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New McCann ‘Moody Britain’ survey shows polarised nation determined to muddle through

McCann London has just produced its latest ‘Moody Britain’ survey (the last was in 2010) and it reveals a rather surprising degree of stoicism among Brits who are still being battered by economic headwinds although we’re still not very keen on over-paid executives, benefit cheats, Americans and politicians.

Asked “what’s making you angry about Britain today?” the top responses were the cost of living (62 per cent), benefits cheats (61 per cent), the economic situation (60 per cent) and executive pay (49 per cent).

Rather bizarrely ‘Moody Britain’ finds a restored, if qualified pride in Britain: the proportion of people agreeing that “despite its faults, Britain is still a great country to live in” has risen to 65 per cent from 59 per cent in November 2010, the last time the survey was undertaken, at the height of the financial crisis. The BBC, the NHS and the Royal Family as ‘institutions to be proud of’ have all risen since then.

Nearly half of Britons (49 per cent) agree that “the people I hear/see talking about Britain are overly negative,’ with the media singled out for particular blame. While Britons trust ‘people on the street’ more – up to 48 per cent from 42 per cent – their faith in the governing elite has declined. The percentage agreeing that “people of their age are ignored by the government” has risen to 58 per cent from 49 per cent. Among Conservative voters, just three per cent claim to have ‘a lot’ of trust in the coalition government, while 64 per cent say they have ‘not very much/no trust at all.’

Among the countries Brits name as name as having “the best template for where Britain should be as a society”. Australia was most favoured, for its robust immigration policies and as a society where one ‘gets out what one puts in,’ followed by Canada, New Zealand, Sweden and Germany. The US trails in sixth place – evidence that American society and the pursuit of American values are perceived as having aggravated the global economic crisis.

Nikki Crumpton, chief strategy officer at McCann London, says: “Moody Britain has been on an extraordinary journey since 2007, charting the mood of the nation pre, during and post-recession. In 2012 we’re witnessing a turning point for the nation. General malaise and confusion is abating as Britons make the best of their situation, to be replaced by targeted anger against cheats, fat cats, out-of-touch governors and overly negative media. It’s a case of ‘with us or against us’ taken to new levels.”

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