John Lamont MP (Con)

At Scottish Affairs, yesterday, John Lamont (Con) clearly hope he might get the expert to be critical of the new SNP Government slogan ‘Stay safe’ but he was to be disappointed.

He asked:

You said you were a behavioural scientist. This was thinking back to what the First Minister announced today that the new slogan in Scotland is going to be ‘Stay safe, protect others and save lives.’ And comparing the criticism that she levelled at the UK Government when they changed their slogan to ‘Stay alert, control the virus and save lives‘, the First Minister criticised that advice, I just wondered if you could, from a behavioural perspective, are you able to distinguish what those two different messages might be doing differently or are they the same?

Professor Bauld:

So to be perfectly clear and I know this from my colleagues who were involved in the UK Government advice that the ‘Stay alert’ was not something developed by the scientists on SpyB or any of the other behavioural experts, academic experts feeding into the process. It was a very quick message that was developed by communications experts who work with government (Cummings?) which is different from thinking about all the behavioural levers so I don’t think that that was a very useful and is not a very useful set of slogans.

I think Scotland’s been more cautious. I do think, Steve Reicher and others who were on the Scottish Government group is an eminent behavioural scientist will have been feeding into that and I think it’s a sensible message.