Hello and welcome to the TCC Weekly – the Friday bulletin for people who know their Jack Frost from their Ded Moroz.
Close readers of the TCC Weekly – Barack, Ban Ki-, you know who you are – might have noticed that last week’s Weekly was a little garbled, with a formatting issue meaning a previous bulletin was bolted onto the bottom in a small number of cases. Our apologies! In light of the error, this week’s Engagement Hub explores KFC’s approach to acknowledging a mistake – and what this might tell us about civic engagement.
Also, this week, we swap our ski goggles for safety goggles and head into the lab to look at values and cold weather, and look at the politics of US gun control. And of course, there’s the perpetually melting snowman that is Charlie’s Attic, which this week includes the bizarre case of the ‘Hitler Bell’ and polling on how to eat a banana.
The politics of the Second Ammendment
With yet another tragic shooting in the US last week – this time in Florida – the argument for a radical increase in gun control seems unanswerable. Yet there remains serious opposition – mostly from conservatives. In trying to understand this, we thought this piece was excellent, in seeking to unpick as thoroughly as possible why gun control – once an issue which crossed political lines – has become a totem for the American right.
The answers are complex, and the piece really needs to be read in full. But they have big implications for politicians on this side of the Atlantic as well as in the US – showing the importance of building trust in the state, managing change to make sure it’s inclusive, and of understanding causal as well as complex reasoning.
To the delight of the social media sphere, KFC ran out of chicken last week. Given KFC’s entire remit is selling fried chicken, this was a pretty big fail. The chain’s response to the mistake, however, pictured above, won the brand back many friends. It was a hands-up acknowledgment of a ridiculous oversight, which gained coverage in newspapers and online.
This raises interesting questions for engagement. A profane anagram, after all, required a degree of boldness – and a level of trust in KFC customers to take the joke in the spirit intended. Many would have ducked (or should that be ‘chickened’) the challenge – issuing instead a formal apology that seemed mealy-mouthed and corporate.
The latter type of response often creates disengagement. It breaks trust, leading customers – or residents – to feel they’re being ‘managed’ by an inhuman bureaucracy. Of course, KFC are lucky that their product is in itself light-hearted and their customer base playful. But replying authentically should be possible even with more serious issues. The challenge – and it’s not one we underestimate – is having the courage to take the risk, in a cynical, high scrutiny environment. But as the KFC example shows, there’s much to be gained from having the courage to ‘trust first’.
With the ‘beast from the east’ turning Britain into Siberia this week, we thought – in the absence of good snow data – that we’d use responses to hot weather to see who’d be struggling most with the cold snap.
The findings suggest that more individualistic and aspirational groups towards the western, Prospector pole like the hot weather more. And from this we might surmise that they’d be most likely to give the beast from the east a frosty reception.
On the other hand, it might be that the Pioneer and Settler groups – i.e. those that are more luke warm about hot weather – are also more hostile to outlandish or exciting weather of any kind. It may be that they know what they like and like what the know: moderate, British drizzle. We’re on thin ice making predictions here so will move on now, and leave you to make your own minds up.
And finally this week, warm yourself up with the weekly gust of hot air that is Charlie’s Attic:
Find out how the rest of the population eats bananas – thanks to YouGov.
Become au fait with the Mandela Effect – then pretend you knew about it all along.