What does the future hold?
February 8, 2008 9:44 AM   Subscribe

The Cabinet Office in the UK has published "Future Strategic Challenges for Britain" [full pdf, summary pdf, website], a 180-page document which summarises current futures thinking in the UK Government, with a horizon of about 20 years. It includes predictions on big issues such as democratic participation, foreign affairs, climate change, family life and public services.
posted by athenian (6 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Lots of general stuff like "Britain must meet the challenge of global warming though national and international action, comrades!" and not much specific stuff like "We're going to reduce carbon emissions by reintroducing the fuel escalator and making petrol dearer every year in real terms." Because the former seems to be what Brown is good at (making grandiose plans) and the latter is what he isn't (effecting significant change.)

No mention of ID cards, though, I'm pleased to note. Double-plus good!
posted by alasdair at 10:36 AM on February 8, 2008

From the summary pdf:

"Britain is one of the most prosperous, successful countries in the world. And it has made great progress over the past decade, maintaining its traditional strengths of an open economy and tolerant society while tackling poverty, improving health and educational outcomes and becoming a better place for the many rather than the few."

They're talking about this Britain, right?

The whole document smacked of that marvellous Blairism: "We've done a lot, but we've a lot still to do." (i.e. "We've done nothing of consequence and have no intention of upsetting the status quo.")

Spin and bollocks, mate.
posted by boosh at 10:43 AM on February 8, 2008

Jesus, the chart on p148 is depressing. 12% of people think the state is at fault for obesity, but when asked who is responsible for addressing the problem, only 30% say individuals or parents, but a massive 69% say the state. What a country.

And judging by this paper, the civil service could do with a Graphic Design track in the Fast Stream.
posted by Burger-Eating Invasion Monkey at 12:08 PM on February 8, 2008

All predictions fail within seconds of their statement. This too will be laughed at.
posted by A189Nut at 5:55 PM on February 8, 2008

boosh, do you understand what prosperous means?
posted by patricio at 4:04 AM on February 9, 2008

> boosh, do you understand what prosperous means?

Fair enough; if by "prosperous" you mean strictly "an economic state of growth with rising profits and full employment" then sure, we're living in a golden age for now. Personally, I question whether a nation experiencing an unsustainable boom based on loose credit, mortgage equity release and people selling houses to each other at ever more wildly inflated prices deserves to be summed up as "prosperous and successful", but I'm more of a concerned well-wisher than an economist.

So one could fairly say of a prosperous, successful country that:
"This is approaching Banana Republic status," said Albert Edwards, global strategist for Société Générale.

"Years of macro-mismanagement, mirroring the errors we saw in Asia a decade ago, may have dragged the UK economy to the edge of a deep precipice.

"The UK household sector is borrowing at a cyclically unprecedented 4pc of GDP. Allowing economic growth to be based on unsustainable asset price bubbles was always going to be a recipe for disaster because the snapback can be vicious. This is a mess of the policy-makers' own making."
posted by boosh at 7:09 AM on February 9, 2008

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