Pure values dog whistle: Daily Mail calls for overseas aid claw-back

Flood victims D Mail cover

The UK is currently suffering significant flooding, following unprecedented rainfall.  The climate-sceptic newspaper the Daily Mail has begun a petition, closely aligned to the demands of the anti-European party UKIP, to recall UK Overseas Aid to help the flood British victims.

This is a pure values ‘dog-whistle’, guaranteed to polarise debate by pitting Golden Dreamer Prospectors and Settlers, against Pioneers.  Presumably the Mail‘s intention, apart from resonating with the values of its frequent readers, which it does (below), is to drive the Conservative-led UK Government further ‘right’, in fear of UKIP (whose electoral base is strongly Settler).

Daily Mail, frequent readers:Mail freq readers

(data from CDSM  www.cultdyn.co.uk  )

The values antagonism this plays on is ‘power versus universalism’, discussed in earlier blogs.  At the top left of the values map (above) are the Golden Dreamers, Prospectors who, along with the ‘Brave New World’ Settlers located next door in the Settler part at the top of the map, espouse values including “material wealth” (getting it) and “power over others”.  This most often manifests itself as resisting power-by-others-unlike-me-over-me or over-us.  Both power and wealth are perceived as a zero sum game – if someone else has it, I’ve must have less of it.

This part of the values map is also the seat of climate scepticism.  These factors come together in the Daily Mail‘s well-timed clarion call to ‘get our money back off foreigners’.

power v universalism


Footnote:  Predictably this has already sparked a counter petition cut fossil fuel subsidies, not foreign aid, for flood victims relief inspired by universalism (stopping global climate change).  The more the debate kicks off along these lines, the greater the polarisation.  If the second petition (which I have signed) was instead about “getting our money back from coal and oil companies” it might appeal to the same values as the Mail one but as it does not offer a very direct benefit to UK flood victims, it probably won’t even get noticed in Daily Mail land.





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One Response to Pure values dog whistle: Daily Mail calls for overseas aid claw-back

  1. Jeremy says:

    International human rights standards relating to social, economic and cultural rights oblige states to assist other states in protecting, respecting and fulfilling these rights only when they have done their utmost to ensure the rights of their own citizens are upheld. If a consequence of cuts in social welfare is to increase poverty in the UK, then an effect is a reduction in the legitimacy of international development spending, since the UK cannot assist others while there is inufficient support to rights’ fulfilment in the UK itself, an interesting positive feedback loop which rather perversely supports the Daily Mail’s point…

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