Let's admit it: Britain is now a developing country.
Gender equality? The WEF ranks us behind Nicaragua and Lesotho. Investment by business? The Economist thinks we are struggling to keep up with Mali. Let me put it more broadly, Britain is a rich country accruing many of the stereotypical bad habits of a developing country.
Aditya Chakrabortty discusses the increasing hollowing out of the UK economy, as well as the City as an economically distorting resource curse.
posted by jaduncan
on Dec 10, 2013 -
"There are six bookmakers, one more is on its way, and five loan shops. Even if you are on JSA you can borrow money from Speedy Cash. It's the main business around here.Take dole, turn it into weed, sell them, take your profits and put them into the machines. If you win, you are quids in. If you lose, you get cash from the money shops to cover your losses. Back to dole and buying drugs. There's nothing else around here to do."
-- How betting machines help small time drug dealers launder their profits
and how this is about the only economic activity keeping the poorest local economies in Britain going. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse
on Nov 12, 2013 -
Ayn Rand: More Relevant Now than Ever
The speaker was the CEO of Saxo Bank, Lars Seier Christensen. As the head of an investment bank based in socialist Denmark, Christensen is particularly enraged by high taxation, social welfare and banking regulation. "The world is on the wrong track," he told us. "A malady that has long beset Europe is currently spreading to the US". Apparently we are experiencing a "socialist revival" to which "Ayn Rand is the only answer".
posted by urbanwhaleshark
on Nov 1, 2013 -
In the mid-1920s, Claude Friese-Greene filmed The Open Road
, a record of his journey through Britain, using the 'Biocolour'
technique first developed by his father William. Eighty years later, the BFI produced a digital version of the preserved and restored
We've seen London in 1926
previously on MeFi
, but there's plenty more of The Open Road
to see, including weavers in Kilbarchan
(1:16), farmers harvesting with oxen in Cirencester
(0:52), Glamorgan coal-miners
(0:46), and more. [more inside]
posted by Catseye
on Jun 17, 2013 -
The year was 1986, and Lynda had just joined a small cadre of female engineers working for FI, a groundbreaking IT firm that laid the foundations for outsourced development and women’s rights in the workplace.
The company, originally called Freelance Programmers, was founded in the early 1960s by Stephanie Shirley, a German who had been evacuated to Britain — along with many fellow Jewish children — as part of the kindertransport shortly before the Second World War.
Gender equality is still a major issue in the technology industry, but 50 years ago one British company was blazing trails
posted by Foci for Analysis
on Jun 1, 2013 -
Dr. Brian May
, PhD FRAS
, recently retired Chancellor
, winner of The RPS' Saxby Award
for achievements in the field of stereoscopic photography, distinguished author
, film producer
, 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 -
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 -
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 -
The Story of the Turban (slyt)
is a 38 minute documentary on the history of the Sikh community in 20th century Britain as embodied by the struggle to be allowed to wear the turban in all walks of life.
posted by salishsea
on Apr 3, 2013 -
Legacies of British Slave-ownership
, which went live on February 27, 2013, tracks what became of the twenty million pounds set aside to compensate British slave owners in the Act for the Abolition of Slavery throughout the British Colonies
(1833). Users have a variety of search options that can yield results according to individuals, businesses, countries, and so on. The site tracks compensated owners through their contributions to the arts, politics, entrepreneurship, and governance; some owners have extensive biographical notes. A number of the site's revelations about slave-owning families and the extent of their compensation have already attracted comment
. [more inside]
posted by thomas j wise
on Feb 27, 2013 -
is a town in North West England that did not progress beyond 1979. Instead, the entire decade of the 1970s loops ad infinitum. Here in Scarfolk, pagan rituals blend seamlessly with science; hauntology is a compulsory subject at school, and everyone must be in bed by 8pm because they are perpetually running a slight fever. "Visit Scarfolk today. Our number one priority is keeping rabies at bay." Join their Learn To Swim
program, and enjoy the song that won 2nd place in the 1974 Scarfolk Harvest Festival, Dormin Slowly Died With The Radio On
posted by Jimbob
on Feb 18, 2013 -
The British and their bizarre view of American.
"So, while from afar America may seem, to the Briton, a bewildering and Brobdingnagian phenomenon, close up and personal, the Americans themselves take on the more familiar Lilliputian lineaments of his own countrymen and women." Will Self takes a look at the ambivalent relationship the British has with the USA.
posted by zoo
on Jan 6, 2013 -
It took 15 years, but, as the Guardian reports, the feud between writers Salman Rushdie and John le Carre is at an end
posted by subdee
on Nov 14, 2012 -
How Things Fell Apart
, By Chinua Achebe - 'In an excerpt from his long-awaited memoir, the inventor of the post-colonial African novel in English discusses his origins as a writer and the seeds of revolt against the British Empire.'
I can say that my whole artistic career was probably sparked by this tension between the Christian religion of my parents, which we followed in our home, and the retreating, older religion of my ancestors, which fortunately for me was still active outside my home. I still had access to a number of relatives who had not converted to Christianity and were called heathens by the new converts. When my parents were not watching I would often sneak off in the evenings to visit some of these relatives. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Oct 25, 2012 -
The story of British art From the earliest evocative stone structures at Skara Brae and Stonehenge to the disturbing 20th-century portraits by Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud, the art inspired by the British isles tells a truly spectacular story. Through painting, sculpture, architecture and much more, immerse yourself in the best of critic Jonathan Jones's epic survey of the artworks that have made us who we are interactive
posted by fearfulsymmetry
on Oct 10, 2012 -
As you turn eyes to London to watch this year's Olympics, you might be surprised to find out that the City of London
has a population of about 11,000 and is only one square mile. [more inside]
posted by eye of newt
on Jul 26, 2012 -
Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corp., repeatedly lobbied Tony Blair to invade Iraq.
In the days leading up to the invasion, Tony Blair's Director of Communications wrote that "(Blair) took a call from Murdoch who was pressing on timings, saying how News International would support us, etc. Both TB and I felt it was prompted by Washington, and another example of their over-crude diplomacy. Murdoch was pushing all the Republican buttons, how the longer we waited the harder it got."
The phone call in question took place just days before a crucial vote on Iraq
, and was one of three personal calls from Murdoch that Blair received in that week alone.
Blair recently testified, admitting an "unhealthy" level of closeness
with Murdoch, oftentimes communicating more with him than with his own ministers.
In the first 19 days following the invasion of Iraq, Rupert Murdoch's Fox News averaged 3.3 million viewers, a 236% increase from the weeks preceding the war
. Huge increases in newspaper sales
were seen throughout his global media empire
, with advertising revenue soaring to record levels. That empire now faces serious calls for it to be broken up
posted by markkraft
on Jun 16, 2012 -
In the wake of their grunge-y breakout hit "Creep"
and the success of sophomore record The Bends
, Thom Yorke and the rest of Radiohead
were under pressure to deliver once more.
So they shut themselves away inside the echoing halls of a secluded 16th century manor
and got to work.
What emerged from that crumbling Elizabethan castle fifteen years ago today was a shockingly ambitious masterpiece of progressive rock, a visionary concept album that explored the "fridge buzz" of modernity
-- alienation, social disconnection, existential dread, the impersonal hum of technology
-- through a mosaic of challenging
, eerily beautiful
music unlike anything else at the time.
Tentatively called Ones and Zeroes
, then Your Home May Be at Risk If You Do Not Keep Up Payments
, the band finally settled on OK Computer
, an appropriately enigmatic title for this acclaimed
harbinger of millennial angst. For more, you can watch the retrospective OK Computer: A Classic Album Under Review
for a track-by-track rundown, or the unsettling documentary Meeting People is Easy
for a look at how the album's whirlwind tour nearly gave Yorke a nervous breakdown
. Or look inside for more details and cool interpretations of all the tracks -- including an upcoming MeFi Music Challenge! [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Jun 16, 2012 -