Tag Archives: United Kingdom

(89) In England, commuting can be a real riot

It strikes us as unexpected, ironic to have come across an article in the media in which ‘commute’ and ‘riot’ are in the same sentence.  We also recently came across a seriously intriguing animated map referring to recent riots in England.  The map plots home address and location of charges laid against rioters.  It’s quite something to see just how far indviduals travel to participate in rioting.  London tended be a convoluted mass of locations and journeys reflecting its existence as a massive agglomeration of suburbs and centres packed close together.  In secondary cities the edge-to-centre pattern of journeys to riot are very distinct.  We don’t think it’s a stretch to say that the use of a motor vehicle is indicated by many of these movements.  Incredible really to think of people going out of their way, quite literally, to get in on destructive, anti-social behaviour in the centre of the communities they live in or near.  The obvious metaphor is a biological one: spermatozoa journeying to ovum.  What to make of one young man who paid a hundred pounds to alter the return date on his airplane ticket, preferring, apparently, to riot than vacation.
England “riot commute” mapped Guardian

(88) Fuel poverty

Fuel poverty is a relatively new phrase, one belonging squarely to the era of global recession, roller coaster energy prices, energy-related financial speculation and certainly the drawing down of easy-to-get sources of fossil fuels.  We’ll probably be getting used to it.  The UK seems to have acknowledged it more fully than Canada or the United States.  When pay freezes, it seems the body soon follows.
Fuel poverty affects a quarter of UK’s households as bills soar and pay freezes

(52) Crap jobs

A modest moment of truth and advocacy in the UK online press today.  How lovely, after all the recent idiocy over Murdoch, to be reminded such moments are possible.
A major HR industry figure in a western country has spoken some truth for the record.  Not a pleasant truth, no.  But surely the truth is a good place to start when assessing where it’s all going?  The only thing the chief economist for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development forgot to add to his description of younger people’s job prospects was “…and in the suburbs.”
Youngsters put off work by ‘crap’ jobs, says CIPD: Employers who moan that young people lack the right attitude for jobs should acknowledge that in many cases the roles they offer are “crap” and low paid Telegraph

(21) Rising inequality: OECD data

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development produces a host of data directly useful for assessing social conditions.  Do we need a supercomputer to connect rising inequality and the stacked economic gains of the rich with suburban poverty and downward mobility?

Notes for individual countries are found on the OECD site (.pdf files):

Better than many for a long time but no reason to be smug: Canada
Faltering after some improvement: United Kingdom
Forget it, only Turkey & Mexico are worse for income inequality: United States
Some improvement but could do better: Australia