte levy’ targets the wrong group. Click here to find out more.
Will 2018 be a year when the old saying “all politics is local” gains real momentum? With a host of local elections being held in May this year – alongside meetings like this #Notwestminster event springing up across the country – the timing might be right for the resurgence of grassroots politics.
Indeed, across the pond pundits are making the argument that recent trends signal that we may be in for a groundswell of bottom-up democracy. This article points to two examples – the proliferation of participatory budgeting across the world and Richmond’s Office of Community Wealth Building. In this light, Nesta’s excellent report on digital democracy springs to mind. It was published last year and if you haven’t yet read it it’s definitely worth checking it out.
Labour MP Stella Creasy once pointed to attitudes towards Mrs Brown’s Boys as indicative of the chasm dividing ‘ordinary’ people and Westminster politicians. This week, YouGov have published the findings of a survey about the show. Whether you like Mrs Brown’s Boys or not, it turns out, has implications for your political persuasions: people who like the show are more likely to be working-class and Leave voters, and those who dislike it…well, more likely to be middle-class and Remainers.
YouGov’s analysis inspired us to enter the Values Lab. On the topic of TV, we tested the extent to which people of different Value persuasions agree with the statement: “certain TV programmes are a ‘landmark’ or ‘island’ in my day”.
The image above shows those who ‘very strongly’ agreed with the statement. Interestingly, the heatmap lights up where socially conservative Prospectors overlap with Settlers. This is a curious finding. Socially conservative Prospectors are likely to be drawn to TV programmes because of the power and glamour associated with certain shows. On the other hand, Settlers (people who are threat-wary and averse to change) are likely to value TV because of the sense of continuity it brings – in a world defined by rapid technological change, television remains one of those enduring inventions that connects people to past decades when families also sat around the TV and enjoyed a chuckle together.