John Burn-Murdoch

Financial Times

From the financial crisis to the pandemic, the developed world has faced crisis after crisis over the past two decades, but one country has consistently fared worse than others when faced with the same challenges.

Through his engaging and original data analyses, coupled with striking and distinctive charts, the Financial Times’s John Burn-Murdoch has repeatedly identified the areas where Britain has fallen ever further behind its peer countries, highlighting along the way how two groups in particular are bearing the brunt of this backsliding: the poorest in society, and the younger generation. Week after week, John has analysed huge troves of data in order to diagnose Britain’s ills, identifying how a decade of austerity made last winter’s NHS crisis inevitable, how home ownership has become a hereditary privilege, how Britain’s university graduates are being short-changed relative to their American counterparts, and how it now costs more and takes longer to build infrastructure in the UK than almost any other country, leaving Britain with threadbare transport infrastructure. In addition, he has identified the social and political fallout, with Britain’s younger generation straying from the traditional path of turning more conservative with age, posing big questions for a political party that has lost touch with the youth. Time and again, by making smart use of data to dig into under-explored areas, John has been the first to identify and draw attention to major issues that have since become widely acknowledged as areas of great concern, with his work becoming essential reading for anybody concerned about Britain’s direction of travel. John Burn-Murdoch has established a track-record as one of the UK’s leading data journalists, routinely carrying out original analyses that are more typically the work of think tanks and academic researchers. He has worked tirelessly to identify the key trends shaping modern British society, bringing them to life for a mass audience with striking graphics and engaging, accessible writing. Millennials are shattering the oldest rule in politics: analysing thousands of rows of data from the 1960s to the present day, John showed for the first time that the age-old conveyor belt that turns young liberals into middle-aged conservatives has broken down over the last decade. Britain’s winter of discontent is the inevitable result of austerity: pulling together three decades of data on government spending and indicators of public service performance — everything from NHS waiting lists and life expectancy to wages — John used striking charts to powerfully demonstrate how the government’s austerity measures in the 2010s eroded the British state’s capacity, setting in train a series of events which ultimately led to the NHS crisis Home ownership in Britain has become a hereditary privilege: John dug into the data to show that young adults today are getting more help from their parents than ever before when buying a house, with the result that those with parental wealth are pulling away from those from more modest backgrounds in the race to get onto the housing ladder.