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Feeling sad about the Axolotl? This beaver may make you happier.

A beaver is alive and well in England, about 800 years after the last one was seen alive. Of course the big question remains: Where the heck did the beaver come from?
posted by Mezentian on Jan 30, 2014 - 37 comments

SPINE CHILLING

BRITISH "GHOST TRAIN" FACADES FROM THE 1970s AND 80s
(from the National Fairground Archive digital collection)
posted by timshel on Jan 16, 2014 - 12 comments

Thatcher wouldn't Adam'n'Eve it

After 500 years, the government of David Cameron has announced the unthinkable: from as early as today a majority stake in the Royal Mail of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will be put up for sale into private hands. Some are not happy. The sale is expected to fetch between US$3-4.7 billion. But what does it mean? Should you invest? And what does it mean for other postal systems in, say, Australia or the USA? Postal services have been benefiting from the rise in online shopping, even as traditional mail declines.
posted by Mezentian on Sep 12, 2013 - 75 comments

Mad dogs and Englishmen

An unusually sustained heatwave oppresses the UK, as temperatures have climbed above 82 degrees Fahrenheit for 11 days, the longest hot spell since 2006. Roads melt in England and Wales, rail lines buckle in England and Scotland, hospital admissions spike and wildfires burn. Swimming-related, army training and heat-related, deaths have increased. The Met Office currently hold a Level Three Heat Advisory for several regions (Level Four is "National Emergency"), while tabloids indulge in traditional "England is hotter than {exotic place}" headlines. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Jul 19, 2013 - 263 comments

"It's not clear we have that much time."

As Andrew Haldane, director of stability at the Bank of England, put it in a historical overview a few years ago, ‘there is one key difference between the situation today and that in the Middle Ages. Then, the biggest risk to the banks was from the sovereign. Today, perhaps the biggest risk to the sovereign comes from the banks. Causality has reversed.’ Yes, it has: and the sovereign at risk is us. The reason for that is that in the UK bank assets are 492 per cent of GDP. In plain English, our banks are five times bigger than our entire economy. (When the Icelandic and Cypriot banking systems collapsed the respective figures were 880 and 700 per cent.) We know from the events of 2008 and subsequently that the financial sector, indeed the whole world economy, is in an inherently unstable condition. Put the size together with the instability, and we are facing a danger that is no less real for not being on the front page this exact second. This has to be fixed, and it has to be fixed soon, and nothing about fixing it is easy.
- "Let's Consider Kate," John Lanchester, London Review of Books (via)
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Jul 10, 2013 - 29 comments

Pop History

The People's Songs: The Story of Modern Britain in 50 Records is a radio series on BBC written and narrated by Stuart Maconie. Each episode focuses on one particular pop song and tells the story of the song as well as what social trends it mirrored, for instance the episode on Telstar by The Tornadoes focuses on the technological progress, especially in space travel and music, and the story of songwriter and record producer Joe Meek. 25 episodes have been broadcast, including ones on Dizzee Rascal's Bonkers and 21st Century Britain, Cornershop's Brimful of Asha and the British-Asian experience , and Serge Gainsbourg's Je T'aime and sex. There are 25 more to come. There is also a blog and profiles of the songs already discussed. [Previously on MeFi]
posted by Kattullus on Jun 25, 2013 - 14 comments

A vision of post-apocalypse Britain?

Eerie computer-generated images reveal how UK landmarks could crumble and decay if humanity was wiped out. Gallery
posted by infini on Jun 12, 2013 - 42 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

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

You can't eat scenery

The governments of the United Kingdom and Scotland agree on a framework for the latter to vote on independence. Other reporting in the Telegraph, Guardian and the Scottish Sun. The referendum, for this nation of 5.25 million people and a unicorn as its national animal, will be held before the end of 2014. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Oct 15, 2012 - 109 comments

Colonial sunset

The Foreign Office’s “guilty secret” revealed Thousands of documents detailing some of the most shameful acts and crimes committed during the final years of the British empire were systematically destroyed to prevent them falling into the hands of post-independence governments. Those papers that survived were flown back to Britain and hidden for 50 years in a secret Foreign Office archive in breach of legal obligations for them to be transferred into the public domain. The Guardian details some of those papers released earlier this week. [more inside]
posted by infini on Apr 21, 2012 - 34 comments

The Iron Man

UK Prime Minister David Cameron unveils plan to lease motorways in England. David Cameron will clear the way for a multibillion-pound semi-privatisation of trunk roads and motorways as he announces plans to allow sovereign wealth funds from countries such as China to lease roads in England. Guardian liveblog.
posted by panaceanot on Mar 19, 2012 - 127 comments

Licence fee, not license fee

In the UK, people pay a yearly licence fee to watch live television, with revenues funding the BBC. TV Licensing is the group that collects fees, and they use a number of methods — some real, some imaginary, some in between — to gain compliance. But one Briton remains determined not to play that game.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jan 12, 2012 - 175 comments

UK London Met police proposed undemocratic refusal of bail to all arrested in London riots.

London Metropolitan Police formulated policy of refusing bail to all arrested in London riots which might have influenced high remand in custody rate.
posted by maiamaia on Aug 22, 2011 - 30 comments

50 Books Every Eleven-Year-Old Should Read

The Independent (UK) proposes a list of fifty books that every eleven-year-old should read. [more inside]
posted by Halloween Jack on Apr 7, 2011 - 96 comments

The Search for the Securitas Millions

In February 2006, a group of criminals pulled off the biggest cash heist in the history of the UK, making off with £53 million pounds. To date, only £23 million of the money has been recovered. Police are understandably upset about the dead ends in the case.
posted by reenum on Feb 16, 2011 - 12 comments

UK Spending Review

The Chancellor of the UK coalition government has announced the details of the Comprehensive Spending Review, setting budgets for government departments to 2014/15. Total savings will be £18 billion. Local government funding will be cut 7% each year for the next four years. The Arts Council budget will be cut by 30%. 490,000 jobs are forecast to be lost over the period in the public sector. The average cuts for each government department will be 19%. The speech. HM Treasury Spending Review pages. Guardian summary. Independent article. Nick Robinson's blog for the BBC. Make your own cuts with the Guardian's interactive tool. Graphic showing 09/10 government spending (that is, before the cuts).
posted by paduasoy on Oct 20, 2010 - 91 comments

SWEDEMASON

The Works of Swede Mason: "Jeremy Clarkson," "Get in the Back of the Van," "Jungle All The Way," "Bill Wyman's Metal Detector," "Put the Lotion in the Basket, *" "Got The Sucka," "The Gobshite, *" "Squashed Thingy," "Spare Me The Madness," and the pair of tracks based on Neighbors deaths "Coffee And Croissants" and "Todd....Dead." [more inside]
posted by flatluigi on Oct 13, 2009 - 14 comments

Gasparcolor

Colour on the Thames is a 7 minute film shot in 1935 using Gasparcolor, one of the many early forms of tinting black and white film. Beside Colour on the Thames, which provides a wonderful view of 1930's England, the only film made in Gasparcolor I could find online was Colour Flight by New Zealand artist Len Lye, an abstract cartoon set to instrumental 1930's pop music. The story of Gasparcolor is in itself interesting, for instance touching on Nazis, Hungary between the wars and early color animation.
posted by Kattullus on Jan 27, 2009 - 12 comments

Birth of the National Health Service - How the state of the nation's health became a political ideal

The NHS at 60. The National Health Service is 60 on July 5th. Take a look at documents, audio and video related to the birth and growth of this "radical plan."
posted by fire&wings on Jun 28, 2008 - 5 comments

Product Placement Banned in U.K.

Product Placement Banned in U.K. Minister says it 'contaminates programs'.
posted by jeremy b on Jun 13, 2008 - 44 comments

Video Chronology of The History of British TV Comedy

For the past 50 years, The British have made some of the funniest Comedy TV Shows. Come inside for A Video Chronology of The History of British TV Comedy. [more inside]
posted by Foci for Analysis on Jan 24, 2008 - 96 comments

A grave situation

ukgraves.info has thousands of photographs of cemeteries and gravestones all over the UK, from City of London to the Kirk of Lammermuir, and random points in between.
posted by dersins on Nov 14, 2007 - 11 comments

"I can only assess your mutual knowledge in a subjective context."

Applications for UK visas are being denied for ridiculous reasons, says an independent monitor report. Among the reasons: never having been on holiday before, "failing to complete pivotal areas of Section 6", and "plan[ning] a holiday for no particular purpose other than sightseeing. BBC readers contribute their stories - from potential bridesmaids being told that they were only going to marry English men like their sister was doing, to not having good enough German.
posted by divabat on Jun 21, 2007 - 61 comments

The Future: Apparently It's Much More 80s Than You Anticipated

The British Olympic Committee unveiled the logo and branding for London 2012 today, at a cost of £400,000 (USD796,000). Reaction has been swift - a petition to change the logo or go back to the old one has already reached 10,000 signatures.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Jun 4, 2007 - 149 comments

Virtual tour of 10 Downing Street

Sadly, you will never be important enough to be invited to 10 Downing Street. So take a virtual tour instead.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Jan 3, 2007 - 23 comments

Brownlow's and Mollo's Nazi Britain

"The German invasion of Britain took place in July 1940, after the British retreat from Dunkirk". We see, documentary-style, members of the Wehrmacht trooping past Big Ben and St Paul's Cathedral, lounging in the parks, having their jackboots shined by old cockneys, and appreciatively visiting the shrine of that good German, Prince Albert, in Kensington Gardens. Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo's film "It Happened Here", with its cast of hundreds (.pdf), imagines what a Nazi occupation might have been like — complete with underground resistance, civilian massacres, civil strife, torch-lit rallies, Jewish ghettos, and organized euthanasia. Shot on weekends, eight years in production, made for about $20,000 with nonactors and borrowed equipment and Stanley Kubrick's help, "It Happened Here" was originally envisioned by Brownlow as a sort of Hammer horror flick about a Nazi Britain. Thanks in part to Mollo's fanatical concern with historical accuracy, however, it became something else. The most remarkable thing about this account of everyday fascism is that it has no period footage. Brownlow's 1968 book about the film's production, "How It Happened Here", has recently been republished. More inside.
posted by matteo on Feb 12, 2006 - 16 comments

Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart sells dildos
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Awesome on Dec 16, 2005 - 51 comments

Don't Bomb Us.

Don't Bomb Us. In response to credible reports that Bush wanted to bomb al-Jazeera's HQ in allied Qatar (discussed here and here on MeFi), Al Jazeera staffers start their own English-language blog. Their site contains remembrances of their fallen colleagues, firsthand accounts of US attacks on their offices, links to relevant reports on the controversy, Flickr photosets of protests calling for an official investigation, and al Jazeera's code of ethics. Also, a quick note to Tony Blair: " P.S. Thanks for talking Mr. Bush out of bombing our offices!" Not surprisingly, their blog is generating some comments.
posted by edverb on Nov 26, 2005 - 117 comments

It’s kind of a radar for gayness, or a gay radar. It’s called… a homometer

'Gay' horse jibe lands student in court
posted by ab'd al'Hazred on Nov 25, 2005 - 87 comments

Fighting the Liberal Media Bias

In 2001 America destroyed the Kabul offices of al-Jazeera with two smartbombs; officials said it was an accident. In 2003 America destroyed the Baghdad offices of al-Jazeera with missiles; officials said it was an accident. Now, two British civil servants are on trial for leaking a memo revealing that Bush intended to bomb al-Jazeera... at their headquarters in allied Qatar.
posted by Pretty_Generic on Nov 22, 2005 - 155 comments

w00t

Blair loses in the Commons for the first time since his election in 1997. MPs refused to pass laws allowing terrorist suspects to be jailed without trial for 90 days, and Blair's parliamentary majority of 66 turned into a minority of 31. The government has been holding back on the vote for months in an attempt to persuade their party to back the Prime Minister - they failed.
posted by Pretty_Generic on Nov 9, 2005 - 38 comments

bounce wid de wickedness

Baron Winston of Hammersmith in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham: Why do we believe in God?
posted by thirteenkiller on Oct 16, 2005 - 26 comments

shoshenmerningersdavis, jackassnm

A returned U.K. expat on English drinking's sharp increase.
(supporting study with female subjects) (the gov's counterintuitive but well-researched solution)
Brits: any accuracy to the concerns?
posted by Tlogmer on Sep 6, 2004 - 45 comments

If You See George W. Bush, Email or Text The Time and Location To...

If You See George W. Bush, Email or Text The Time and Location To... Chasing Bush.

"A special online diary, designed to track George W. Bush for the duration of his visit to the UK.... If he wants to make a state visit that isn't marred by protest, he should do it on another island. He's not welcome on this one; and we're determined to let the world see that."
posted by grabbingsand on Nov 14, 2003 - 54 comments

Blair a war criminal

Blair, the war criminal Tom Dalyell, a Labour MP with over 41 years of service in the House of Commons has voted with his Labour Party constitutency to call for Blair to reconsider his postion as party leader. He further states that he believes "[Blair] should be branded as a war criminal and sent to the Hague".
posted by lometogo on Mar 27, 2003 - 22 comments

Fireworks in England

Fresh in from the 'perfect timing' department - not even 24 hours after the fire brigade goes on strike, the south west of England goes on flood watch and a Fireworks factory explodes. For some added fun, the army are banned from driving the modern fire engines and instead drive famous 'green godesses'.

Even ignoring the lack of cover (644 GGs replacing 4,311 normal engines) and lack of equipment the army fire teams have, should emergency services be able to strike?
posted by twine42 on Nov 14, 2002 - 27 comments

Badthoughts

Hate crime police raid 150 homes 'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone,' it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.'
posted by kablam on Nov 13, 2002 - 14 comments

In the new LRB, a pretty good attempt to answer the pressing question - why do the Bush people want to attack Iraq so much?
posted by Mocata on Sep 25, 2002 - 20 comments

Cooking the Books

Cooking the Books The Office of National Statistics feels that the UK population is a little too small - so they're inventing one million people to fill the gap. Why did they do a census if they were going to make it all up?
posted by tabbycat on Sep 23, 2002 - 9 comments

Big Brother is here!

Big Brother is here! Close to a thousand Brirish schools have collected their student`s fingerprints via library scanners; all this without the consent or knowledge of the parents. Please commend my success in refraining from oversentionalizing the story. YES!
posted by ( .)(. ) on Jul 23, 2002 - 15 comments

Another trip into TV Hell.

Another trip into TV Hell. In the UK we're much kinder to bad television -- shows will go on for weeks without an audience and often get comissioned for second series before someone releases they're awful (yes you 'Let Them Eat Cake' -- if that French and Saunder monstrosity had been on UStv it would have been cancelled after two episodes -- if it had been comissioned at all). 'Off The Telly' considers all the things prospective television producers need to avoid if they're going to create something they're proud of. Does anyone else have any bad examples?
posted by feelinglistless on Apr 4, 2002 - 18 comments

Seatbelts save lives

Seatbelts save lives. Nineteen years ago today wearing seatbelts in cars became mandatory in the UK. Almost everyone agrees that they save lives but still many people don't bother, especially in the back seat.
posted by nedrichards on Jan 31, 2002 - 49 comments

blair to declare state of emergency, suspend human rights

blair to declare state of emergency, suspend human rights there is some scary stuff included in these proposals. including internment without trial there are serious implications here, and i find it frightening.
posted by quarsan on Nov 14, 2001 - 46 comments

Planes over London will be shot down, warns government.

Planes over London will be shot down, warns government. The UK government warned that any plane venturing into airspace over central London was likely to be shot down. All aircraft movements over the heart of the capital are banned until further notice. The flight path into London-Heathrow airport passes close to the Canary Wharf skyscraper in the east of the city and along the River Thames over the House of Parliament, the Guardian newspaper reports. (Down the page a ways.)
posted by krisjohn on Sep 12, 2001 - 3 comments

England vs. USA

England vs. USA Over the death penalty. Initially I felt like saying "butt out" but America tends to get involved in other countries when our citizens are in trouble (like that kid in Singapore way back).
posted by owillis on Sep 10, 2001 - 7 comments

Six-year-old kid goes to school, gets beaned with rocks. Class bullies? No. Protestants. Doesn't it seem like there are some places in the world (Middle East, Eritrea/Ethiopia, Balkans, etc.) where people just insist on hating and killing each other until everyone's dead? Or is it just that the various media paint it that way?
posted by Bixby23 on Sep 4, 2001 - 19 comments

More NMD to make you nervous.

More NMD to make you nervous. If you're in an area about to be vapourised then you are safe. If you live anywhere else you are not. I live about half a blast radius away from one of the radar stations in the UK (it doesn't look like that picture anymore - some of the golfballs are now pyramids). From direct assault I maybe won't be hit but the bombs falling out of the sky on their way from Iraq to New York are pretty much going to land on my head. Cool.
posted by vbfg on Sep 3, 2001 - 8 comments

Labour Party WINS UK General Election

Labour Party WINS UK General Election Tony Blair's Labour Party now officially wins the general election after getting the needed 330 constituencies. Not all the results are in yet, but it's not important. Labour are past the post. Well done Tony!
posted by wackybrit on Jun 7, 2001 - 23 comments

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