Things can only get better, or so the song title goes by D:Ream in 1997 (a Northern Irish Band who subsequently broke up).The song was of course adopted by the Labour Party as their theme song and Tony Blair became Prime Minister in the General Election that year. I only mention it as it seems appropriate to the current situation. We have struggled through January – always the worst month of the year and stumbled into February – which is not much better!
Unfortunately turning to the world at large is not that much more encouraging. That said I had the opportunity as I do every year on behalf of RDO, to attend the presentation of the 18th Edelman Trust Barometer report (for more information please go to (www.e.co.uk/magazine/posts/edelman-trust-barometer-2018/) Whilst they surveyed 33,000 respondents in 28 countries – the UK results are interesting in that the UK has seen a rise in the trust of traditional media (newspapers, TV, radio etc) and a drop in the trust given to social media – 1 in 10 ,16 to 18 year olds have left both Facebook and Twitter this last year. 53% of those surveyed in the UK worried about being exposed to fake news on social media and this rises to 69% of high net worth individuals.
That said – the report goes on to point out that social media remains important as a way of reaching the public and even the growing number of “news avoiders” will flick though their social media feeds. Trust in CEO’S and UK Boards is up significantly as is trust for ”experts”.
Of course all this data was collated well before the Carillion crisis and the latest difficulties at Oxfam, which could well dent these findings. Trust in business is currently higher than trust in government. However more than 50% of those surveyed thought businesses do not pay their fair share of tax and that top executives are overpaid.
Lastly whilst a third of those surveyed think their standard of living will continue to decline – only a fifth think it will improve – a depressing finding for those in the leisure business?
Automation remains a real concern for over 50% of those surveyed and on Brexit the country remains split down the middle (I have vowed not to go there this month!).
This is only a brief summary of the detailed findings – one interesting fact is that the USA has gone in completely the opposite direction and is now the most “miss-trustful” country in the survey across all institutions amongst higher net worth individuals and a similar but not quite so great a fall amongst the so-called general population.. The country with the highest trust levels – why China of course.
As a final postscript – one comment in the report that struck a chord was that respondents were becoming increasingly sceptical of news organisations, with a majority saying that news organisations are more focussed on attracting large audiences than reporting the story. Having dealt with the Victoria Derbyshire show on BBC2 last week, I could not but agree with that comment.