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26 January, 2009

Feeling fine

BBC home editor (what; interior designer?) Mark Easton finds it "alarming", "deeply disturbing" and "one of the most troubling findings about my homeland that I have ever read", but I positively welcome the ESS finding that levels of 'trust and belonging' among British under-50s are the lowest in Europe.

The researchers suggest that the scores* may be "the result of the development of a highly individualistic culture in the UK". Excellent, though Easton chooses to paraphrase that as "we are in danger of becoming the most selfish nation in Europe". How he can equate 'lack of trust' with 'selfishness' rather mystifies me (ah, yes; he's paid to sensationalise), but as an individual, can interpret it as he wishes whereas I, as an individual, can reject his opinions. That's kind of the point.

*: Visit the 'National Accounts of Well-Being' source website and look at the figures, rather than relying on the very misleading graphic accompanying the BBC article. In the image, the colour coding implies that the UK's score for the 'under 25' age group is in the region of <1 (out of ten) whereas the highest, Norway, scores around 10. Yet those scores are actually 4.23 and 5.78, respectively (where '5' is calibrated to be the European average), and for 'all ages', the UK scores 4.73, comparible to 4.76 and 4.81 for Poland and France. Hardly an extreme difference.

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