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There’s been a ‘hardening of attitudes’ of late among the Claremont team – drinking lots of coffee, walking faster, cutting to the chase in meetings. 

Could it be that this ‘hardening up’ is something of a societal trend?

A recent social attitudes survey from NatCen Social Research showed that UK attitudes on immigration and welfare were ‘toughening’. Only 28% wanted to see more spending on welfare – down from 35% at the beginning of the recession in 2008, and from 58% in 1991.  And on immigration, some 51% would like to see immigration “reduce a lot”, a figure which has risen from 39% in 1995.

Barely a day goes by without another announcement of how HMRC is supposedly ‘cracking down’ or ‘toughening up’ on tax avoiders and generally giving them a spanking for the public good.

Perhaps predictably, the Tories have seized upon this ‘toughening’ mood as well.  Yesterday the justice secretary announced that people who use force against burglars that invade their homes will no longer face arrest and possible prosecution.

In my own circles, I’ve come to notice more and more people using the awful phrase ‘man up’.  What’s that about?  Not sure.  Maybe that’s just me not being tough enough.

But tough times do indeed call for tough measures, which applies in a communications sense as well.

In the current stormy economic and political climate, businesses and individuals need to gauge the prevailing mood carefully in order to shape their message and achieve the right tone of voice.

Saccharine is out, straight-forwardness is in.  Platitudes, breathlessness, general airy-fairy speak?  Save it. We officially declare this the Season of Tough.