This week was authored by Conor.
In a week of sporting milestones (including Wagatha Christie) that saw the Lionesses roar four past Sweden, it’s been another week where the only goals scored by ‘Tory FC’ have been in the back of their own net.*Disclaimer – football puns ahead*
In this spirit, my podcast recommendation of the week has to go to Tuesday’s episode of Red Box Politics: Guess Who’s Back, which takes a fascinating look ahead at how Prime Minister Sunak or Prime Minister Truss could perform in the 2024 general election (spoiler alert: neither scenario ends well). The episode also provides thought-provoking commentary on our recently “red carded” incumbent, who is allegedly hanging around the tunnel trying to find a way back onto the pitch. The episode makes the case that, like his American counterpart, it is unlikely that Boris has truly hung up his boots. It is enough to make me wonder: have we really said “hasta la vista baby” to the Johnsonian era? Or did he get one famous Terminator quote muddled with another: “I’ll be back”.
Reflection of The Week
In between evaluating football puns and watching videos of Boris throwing a hand grenade on TikTok, I have been reflecting hard on a busy news week. Unfortunately, once again the headlines that have caught my eye were those relating to the cost of living crisis.
In a week of warnings – household energy bills are set to hit £4,000 by next year, and with one in three British households set to fall into fuel poverty this winter, this morning’s comment piece in The Telegraph summed it up nicely: “Britain’s wealthy energy companies are now part of the problem” (who would’ve thought?!).
I’d recommend giving The Guardian’s summary of what this means for households a read, and if you feel like being slapped in the face by some hard hitting reality this weekend, have a listen to what Martin Lewis had to say on ITV News yesterday.
But what sentiment will this bring? Whilst Shell’s Chief Executive (apparently turned Love Islander) described hiking energy prices as “it is what it is”, tough decisions will be made across the UK with households facing another spending squeeze in October. With oil and gas companies shamelessly paid billions to shareholders this week, the cost of living crisis just got personal for millions of Brits.
What does this mean for the incoming Prime Minister? With a general election slowly coming over the horizon for a broken Tory party, now may not be the best moment to let energy companies have their way.
What else was in the news?
As always, other stuff happened this week but it’s not easy to cut through the noise nowadays. Here’s what’s been going on:
Summary: Google has announced that they are pushing back plans to stop third party cookie tracking in chrome until at least 2024, 2 years later than they initially planned.
So what? The latest delay is intended to allow more time for advertisers to begin formal testing of the new cookieless technologies proposed in Google’s “Privacy Sandbox” initiative. Brands must now figure out how to replace this huge amount of information on their consumers.
Summary: Scientists from the World Weather Attribution Group have concluded that the UK’s recent 40C heatwave would have been “almost impossible” without human-induced climate change, and is a taste of more to come with more heatwaves, fires and droughts expected in the future.
So what? This increases the necessity for the UK to reach net zero as fast as possible, so events like this can stay at a once in a 500-1500 year chance. It also illustrates the need to limit warming to 1.5C across the globe – although, CCAG would argue that even this is still too much from the impacts we’re seeing now, so 1.25C is the “safest” level. As the Tory leadership competition heats up, it’s clear that one thing they must be measured on is their commitment to acting on these alarm bells and ensuring the UK is setting a global example.
Summary: The American Innovation and Choice Act is currently going through Congress. It’s Congress’ first major effort to regulate big tech and could have major repercussions.The bill seeks to break the stranglehold the largest tech platforms have over their markets by prohibiting them from giving advantages to their own products and making it easier for rivals to communicate with customers and collect information about their users.
So what? For companies like Apple and Google it could main they have to fundamentally change the way they push their products to consumers as well as the products themselves. This could open up the market for more innovation and smaller companies to take advantage.
Summary: The US’ Federal Reserve has raised interest rates by 0.75% for the second month in a row. This is the first time US rate-setters have decided on drastic rises consecutively since the 1980s, with further increases expected down the line. This move is putting pressure on other central banks to follow suit, particularly towards the UK/Bank of England.
So what? Last week the media gurus reported that the UK’s inflation rate in June rose from 9.1% to 9.4%, the highest rate of the G7 countries. The Bank of England is viewed to be moving slowly to increase interest rates, and as we find ourselves in the midst of a Tory leadership contest, inflation and cost of living are at the centre of the debate. While Liz Truss has been openly attacking Bank of England’s failure to tackle inflation and is proposing a plan for immediate tax cuts, Rishi Sunak has been more cautious about criticising the Bank and is warning that Liz’s tax cut proposal risks worsening inflation and making rates higher. We’ll see who lands on top and what the Bank’s next moves will be – but there’s still a long road ahead in this crisis.
Summary: A tour called Drag Queen Story Hour UK, a group that host sessions for 3–11-year-olds across the country have been derailed by a group of protesters at Reading Central Library on Monday. The tour aims to teach inclusivity and diversity as around a dozen parents and young children were dancing with the drag queen whilst the opposition were chanting and shouting homophobic slurs. Two mothers infiltrated the class and shouting that the show was allowing child grooming and stating, “this is disgusting, we’re here to protect children”. Police officers escorted them out whilst protesters branded police officers and council staff “paedophile protectors”.
So, what: A spokesperson from a pro LGBT group said she was “absolutely horrified that things have got to this stage” at the event. The drag queen story time movement began in the US in 2015. It was billed as an attempt to promote “queer role models” and the “gender fluidity of childhood” and has sparked fury in schools. Critics contend that the drag movement conflates biological sex and gender.
Summary: A report, carried out by Auto Trader, has found that half of car dealerships have yet to sell an electric vehicle. The research also shows that many dealers are unprepared to meet the growing demand for electric cars. One of the key findings of the report outlines the disparity between franchised and independent dealers, in terms of EV readiness, with the latter being grossly unprepared. 22.5% of dealers that have never sold an EV have no plans to do so.
So what? The race to become a carbon neutral society has uncovered a number of flaws, especially in terms of being strategically ready. More government support is required to ensure that small businesses can facilitate the carbon neutral demands. This will inevitably require rapid and widespread changes in policy across many sectors. Under government plans, in 2030 all conventional petrol and diesel vehicles will be outlawed.
Summary: Continuous listening means gathering feedback from an employee life cycle but not just from feedback or surveys. The continuous listening strategy is no longer a want but a need for the foundation of an organisation to really understand insight into their employees’ experiences. Many employees are leaving their jobs in a phenomenon called The Great Resignation, in early 2021. There are many reasons why this is occurring, and one of them is job dissatisfaction and the desire to work for companies with better remote-working policies.
So, what? Although limited resources and competing priorities certainly pose a challenge, most organisations agree that having a continuous listening strategy is a must. While this strategy can be operationalised in many ways, one of the strongest foundations is through surveys which gives employees a voice and an easier form of data collection. So, the question is not whether to implement or continue with one, but rather how to execute it most effectively and efficiently. This approach would quickly and accurately learn how employees are thinking and feeling in response to internal and external shifts, and how, in turn, employers can make multi-faceted, integrated adjustments.