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When Adam Smith and Karl Marx agree...

Ha-Joon Chang on why separating politics from economic policies is bad for democracy. What free-market economists are not telling us is that the politics they want to get rid of are none other than those of democracy itself. When they say we need to insulate economic policies from politics, they are in effect advocating the castration of democracy. (Related FPP.)
posted by asnider on May 9, 2013 - 13 comments

The Rain in Westeros Falls Mainly in the Riverlands

What Is Going on With the Accents in Game of Thrones? Gawker beanplates the accents used on-screen by the actors in Game of Thrones. Like most fantasy television shows, Game of Thrones is largely populated by English actors speaking with English accents. This is because Americans are still unconvinced that England is a real country, and associate English speech patterns with kings and magic and sorcery and frequent stabbings. [more inside]
posted by snuffleupagus on May 7, 2013 - 267 comments

Badger badger badgering the Cameron government!

Dr. Brian May, CBE, PhD FRAS, recently retired Chancellor of LJMU, winner of The RPS' Saxby Award for achievements in the field of stereoscopic photography, distinguished author, lecturer, film producer, entrepreneur, and occasional musician has been quite busy lately trying to prevent a sweeping cull of the British badger population. His efforts have been surprisingly successful. The overwhelming response to his government petition led to a parliamentary debate, where MPs overwhelmingly rejected the cull in a non-binding vote. The government has attempted to press forward with the cull, but has faced significant resistance from scientists, naturalists, and concerned citizens that have led to implementation delays. The movement recently got the attention of Weebl, who has recorded a rough cut of a new song with Brian May called "Save the Badger Badger Badger" which was recently used in a flash mob protest. The final version will include additional vocals by Brian Blessed.
posted by markkraft on May 6, 2013 - 29 comments

Viewing is mandatory, citizen!

Judge Minty is a fan film based on a minor character from the comic 2000AD's story Judge Dredd
posted by fearfulsymmetry on May 6, 2013 - 17 comments

jittery UK government reveals itself before potential claims of former v

Mau Mau to Midnapore: Confronting the brutality of empire There are certainly some Britons, including academics, journalists and human rights lawyers, who are aware of the realities of colonialism. However, in the society as a whole and in the media in the UK there are still far too many who seem strangely reluctant, even after so many decades after the end of the British empire, to come to terms with the true nature of colonialism or learn from the perspective of former subjects who had rebelled against it.
posted by infini on May 6, 2013 - 17 comments

To eat, or not to eat and maybe pay the gas bill instead

Which? poll says many 'borrowing money for food' - "One in five UK households borrowed money or used savings to cover food costs in April, a Which? survey says. It suggests the equivalent of five million households used credit cards, overdrafts or savings to buy food." [BBC]
posted by marienbad on May 5, 2013 - 11 comments

Imagining and sharing desires and fears about the future is a way for

Since time immemorial, people have tried to predict the future. In the second half of the 20th century, these efforts grew more ambitious and sophisticated. Improvements in computational power, data gathering, and analysis were all put to work to try to lift the veil on the future. But the last decade has not been kind to futurology. Bankers' and insurers' forecasts of risk turned out to be drastically wrong, torpedoing the financial system and ushering in a long stagnation. Politicians' visions of long-term stable economic growth evaporated. Perhaps relatedly, scathing critiques of our ability to foresee the future rose to the top of bestseller lists. In this newly self-conscious mood, Nesta funded research that tries to get under the surface of different ways of talking about the future. This paper leans on that research, defending some forms of futurology. Accompanying Guardian post on uncertainty being the only certainty.
posted by infini on May 4, 2013 - 13 comments

UK Shires only Local Election Results

Local Elections in the Shires of England took place yesterday. With the results now counted, the gruaniad's panel of Simon Jenkins, Jonathan Freedland, Polly Toynbee and John Harris review the results.
David Cameron : "pledges 'to work hard to win back' voters", and (on UKIP) : 'No good insulting party people have chosen'.
Nigel Farage (UKIP): "a 'game changer'".
David Milliband : "pleased with local election results."
Prior to the election :The gruaniad speculated.
posted by marienbad on May 3, 2013 - 54 comments

"Shortfall fears for interest-only mortgage holders"

"More than a million people with interest-only mortgages face a financial crunch when they have to pay them off, a watchdog is warning. Some 2.6 million UK householders have the mortgages but the Financial Conduct Authority said estimates suggested that nearly half would not have savings or other funds to cover the final bill. The average shortfall is £71,000, according to FCA research." Gruaniad version.
posted by marienbad on May 2, 2013 - 28 comments

FOOD FLASH - There's spud in your eye!

The Ministry Of Food was a British government ministerial posts separated from that of the Minister of Agriculture. A major task of the latter office was to oversee rationing in the United Kingdom arising out of World War II. They made many newsreels and PSAs to inform the citizenry how to use the food rationing system: Rationing is introduced in 1939 The new ration books are coming! Cod Liver Oil Here's spud in your eye Don't cut that bread! DON'T WASTE FOOD! Dig For Victory! Milk is here! In addition, some short films instructed people in how to best use the new rationing system : Two Cooks And A Cabbage How To Make Tea Rabbit Pie Buying black market meat: a Partner in CRIME A US view explaining UK rationing to the States.
posted by The Whelk on Apr 30, 2013 - 15 comments

Ownership of your digital works is no longer automatic in the UK

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act changes UK copyright law so that only a "diligent search" for ownership is required before a work is considered "orphaned", and put into extended collective licensing. This is one part of a larger act that is supposed to "modernise the UK’s copyright regime to promote innovation in the design industry, encouraging investment in new products while strengthening copyright protections. " Pundits are comparing this to Instagram's assertion of ownership over its users' works last year.
posted by boo_radley on Apr 29, 2013 - 24 comments

Cerebral palsy isn't funny, but 14 year old kid w/ cerebral palsy is

"In comedy, a lot of times, your weaknesses are your strengths". [SLYT]
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey on Apr 24, 2013 - 27 comments

Peace is liberty in tranquillity

The UK Peace Index [PDF], a new publication from The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), has produced a startling new headline: against public perceptions of crime, both crime and homicide have fallen significantly. The fall over the last decade has resulted in the UK homicide rate now being roughly equivalent to that of the Western European average, and it is now at its lowest level since 1978. [more inside]
posted by MuffinMan on Apr 24, 2013 - 30 comments

His home is his castle

This St. George's Day sees news of the next attempt to redress Britain's superhero shortage: Englishman, who looks like Iron Man crossed with a mediaeval crusader. The series promises “brand new, quintessentially English characters, including Greenbelt and Dry Stone Wall”. [more inside]
posted by acb on Apr 23, 2013 - 119 comments

Meet The Edwardians

"This video has been dramatically enhanced in quality, using modern video editing tools. The film has been motion stabilized and the speed has been slowed down to correct speed (from 18 fps to 24 fps) using special frame interpolation software that re-creates missing frames." Watch corrected and cleaned footage of circa 1900s London and Cork (5 min 35 sec). (via)
posted by The Whelk on Apr 18, 2013 - 112 comments

Dom's laptop is in Iran.

It's still there. A tale of loss.
posted by colie on Apr 11, 2013 - 49 comments

Enter, Stranger

How we made Knightmare The creator and the dungeon master of the 1980s fantasy game show revisit dodgy technology and terrified children. The wikipedia entry explains more. Knightmare mentioned previously on mefi
posted by lalochezia on Apr 9, 2013 - 19 comments

All Your TV Are Belong To Us

More than five years after it was first announced, it looks like beloved British 1970s/80s science-fiction show Blake's 7 (previously) is coming back to television. The story about the innocent freedom fighter framed for sex crimes against children and his criminal compatriots fighting the Authoritarian Federation is getting a fresh lick of paint at SyFy. It will be directed by Casino Royale and Green Lantern director Martin Campbell. But should it return? [more inside]
posted by Mezentian on Apr 9, 2013 - 110 comments

Bye bye Boris

London mayor (and oft talked-up potential future PM) Boris Johnson is demolished in a slow motion bicycle crash of an interview. (The whole thing)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Mar 25, 2013 - 92 comments

Her Name was Lucy Meadows

Popular transgender Lancashire teacher Lucy Meadows was found dead last Tuesday. Blame has quickly fallen on an inflammatory Daily Mail article by Richard Littlejohn, which has lead to a petition to sack the writer. Is this fair? Jane Fae at the New Statesman says it doesn't matter, while the New Scostsman calls it 'monstering'. The f word blog and the Guardian have longer articles on the case and the issues surrounding it.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants on Mar 24, 2013 - 72 comments

Feeling guilty never helps

The Guardian collects parents biggest regrets.
posted by Gilgongo on Mar 22, 2013 - 43 comments

I do believe in ghosts: life after death is too important to trivialise.

RIP British horror writer James Herbert, author of the modern classic of the genre The Rats among many others. [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Mar 20, 2013 - 24 comments

Operation Overlord

PhotosNormandie is a collaborative collection of more than 3,000 royalty-free photos from World War II's Battle of Normandy and its aftermath. (Photos date from June 6 to late August 1944). The main link goes to the photostream. You can also peruse sets, which include 2700+ images from the US and Canadian National Archives.
posted by zarq on Mar 19, 2013 - 12 comments

Ideas for software that will change the world for better/worse.

Blackmailr. Super Goodinator. Two new apps that will transform your life. [more inside]
posted by dubold on Mar 12, 2013 - 31 comments

A very Pyrrhic victory

9 years and 364 days ago, the then MEP (and later cabinet minister), Chris Huhne caught a flight back from Brussels to London Stansted, landing at 10.27pm. He picked up his car, with the distinctive number plate H11HNE, and sped back to his home in Clapham, South London, setting in motion a chain of events that would ultimately see him and his wife, economist Vicky Pryce, each sentenced to 8 months in jail. [more inside]
posted by MuffinMan on Mar 11, 2013 - 83 comments

Brass in the blood: UK coal miner brass bands, and bands world-wide

In the United Kingdom, many brass bands were started by colliery owners, and funded in part by the coal miners themselves. Some of those bands live on, after the coal pits have been closed for years. These bands are facing hard times, with limited funding and waning interest in the music, but some youth join bands to continue family traditions, and the government provides some funding to numerous bands. If you'd like to know more about brass bands in the UK and around the world, Internet Bandsman's Everything Within (IBEW) has tons of material, links to bands in the UK and elsewhere as well as a list of extinct bands and vintage brass band pictures, local events and radio shows, recordings, and plenty more.
posted by filthy light thief on Mar 10, 2013 - 22 comments

Observing the 80s

Joe Moran reflects on the 1980s: "We like to give decades a uniform character as they retreat into history, safely burying the past by turning it into retro kitsch. The Observing the 1980s project is valuable because it does not treat the decade like this, as a story we already know the ending to. Instead it becomes an era of still-to-be-decided tensions and possibilities - one in which people sincerely people that David Steel might be prime minister (“my pin-up!” says one Mass Observer), that Margaret Thatcher might lose an election, or that the neo-liberal economic revolution might still be reversed. How I miss that sense of earnestness – and I mean that without a trace of irony." [more inside]
posted by Gilgongo on Feb 27, 2013 - 7 comments

Two wheels bad, four wheels good

Following a parent-governor meeting at North Downs Primary School last Thursday, pupils will be banned from cycling and walking to two primary school sites over fears it would be too dangerous.
posted by unSane on Feb 25, 2013 - 49 comments

Scandinavia or bust. Quite possibly literally.

Bloomberg: "Britain [UK] lost its top credit rating by Moody’s Investors Service, which cited weakness in the nation’s growth outlook and challenges to the government’s fiscal consolidation program. The rating on the U.K. was lowered one level to AA1 from AAA and the outlook on the nation’s debt changed to stable from negative, Moody’s said in a statement yesterday." [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Feb 23, 2013 - 50 comments

The Everyday Sexism Project

The Everyday Sexism Project collects user-submitted reports from women to document their day-to-day experiences with normalized sexism, including sexual harassment and job discrimination. Entries can be submitted at the site, in an email to founder Laura Bates or to their twitter account. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 20, 2013 - 200 comments

Why have the white British left London?

"With a time-lapse camera, it would appear that London is pulsing as generations and ethnic groups move up and move out." The BBC reports that something quite remarkable happened in London in the first decade of the new millennium. The number of white British people in the capital fell by 620,000 - equivalent to the entire population of Glasgow moving out. [more inside]
posted by iffley on Feb 20, 2013 - 47 comments

It's a Mash-Up...in a Sausage and Mash Shop...

Cockney English, once frowned upon as an unsavory dialect in the UK, has endured over the centuries, becoming a hallmark of London's East End culture. Though the demographics of that area have changed within recent decades, the rhyming slang of old still persists in that region's streets - on ATM machines.
posted by Smart Dalek on Feb 14, 2013 - 8 comments

The Other 11 Doctors

An alternate history of Women cast as of Doctor Who
posted by Artw on Feb 9, 2013 - 86 comments

Fortress UK

The Last Stand - the remains of the Britain's coastal defences photographed by Marc Wilson.
posted by Artw on Feb 5, 2013 - 24 comments

There were four in the bed and the little one said "squeeze up"

From April 2013 all working-age housing benefit claimants will experience a reduction in their benefit if their home has what is termed a 'spare bedroom'. Some people have a problem with this, and it is believed it will plunge 95,000 Britons into poverty. Prime Minister David Cameron has defended the tax saying it is important to "get control of housing benefit". Some who voted for the tax claim to have never heard of it, even though there are some high profile cases in the media detailing how people will suffer. The Bedroom Tax might be targeting the poor, but there may be a Mansion Tax in the planning stages to help balance the scales -- or not. It's a modern Window Tax!
posted by Mezentian on Feb 3, 2013 - 121 comments

Henry the VIII's Wine Cellar

Who knew that Henry the VIII's wine cellar was preserved inside the Ministry of Defense building? [more inside]
posted by zzazazz on Feb 2, 2013 - 15 comments

The Streets Aren't Paved With Gold, Even Under All the Vomit

One point needs to be made clear. It's not that the British government dislikes Bulgarians or Romanians; somebody needs to pick up the slack now the Polish builders have become too expensive. They're just worried that people in Budapest or Sofia don't know that Britain is, well, a bit shit, that you can't find a decent goulash for love nor money and that you may just not like it there. So they're proposing an ad campaign to warn of the dangers of living in Britain. Knowning that in this, its darkest hour, their country needs them, Guardian readers have responded in their literal dozens to contribute ad ideas. It's not as if they're short on material, after all.
posted by MartinWisse on Jan 30, 2013 - 102 comments

If you want art, don't mess about with movies. Buy a Picasso.

RIP Michael Winner, director of the Death Wish series among others, restaurant critic, Esure advert star (remix) and clean underpants wearer.
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jan 21, 2013 - 24 comments

Amazon Sounds £13.99

Last One Falling - photographer Amy Connolly documented the last days of a Liverpool branch of HMV whilst working there in 2011, a stark contrast to the images of the flagship store in the sixties and seventies (previously). The chain yesterday announced it was entering administration after 91 years on the high street. [more inside]
posted by mippy on Jan 15, 2013 - 29 comments

Is antigingerism a hate crime?

In the New Statesman, Nelson Jones argues that prejudice against red-haired people in Britain should be addressed by hate crime legislation. [more inside]
posted by acb on Jan 15, 2013 - 114 comments

The sale of the century

How We Happened to Sell Off Our Electricity is James Meek's dissection of the systematic re-privatisation of the UK power industry.
Are you an enemy of liberal principles if you question the fact that, when local electrical engineers dig up the roads in London, they’re working for East Asia’s richest man, the Hong Kong-based Li Ka-shing? In north-east England, they work for Warren Buffett; in Birmingham, Cardiff and Plymouth, the Pennsylvania Power and Light Company; in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Liverpool, Iberdrola; in Manchester, a consortium of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and a J.P. Morgan investment fund.

posted by scruss on Jan 10, 2013 - 20 comments

British Problems

A few select posts from the politest, most quietly despairing subreddit, r/Britishproblems (background)
posted by The Whelk on Jan 9, 2013 - 76 comments

Persistence prays

Chagos Islanders Lose the European Court Battle but the Struggle Continues Former residents of the Chagos Islands have lost their latest legal bid for the right to return following a European ruling. What next for the islanders? James Wan recaps the decades long struggle and the implications of the latest ruling on the fate of the former residents of Diego Garcia. Previously in 2002, 2003 2006 and some archives.
posted by infini on Jan 5, 2013 - 32 comments

So I voted for an axe-murderer

A new MP, Gloria De Piero was taken aback by how many people despised her because of her new profession. So she took to the streets to find out why. [more inside]
posted by smoke on Jan 2, 2013 - 20 comments

Michael Buerk Attacks BBC, the media, the privately educated, and inequality

Michael Buerk: ""The arts, low and high, are dominated by them. The BBC is a private-school old boys' and girls' association. They edit most newspapers, even the Leftish Daily Mirror and the Guardian", he wrote."

Buerk also criticised the BBC's coverage of the Jubilee : "saying it was "cringingly inept" and had left him ashamed."

Michael Buerk rants about the BBC, the media and the UK.
posted by marienbad on Dec 31, 2012 - 54 comments

Not like the other bands

Teeth of the Sea are a quartet of clean-cut young men from North London. They work in shops. Together, they make a near indescribable noise, a bit like Sketches of Spain-era Miles Davis recordings reimagined by slightly scary, 30-something metalheads with a thing for Euro-sleaze cinema, cheap lager, philosophy and noise rock. They are, genuinely, not like other bands. [more inside]
posted by Sonny Jim on Dec 31, 2012 - 9 comments

Cherokee, Dirty Harry and Big Billy

1973 news report on the training of Glasgow bouncers, This Week: Documentary about 1960s Glasgow Gangs
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Dec 26, 2012 - 7 comments

Poverty in the UK during the 1930s

"Yet when I went before the Public Assistance Committee [to plead for more benefit] they asked me if the baby was being breast-fed and when I said yes, they reduced the allowance for a child.' [Daily Mail - Although not their usual fare].
posted by marienbad on Dec 25, 2012 - 12 comments

Who! Who! Who! Merry Christmas!

This year's festive Doctor Who Christmas episode will feature a new companion, a new theme tune and title sequence and a new look to the Tardis interior! But look out for those scary Snowmen! [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Dec 24, 2012 - 121 comments

Come on ladies!

The UK Christmas No.1 spot in recent years remains dominated by reality jugganaut The X-Factor, despite a successful campaign to get a nice sweary number to the top spot (previously) and a surprise challenge from some singing spouses. This year the Cowell complanceny is being challenged by a charity single to support victims of the Hillsborough disaster - but there's a dark horse, or should that be...a dark fish?
posted by mippy on Dec 21, 2012 - 11 comments

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