Friday 24 February 2017

Many adults admit being baffled over current affairs

Many adults admitted they hadn't realised George Osborne was no longer Chancellor
Many adults admitted they hadn't realised George Osborne was no longer Chancellor

Brexit, the American election and the economy are just some of the topics which leave Britons baffled when it comes to current affairs, according to a new study.

Some are so embarrassed at being flummoxed by foreign policy or stumped by the Syrian conflict that they tell fibs to hide their shame, researchers found.

A survey of 2,000 adults found more than half admit to bluffing over their knowledge, while four in 10 try to steer conversations away from hot topics to avoid being left red-faced.

Despite the British economy being in the spotlight on a regular basis over the past few months, 46% of adults were unable to name the Chancellor of the Exchequer as Philip Hammond.

One in five believed George Osborne - who lost his role when Prime Minister Theresa May formed her first cabinet - was still in position.

Only slightly more than a third were aware that the terms Isis, Isil, the Islamic State and Daesh all refer to the same terrorist group, while 53% had no idea Damascus is the capital of Syria, despite the war-torn country being one of the biggest stories in the news over the last five years.

And with the US election looming, just 15% of people were confident they knew the key details about the main parties, and more than a third admitted they had little idea what the Democrats and Republicans stood for.

The poll found young adults aged 18 to 25 performed worse than older adults who were questioned, highlighting a need for engagement in current affairs from an early age.

The survey was carried out for children's magazine The Week Junior, which aims to explain news and events from children's perspectives and has produced videos presented by 10-year-olds to explain tricky topics.

Editor Anna Bassi said: " It's a shame that so many adults avoid broaching the big issues. The inquisitive nature of children means they are willing to ask questions to solve a conversational problem - so adults need to be able to answer them, rather than avoid the subject altogether."

:: The top 10 current affairs topics misunderstood by British adults were:

1. Russian foreign policy

2. International finance markets

3. The Israel / Palestine conflict

4. Syrian conflict

5. Islamic State

6. Grammar Schools / Academic reforms

7. Fracking

8. Brexit

9. Cyber Attacks

10. The US election

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