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Dr Evan Harris - The Liberal Democrat's Dr Death?

The new focus on the Liberal Democrats sees the Daily Telegraph's Cristina Odone profiling Dr Evan Harris. That's "profiling" in the sense that the FBI might profile a criminal. A criminal the papers are calling Dr Death. [more inside]
posted by DNye on Apr 20, 2010 - 71 comments

I agree with Nick: you're no Jack Kennedy.

Yesterday, the leaders of the three largest political parties in the UK engaged in a live televised election debate for the first time in history. Most commentators seem to agree that Nick Clegg, the leader of Britain's perennial third party the Liberal Democrats, made the best impression in yesterday's first of three weekly debates leading up to the general election on May 6. The progressive-leaning Guardian even goes so far as to claim that he is now prime ministerial material.

This being Metafilter you will undoubtedly ask, "how does Cory Doctorow figure into all of this?" Well, he agrees with Nick on the Digital Economy Act. Then again, Nick is agreed with quite a lot.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Apr 16, 2010 - 54 comments

UK Election Statisitics Brain-Candy

Hurtling as we are towards an election that will be the most closely contested for a generation, where can we in the UK get a hit of statistical brain-candy? Well, no-one's going to do it quite as well as FiveThirtyEight did it for our transatlantic chums (though they will be posting on the UK), but try Electoral Calculus or UK Polling Report. For information about voting, try About My Vote.
posted by hydatius on Apr 8, 2010 - 37 comments

Is the Tea Party phenomenon good for (American) Democracy?

Naomi Wolf (previously) in her essay "Tea Time in America", wrote: "...concentration of executive power has threatened America’s system of checks and balances and given the Federal government the authority to spy on citizens, withhold information, and aggressively arrest and even Taser protesters – or to hire private contractors to do so. In these circumstances, the Tea Party activists’ focus on supporting states’ autonomy – and even on property rights and the right to bear arms – can seem like a prescient effort to constrain overweening corporate and military power in national government." [more inside]
posted by blue funk on Apr 5, 2010 - 136 comments

I blame Obama and his terrible gift giving. An iPod and some DVDs? Seriously?

The Special Relationship between the US and the UK is over... Perhaps it never really existed outside of the UK anyway.
posted by Artw on Mar 28, 2010 - 86 comments

The next age of government

While much is being made of dysfunctional government [1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9] and hung parliament [1,2,3,4,5], David Cameron's pitches for a fairer society [1,2,3], smarter policy [1,2,3] and employee ownership [1,2,3,4,5,6,7] have been positively, uh, Obamanian.* [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 5, 2010 - 26 comments

Goodbye Footie.

Michael Foot, leader of the British Labour Party from 1980-83 and principally responsible for the longest suicide note in history, is dead at 96.
posted by unSane on Mar 3, 2010 - 58 comments

Weaponizing Mozart

Weaponizing Mozart - "How Britain is using classical music as a form of social control".
posted by nthdegx on Mar 1, 2010 - 88 comments

Doctor Who and the Overthrow of the Thatcher Goverment

"My exact words were: I’d like to overthrow the government. I was a young firebrand and I wanted to answer honestly. I was very angry about the social injustice in Britain under Thatcher and I’m delighted that came into the show." - former Doctor Who script editor Andrew Cartmel on the shows 80s political stance. Terrance Dicks and Andrew Cartmel on Newsnight. Meanwhile former Doctor David Tennant gives his veiws on the Master-like characteristics of Tory leader David Cameron.
posted by Artw on Feb 16, 2010 - 39 comments

This is not the time to send out a signal like this in some personal fucking sodcast

For quite some time, I’d wanted to make a screwball comedy. A fast-talking, wildly acclerating ensemble comedy that gets stupider and stupider. I never imagined it would be about a war, and inspired by a very recent war at that. But Simon, Jesse, Tony and I all felt that the more we found out about the dysfunction in Washington and the naivety in London leading up to the Iraq invasion, the more obvious it was that the only way to deal accurately and fairly with this topic was as a screwball comedy. - The Oscar nominated script for In The Loop, with an introduction by writer Armando Iannucci.
posted by Artw on Feb 13, 2010 - 33 comments

The People's Manifesto

Comedian and activist, Mark Thomas, has been touring the UK over the past year, compiling a set of policies that his audiences want to see implemented in Britain. As part of the publicity for the resulting book, The People's Manifesto, his publishers are offering to pay one lucky applicant's £500 deposit and campaign expenses to stand for public office at the upcoming general election, on the condition that they will base their campaign on the policies gathered in the book. [more inside]
posted by idiomatika on Feb 9, 2010 - 35 comments

The Economist: The World in 2010

In 2010, Obama will have a miserable year, NATO may lose in Afghanistan, the UK gets a regime change, China needs to chill, India's factories will overtake its farms, Europe risks becoming an irrelevant museum, the stimulus will need an exit strategy, the G20 will see a challenge from the "G2", African football will unite Korea, conflict over natural resources will grow, Sarkozy will be unloved and unrivalled, the kids will come together to solve the world's problems (because their elders are unable), technology will grow ever more ubiquitous, we'll all charge our phones via USB, MBAs will be uncool, the Space Shuttle will be put to rest, and Somalia will be the worst country in the world. And so the Tens begin.

The Economist: The World in 2010. [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Nov 14, 2009 - 60 comments

Ship ahoy, Captain!

You've heard of the Swedish Pirate Party. You may have seen their their elected MEP, and their 50,000 members. You may even have heard of the German Pirate Party's thousand members. But now the Open Rights Group does not stand alone in the UK's digital rights movement. On June 30th, the British Pirate Party was registered. Press reaction is here. [more inside]
posted by jaduncan on Aug 12, 2009 - 47 comments

The Smiler

Tony Blair wants to be president ...of Europe.
posted by Artw on Jul 15, 2009 - 64 comments

Hate Wins

The far-right, whites-only British National Party (BNP) has won two seats (Andrew Brons, Nick Griffin) in the European Parliament. [more inside]
posted by chuckdarwin on Jun 8, 2009 - 224 comments

Pillocks

"The BNP represents Britain's workers? They don't even represent basic British craftsmanship" - a response to the recent political broadcast by the UKs far right extremists the BNP, who are currently trying to exploit expenses scandals hiting the larger parties. Weirdly despite demanding British jobs for British workers their advertising uses American models.
posted by Artw on May 18, 2009 - 83 comments

Ayo Ghurkali

In a landmark defeat for the UK Government, the House of Commons has voted to allow all former and existing Ghurkas the right to live in the UK. [more inside]
posted by Happy Dave on Apr 29, 2009 - 70 comments

Expenses Mashup

Following Home Secretary Jacqui Smith's expenses claim for pornographic films watched by her husband, which came hot on the heels of an investigation into expenses claims for MPs' second homes, the Guardian has published data on each MPs' claims. Now, it's been combined with data from They Work For You to create a map showing MPs' expenses claims, revealing interesting anomalies.
An investigation into MPs' expenses is forthcoming. [Previously]
posted by djgh on Apr 3, 2009 - 25 comments

Post neoliberal or just pre liberal?

"The crisis is an opportunity to sweep away the rotten postwar settlement of British politics. Labour is moribund. But David Cameron has a chance to develop a "red Tory" communitarianism, socially conservative but sceptical of neoliberal economics" [more inside]
posted by doobiedoo on Feb 15, 2009 - 22 comments

I have nothing to declare except my prejudice.

"Let them arrest me". Vehemently anti-Islamic Dutch MP Geert Wilders was scheduled to travel to London tomorrow to attend a screening of his controversial short film Fitna (wiki, mefi). Yesterday however, the UK's Home Secretary notified Wilders that his presence in the UK would pose a "serious threat to [...] public security" (PDF), presumably intending to refuse his entry into UK. Wilders plans to board the flight anyway, daring British authorities to arrest him. [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Feb 11, 2009 - 83 comments

Value Altered Tax

The Tax Gap - "The Guardian will examine the extent of tax avoidance by big business, day-by-day over two weeks. We are naming more than 20 major British companies, and analysing their secretive tax strategies to ask: are they paying their fair share?".
posted by Gyan on Feb 4, 2009 - 34 comments

Can the BBC survive?

A biased shadow of its former self, a waste of money dominated by champagne socialists, a victim of media fragmentation, a political pawn or still the trusted heart of the UK's (and, arguably, the world's) broadcasting world? As scandal after scandal threatens to undermine confidence in the BBC and the voices calling for the dissolution of the licence fee gain a more cohesive platform, can the BBC survive, - is it the solution or the problem, and can the British public really afford to let it die the death of a thousand cuts? On the day after the BBC announces it will put every UK publically owned oil painting online and the Director General talks about the BBC's "special responsibility" to culture in the UK, what should the role of the BBC be and, perhaps more importantly, what should it cost?
posted by MuffinMan on Jan 29, 2009 - 50 comments

We won't be like that again.

Behind The Rent Strike [YouTube playlist; six parts of 50ish min. documentary] Nick Broomfield's graduation piece, a documentary on the 14-month rent strike by the people of Kirkby New Town, near Liverpool, which began in late 1973 in response (it wasn't the only one) to the Heath government's Housing Finance Act. Broomfield gets plenty of insight from local people and examines the social conditions behind the events. Great viewing of good film-making and an opportunity for a bit of nostalgia if you're a viewer from round that way.
posted by Abiezer on Jan 26, 2009 - 8 comments

Politcal Sketch

"As he walks past I am struck by the way, from his default gloomy expression, he constantly flashes his rictus grin at people, like a doomed and slightly out of control belisha beacon" - The Guardian's cartoonist Steve Bell on drawing Gordon 'Gordy' Brown (video). He's in the process of producing a number of sketchbooks covering the conference season - Liberal Democrat, Labour 1, Labour 2. And he covered this year's Democrat and Republican conventions and also visited 'Manifest Hope' (video), an art exhibition based around images of Barack Obama. Previously.
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Sep 25, 2008 - 9 comments

"If it isn't doom it'll do until a proper doom comes along."

The Tories first by-election win in over twenty-five years... the end of New Labour?
posted by fearfulsymmetry on May 23, 2008 - 50 comments

Boris Johnson for mayor?

Stop Boris Johnson? [more inside]
posted by bwerdmuller on Apr 20, 2008 - 58 comments

Chris Lightfoot - "a one man think-tank"

It's a year since the untimely death of Chris Lightfoot. He had a remarkable combination of political commitment and technical expertise that led him to develop sites such as WriteToThem and Pledgebank for the splendid political and social software group, MySociety. His political writing brings a sharp and sarcastic wit to bear on such subjects as the Iraq war, and ID cards. There are also some good rants. A sad loss to British society.
posted by crocomancer on Feb 11, 2008 - 6 comments

Big man with a big heart does his part

Mark Wallinger has won the Turner Prize for 'State Britain' his recreation of Brian Haw's Parliament Square peace protest. [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Dec 5, 2007 - 12 comments

"He'd zap the programme off and holler/ 'Go and read some Emile Zola."

Boris Johnson, poet.
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Nov 9, 2007 - 16 comments

MRSA... the global medical communities dirty little secret.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. In 2005, invasive MRSA infections were estimated to have killed 18,650 in the United States alone. This may be a conservative estimate. It is going global. It is changing politics. It may become pandemic. [more inside]
posted by PROD_TPSL on Oct 17, 2007 - 113 comments

The Men of Kent are suspect

Two recent reports on immigration in the UK, a published study on its economic effects, and an expert panel report on its and public service consequences, paint very different pictures. Not that the press need logic or evidence: they made their minds up about those Poles a long time ago, like people did about the West Indians, Bangladeshis and Jews . Is a rational debate on immigration even possible?
posted by athenian on Oct 16, 2007 - 18 comments

Northern Ireland: Operation Banner Ends

Operation Banner [Wikipedia], the British Armed Forces' campaign in Northern Ireland that began in 1969, ended midnight on July 31, 2007. The period included Bloody Sunday in which 13 civilians were killed by the British Army. The Guardian have published a summary of significant events (and one going further back). In pictures: Guardian, BBC.
posted by nthdegx on Aug 1, 2007 - 10 comments

Boris Johnson's Mayoral application form

Examples of challenges faced: "Negotiating Hyde Park corner by bicycle. Outcome: survival." This and more from Boris Johnson's London Mayoral candidacy application [PDF] to the Conservative Party. thelondonpaper is not impressed that he submitted a handwritten form.
posted by nthdegx on Jul 31, 2007 - 28 comments

Bojo fo' Lo' M'o'

"Even the greatest cities have further greatness in them. I will stand for a greater London and for putting the smile back on London's face." Boris Johnson announces his candidacy for Mayor of London, though he is yet to be endorsed by the Conservative Party. Though decidedly right wing in his views (this clip, perhaps more than any other summarises his view on Europe, for example) his very English brand of buffoonery lends him unique appeal (though not universally).
posted by nthdegx on Jul 16, 2007 - 44 comments

Today's Adventures of Spinspin: Alistair Campbell's media whirlwind

Tony Blair's ex-Master of Spin and closest adviser is on a media whirlwind promoting his diary. Campbell's apparently straight talking nature gives the prospects of some tantalizing insight into the inner workings of number 10 for the majority of Blair's premiership. He's not getting it all his own way, though. BBC Radio 4's John Humphrey's on the Today Programme (Real audio) (MP3) was more interested in the failings of a government and political movement for which he was an architect and key player, and particularly Campbell's legacy of elevating the role of spin in British politics, even in the inner working of government, allegedly sexing up an intelligence dossier in order to make a more compelling case for war in Iraq (See 10 ways to sex up a dossier). The Guardian, in an article titled Did he mean me?, invited some of those named in his diaries to give feedback, or should that be biteback?
posted by nthdegx on Jul 11, 2007 - 7 comments

Unpopular premier slams popular press

The UK media is like a "Feral Beast", and is undermining Britain, says Tony Blair. Simon Kelner, editor of The Independent, responds. Some reasons why Blair might not be too keen on the press.
posted by Artw on Jun 12, 2007 - 21 comments

Because You Loved Me

BBC Filter: Asked whether he was "partly to blame" for Mr Blair's departure, Mr Bush joked: "I haven't polled the Labour conference, but, could be." ... And he rounded on British journalists asking about Mr Blair's retirement, accusing them of trying to "tap dance on the prime minister's grave". At least they'll always have Iraq. One wonders if he and Mr Brown will also have a special relationship.
posted by chuckdarwin on May 17, 2007 - 36 comments

Tony Blair tells Cabinet he will quit.

Tony Blair tells Cabinet he will quit.
posted by plep on May 10, 2007 - 89 comments

Question Time

So, how is that whole Iraq thing working out for you, Tony? What's going on with Scotland? Is the rise of the SNP your party's fault? Are they laying the groundwork for Scottish independence?
posted by chuckdarwin on May 4, 2007 - 81 comments

davebones' London protest videos

Youtube user davebones goes to London demos, protests and gatherings. His videos demonstrate the complexity of issues, calling into question the credibility of television news which tends to portray the same events in black and white terms. While his blog sets a clear agenda, his commentary-free videos are accessible to people regardless of their viewpoint.
posted by nthdegx on Mar 31, 2007 - 2 comments

Question Time

Question Time Iraq Special (Skip to 04:45 to begin). Question Time is a British TV institution, where five prominent politicians debate current affairs while being questioned by a studio audience. The Iraq edition, available online, features the British Secretary of State for Defence, a popular, anti-war former party leader, the aristocratic old socialist leading the Stop-the-War coalition, the first female leader of a Muslim state … and John Bolton.
posted by Aloysius Bear on Mar 22, 2007 - 34 comments

"Number one, Mr. Speaker"

Prime Minister's Questions is a weekly televised convention in the UK started in the 1950s during which Members of Parliament get a chance to hold their leader accountable for his or her actions. Sick of boring political meetings? "PMQ" is fast-paced, hip, heated, eloquent, insulting, and sometimes hilarious. In fact, the inherant humor of it is has been well explored.

But brits aren't the only ones; "Question Time", as it's called generically, has been adapted in other countries as well. Yet the show often shocks Americans since the concept of weekly unscripted access to leaders without giving days of question prep-time seems like a fantasy. Of course, maybe the alternative (0:41) is much worse.
posted by TimeTravelSpeed on Dec 5, 2006 - 63 comments

Dot-comservative party?

Webcameron. David Cameron, leader of the Conservative party in the UK, reaches out to the Youtube generation.
posted by greycap on Sep 30, 2006 - 53 comments

Spectre: Families of bereaved British servicemen to stand against pro-war politicians

"Families of soldiers killed in Iraq launch party to challenge ministers". Reg Keys, father of a British serviceman killed in the Iraq War, stood directly against Tony Blair in his Sedgefield constituency as an independent candidate (see Wikipedia for a brief summary of independent movements in the UK, USA and Canada) in the 2005 UK election, taking 10% of the vote. A founder member of Military Families Against The War, he is also at the centre of a new political movement, Spectre, that aim to stand up to 70 members of bereaved families directly against pro-war government and cabinet members in the 2009 election, and each by-election before then. See also the Guardian's Guide to anti-war websites.
posted by nthdegx on Aug 6, 2006 - 17 comments

Reefer Madness Undone?

"The system for classifying illegal drugs in Britain, which determines how users are punished, is unscientific and illogical and should be completely overhauled", according to a new report. See updated chart on the harm potential of various drugs.
posted by daksya on Jul 31, 2006 - 31 comments

Karma karma karma karma chameeeeleeonnn

Britain's New Labour have very short memories!

They are trying to persuade people to vote for them by highlighting exactly how they got in to power themselves as being a fault in the Conservative Party
posted by catchmurray on Apr 19, 2006 - 35 comments

the most caricatured president ever?

'He's God's gift to today's political cartoonist': Misunderestimating the President through Cartoons, an exhibition of the work of leading political cartoonists from both the UK and the United States focusing on their depictions of George Bush, opens today in London at the Political Cartoon Gallery. Watch the video report from Channel 4 and read essays on the history of political cartoons.
posted by funambulist on Jan 26, 2006 - 8 comments

Nick Robinson's poltical blog

Nick Robinson, the BBC's political editor, now has a weblog.
posted by nthdegx on Jan 8, 2006 - 33 comments

An end to apathy

UK politics filter: WriteToThem.com tells you who your MP, MEPs, MSPs, and Welsh and London Assembly members are, and will send letters to them on your behalf. All you need is your postcode. It's a service of MySociety.org, the charity behind PledgeBank, where you can promise to do something worthwhile if other people join in (last seen here in June — please sign up to save Christopher Robbin). The charity's latest project, HearFromYourMP.com, lobbies MPs to provide regular email updates to their constituents, like this one.
posted by londonmark on Dec 15, 2005 - 10 comments

A House full of insults: an informal look at the history of parliamentary put-downs

A House full of insults is an informal look at the history of parliamentary put-downs and their inconsistent consequences in Britain's House of Commons.
posted by nthdegx on Dec 11, 2005 - 22 comments

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