The firstlight media gurus have been busy delving into the week’s headlines and looking at what it all means. This week’s edition is brilliantly penned by Lottie. Enjoy!
Reflection of the week
“The whole thing is unbelievable. As I write these words, Gordon Brown is still holed up in Downing Street. He is like some illegal settler in the Sinai desert, lashing himself to a radiator, or like David Brent haunting The Office in that excruciating episode when he refuses to acknowledge that he has been sacked. Isn’t there someone – the Queen’s private secretary, the nice policeman at the door of No 10 – whose job it is to tell him that the game is up?” – Boris Johnson on Gordon Brown’s premiership in a 2010 op-ed for The Telegraph.
Unapologetic, unstable and soon-to-be unemployed; Boris Johnson finally crumbled to the pressure of more than 50 Tory resignations this week. But in true David Brent style, he hopes not to give up the gig properly until October.
Whether he can keep his belt looped around the radiator that long or not, change is already afoot, so what do we have to look forward to now?
- This op-ed in The Times discusses “Boris Johnson’s myths” and the future of the Tory party, with some interesting references to what Boris’ own personal brand communications strategy might look like
- This FT op ed talks about hopes for better cross-channel collaboration with the EU now, and the need for mutual respect
Much of the conversation following Boris’ downfall addresses one of the following issues; how will the UK’s handling of Brexit change? And can we reverse the ‘post-truth’ reality we’ve found ourselves in?
What was in the news?
Believe it or not, other important things were also happening this week. Find a selection of highlights the team have identified below.
Summary: Current talk is that NFTs will bridge the gap between our online and real-world lives in what someone has turned “phygital”. Apparently this word was coined over a decade ago, and talks about the opportunities for brands in particular to engage consumers in both the online and digital worlds. Now, a “phygital” NFT in this context gives the buyer access to something real alongside the digital asset.
So what? This is particularly relevant for the tech world, which should be keeping an eye on how the metaverse / web3 is evolving, and what this means for the potential to connect on and offline worlds, as well as to track consumer behaviour and/or conduct marketing between them.
Economics / Business
Summary: British companies have turned increasingly glum about the outlook, with inflation surging and investment plans looking stagnant, according to the latest business survey that shows momentum rapidly draining from the economy.
So what? Pressures on businesses are reaching new heights, with 82% of businesses citing inflation as a growing concern for their business, and 65% of firms expected to raise prices. Businesses are struggling and we could see business growth begin to slow.
Summary: Tech companies are making moves to close loopholes that could currently allow personal data brokers to monitor and sell consumer data which could be used to prosecute for abortions.
So what? The idea that passive consumer data collected on women could be used against them to police abortions is one of the most disturbing advancements we’ve seen in the consumer privacy debate. It’s reassuring to see in this case big tech companies like Google are taking steps privately to ensure that data is protected. We’ve seen that in recent years Google comes under a lot of fire for its consumer data handling, so it’s positive to see them voluntarily on the right side of this issue – but a whole raft of other companies need to follow in these footsteps to really have an impact.
Summary: Emma Howard Boyd, addressing the UK Centre for Greening Finance and Investment Annual Forum, will warn businesses are embedding liability and storing up risk for their investors by giving the false impression they are addressing the climate crisis. The danger is, she says, that people “won’t realise this deception until it is too late”.
So what? The piece raises the idea that businesses’ environmental commitments and statements are often divorced from reality and includes some useful stats on climate finance in the UK. It’s an example of the sort of bold statement that gets media pick up following this sort of event.
Summary: At the current rate the UK’s gender pay gap won’t disappear until at least 2151, according to PWC. As well as this, Legal & General have found that men’s pensions pots are worth double that of women’s when they retire!
So what? Following the repeal of Roe v Wade it is evident that steps to achieve equality are a long way off the mark and there has been little progress in the last 3 decades. All companies with over 250 members of staff are required to declare their gender pay gap.
Summary: The Energy Superhub Oxford – pairing two battery technologies – is the most powerful charging facility in the UK.
So what? A key barrier to large-scale electric vehicle charging is access to power. Local distribution networks are carefully balanced and can’t always accommodate a huge source of unpredictable demand like an EV charging facility. The Oxford charging station is connected directly into National Grid’s larger network and works by recharging when renewables are plentiful and then discharging when there’s high demand, providing flexibility to the UK’s grid as renewable energy is scaled up.
Summary: Oil markets are beginning to price for a recession amid concerns over hiking interest rates, providing further indications that a recession is just around the corner. With the price of Brent crude, copper and aluminium all reaching their lowest point in over a year, investors have been piling into the safety of the US dollar, pushing the pound and euro down to record lows.
So what? This is more good context on the current economic climate, but it’s clear that with interest rates continuing to rise, a recession is now a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’ in the eyes of investors. With this article highlighting that the alarm bells are ringing, it’s worth keeping an eye on these key indicators as fears continue to grow.