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Purpose on Payday May 2024

Purpose on Payday ESG
Green & Good (ESG and Impact)

The starting gun has been fired for the 2024 General Election. In the first week of the campaign, we have seen the leaders of the two main parties, Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer, going toe to toe in a presidential style contest to win over those crucial swing voters. Smaller parties find it hard to be noticed.  

Sir Ed Davey is taking a different approach. Since the election was called, the Liberal Democrat leader has been pictured falling off paddle boards, skimming down water slides or out of control on a bike. For someone usually so serious, it’s a new tactic to get cut through and (he’ll hope) deliver electoral returns.  

Cut through is essential for any cause – be that political or otherwise - to reach a mass audience.   

The farming sector has had that cut through over the last few years, and particularly this month. In recent years, despite its strategic importance to society, it has largely been forgotten and ignored.  

What’s changed that? Jeremy Clarkson. Clarkson’s Farm Season 3 was released this month with the blockbuster Amazon Prime series breaking ratings records, racking up over 5.1M viewers in the first week alone.  

Clarkson, better known for programmes focused on four wheels, is an unlikely hero for the farming community. Yet he is the National Farmers’ Union’s “Farming Champion of The Year”. It seems that he is now doing his bit to offset his emissions accrued over many years of car-themed television.  

It’s leading to significant cut through for the farming community as a whole. Clarkson has shone a light on the financial plight facing farmers, especially those who don’t have lucrative TV and newspaper deals.  

But the main thing that Clarkson has achieved for the community is through what is being described as “Clarkson’s Clause” – a change in planning law that came in this month that means disused farm buildings can now be converted into eateries and shops without any planning permission required.  

In a way, this change in law is an accidental consequence of the cut through. On Clarkson’s Farm, the host set up a restaurant knowing that permission would be refused – which would make great TV. However, it has forced a change that now benefits farmers everywhere by cutting bureaucracy and allowing for diversification. Clarkson didn’t set out with the purpose of changing the law for farmers – but many in the community will be glad he did.  

The protagonists in the election, and in particular those who don’t automatically grab the headline, would do well to take a leaf out of Clarkson’s Farm. Cut through for their cause or party is essential if they are going to win votes or create change. Having a bit of fun may just be one of those ways to get that cut through.