After a trade dispute, Grangemouth plant
will remain open. Just another case of a greedy union almost driving a company out of business? Perhaps not. Robin McAlpine argues
that this case underlines the broken nature of British industry and its relationship with the unions, as well as the media's ability to report on stories outside of London
posted by Cannon Fodder
on Oct 25, 2013 -
"In Victorian England,
getting a job was all about who you knew, [but] Charles Trevelyan, the permanent secretary to the Treasury 1840-59, was horrified by the Barnacle types in the civil service, once describing a colleague, as a "gentleman who really could neither read nor write, he was almost an idiot"."
posted by marienbad
on Jul 23, 2013 -
Conservative MPs have drawn up an “Alternative Queen’s Speech” with radical policies
- "The 42 bills also include legislation to scrap wind farm subsidies, end the ringfence for foreign aid spending and rename the late August Bank Holiday “Margaret Thatcher Day”.
Britain’s relationship with Europe features prominently in the action plan, with draft laws setting out how the UK would leave the European Union and a Bill to prevent Bulgarians and Romanians winning new rights to work, live and claim benefits here from next year.
All of the proposals were laid before the House of Commons last night after the Tory backbenchers hijacked an obscure Parliamentary procedure by camping out in Westminster for four successive nights." [more inside]
posted by marienbad
on Jun 21, 2013 -
In 1985, McDonalds sued left-wing activists in the UK for libel over a pamphlet accusing the multinational food giant of environmental destruction, abuses of workers' rights and selling junk food. The ensuing trial became the longest-running civil trial in English history, ending in 1997 in a Pyrrhic victory for McDonalds, who had lost millions of pounds in pursuing the case, and won £40,000 for their trouble. (The judgment was later overturned in the European Court of Human Rights.) Now, it has been revealed that the leaflet in question had been co-written by an undercover police officer assigned to infiltrate Greenpeace
. The officer in question, Bob Lambert, had previously spent years infiltrating environmental groups, even fathering children with activists
before disappearing. [more inside]
posted by acb
on Jun 21, 2013 -
"The government’s plans for deficit reduction
have increasingly stark implications for public spending as their deadline draws nearer, according to new Resolution Foundation analysis.
While overall expenditure is set to remain relatively flat in 2015-16 (the period covered by the latest Spending Review) the pace of reduction in total government spending is due to increase significantly in the two subsequent year"
posted by marienbad
on Jun 20, 2013 -
Recession prompted 'unprecedented' fall in wages -
Wages have fallen more in real terms in the current economic downturn than ever before, according to a report.
On top of the rising cost of living, a third of workers who stayed in the same job saw a wage cut or freeze between 2010 and 2011, said the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).
"The falls in nominal wages... during this recession are unprecedented," said Claire Crawford from the IFS.
Labour said the figures showed there was a "living-standards crisis".
posted by marienbad
on Jun 12, 2013 -
Netflix House of Cards
series starring Kevin Spacey was a remake of a very popular British political thriller of the same name that aired during the 90's. The show begins
by tracking the dark political machinations and skullduggery of an urbane Chief Whip of the Conservative Party, who is conspiring to become Prime Minister after Margaret Thatcher's resignation. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Jun 11, 2013 -
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 -
Following junior Treasury minister Chloe Smith's disastrous
performance on Newsnight regarding the Chancellor's u-turn on fuel duty, the New Statesmen presents the top
posted by fearfulsymmetry
on Jun 27, 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 -
This is the story of one cut. Back in October 2010 George Osborne announced £95 billion in cuts to public services, saying he’d leave it to councils to choose what to shut down. Inevitably most of the casualties ended up being unrenowned places, unlikely to stir up much protest - drop-in centers in housing estates, inner-city park rangers, community theatres, etc. I wanted to write about just one of them, about the ripples created by a single closure. I made my selection quite randomly. I chose a place called Youthreach. I didn’t know much about them, only that they offered weekly counseling sessions to young people, aged 11–25, in Greenwich, South East London.
posted by fearfulsymmetry
on Dec 29, 2011 -
With a coalition government and the recent turmoil over the voting system, sometimes British democracy feels like it's in a bit of a crisis. Thank goodness you can now vote
on issues that really matter
posted by Acheman
on May 31, 2011 -
A 3 hour podcast interview
here) with British comics legend Pat Mills, most famous for the anti-war WW1 strip Charley's War
, the creation 2000ad and many of the most enduring characters within it, superhero hunter Marshall Law
and numerous other comics
. His work usually combines combines dark humour, a dash of left wing politics and ludicrous amounts of violence, now as much as ever with puritan zombie hunter Defoe
. Subjects discussed in the intreview include the death of artist John Hicklenton
, being Irish-English, Sláine
and the comparitive lack of celtic heroes in modern popular culture, Oliver Cromwell and the Levellers
. Bonus link: 20 pages of Metalzoic
, Pat Mills and Kevin O'Neills "lost" story.
posted by Artw
on Dec 19, 2010 -
Last week, the New York Times magazine published an explosive article
about the phone-hacking exploits at the Rupert Murdoch-owned British tabloid News Of The World
under the then-editorship of Andy Coulson, now the the Government's chief of communications
. Following the NYT's investigation, questions about the "unhealthy" relationship between the Metropolitan Police and the press
(particularly Murdoch's News International
, which also includes The Sun, The Times and the Sunday Times), and further claims that an independent inquiry was abandoned so as not to upset the Metropolitan Police
, assistant Met Commissioner John Yates was questioned
[video; 4 mins] on Tuesday by the Home Affairs select committee. Following an emergency debate
in Parliament today, which concerned the fact that MPs of all parties may have had their phones hacked (and therefore had their Parliamentary Privilege
breached), the Standards and Privileges Committee
, the most powerful committee in Parliament, is to open an inquiry which will be able to compel witnesses to give evidence
. Meanwhile, former News of the World reporters are coming out the woodwork, claiming that hacking at the paper was "rife"
, and the pressure is on Coulson to resign his £140,000 job at No. 10, with a poll
[pdf] which says 52% of the public says he should go. [more inside]
posted by Len
on Sep 9, 2010 -
If politicians were mathematicians.
"I would like to suggest two systems for parliamentary votes, one that would weaken the party system but without killing it off entirely, and one that would protect large minorities. Neither has the slightest chance of being adopted, because they are both too complicated to be taken seriously. But mathematicians wouldn’t find them complicated at all — hence the title of this post." Fields medalist Tim Gowers messes around with political axioms.
posted by escabeche
on May 12, 2010 -
"What are you f**king playing at?” Mr Murdoch asked Mr Kelner in a loud voice and in front of dozens of bemused journalists."
This week, 300,000 copies of the UK's Independent
newspaper were distributed for free advertising the paper's claim to editorial independence stating, "Rupert Murdoch won’t decide this election – you will".
According to the Financial Times
, Murdoch's son James subsequently stormed into the Independent's newsroom
brandishing a copy of the edition, protesting it besmirched his father’s reputation. "Lively times
," the Guardian
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane
on Apr 22, 2010 -
) in her essay "Tea Time in America"
"...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 -
While much is being made of dysfunctional government
] and hung parliament
], David Cameron's pitches for a fairer society
], smarter policy
] and employee ownership
] have been positively, uh, Obamanian
.* [more inside]
posted by kliuless
on Mar 5, 2010 -