Nudge works

Yesterday after PMQs, I had a text from a VERY non-political friend who said she thought that David Cameron’s description of Raoul Moat as a ‘callous murderer’ was outrageous and went far too far for a Prime Minister.

Today, the Facebook page which caused so much of more of the outrage has been taken down – not by Facebook but by the creator of it.

I was in Starbucks today and saw a woman – I would have said pretty well-off, she was buying sandwiches and coffee and lollies for her children – put a lolly in her handbag, pass one to each of her children and say to the barista that ‘Oh I have two lollies as well.’ Well no she didn’t, she had taken three. The person in front of me in the queue pointed out that she had also taken one and put it away, and the woman laughed off how ditzy she had been.

How many of us would have thought, it’s only 40p, Starbucks make plenty of money, they factor that in? But that’s not the point. The point is that it is not acceptable to steal, and part of how shoplifters can be stopped is if those who see them step in.

It is important that people speak up when they feel something is wrong. It is also important that people feel able to speak up when they feel something is wrong.

I think my friend was wrong when she said the Prime Minister shouldn’t have got  involved in the saga of this Facebook page. I think it’s absolutely right that our politicians lead from the front, do the right thing, and encourage the rest of us as well.

There are plenty of things politicians get wrong but on this, David Cameron is  right: societal pressure – from all sorts of different directions – is what will change society. Simply passing more laws isn’t the answer, and always expecting someone else to do it isn’t either. We all have to be prepared to think about what kind of society we want to live in, and be prepared on top of that to be part of making it happen.

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