It's becoming dirtier and more dangerous to be rich in Britain. At least that's the conclusion in Bankrupt Britain, An Atlas of Social Change, due to be released soon.
Levels of crime, pollution and antisocial behaviour are rising more sharply in London's three richest neighbourhoods than anywhere else in Britain, according to an atlas which maps the changing social geography of Britain for the first time.
A comprehensive analysis of nationwide data for 2007-08 and 2008-09 concludes that the quality of "local environmental conditions " in the capital's boroughs of City of London, Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea plummeted over that period.
In contrast, the constituencies whose scores improved most were almost all in the north of England, with the three biggest improvements in Sedgefield in County Durham, north Lincolnshire and Blaenau Gwent.
"Our maps reveal the extent of Britain's bankruptcy in financial, residential, political, moral, emotional and environmental aspects of life across Britain ," said the atlas's co-author, Prof Danny Dorling, from Sheffield University.
..."What is most interesting is how these rankings are changing ," said Dorling. "The bigger picture shows that, when it comes to environmental sustainability and sociability in Britain, some of the richest areas are suffering while some of the poorest areas are winning out ."
...Prof Kate Pickett, co-founder of the Equality Trust [and co-author of the book, "The Spirit Level "], said the atlas revealed "the damage caused to the vast majority of us by the moral bankruptcy of the rich and powerful" .
...This may turn out to be the last time such comprehensive research can be presented, thanks to the government's cuts. "It will not be possible to produce an update of all the topics included here in the future, due to the effect of government cuts on data collection and dissemination ," Dorling said. "Many of the surveys we have relied on to plot out the current status of Britain have recently been cancelled ."
The last paragraph above made me think of Stephen Harper, his obsessive secrecy and the demise of the longform census. I wonder if Steve wants to shutter any windows we might have to look at our society and ourselves while he completes his radical rightwing transformation of Canada. Cutting "data collection and dissemination" is an effective means to blind the public, to keep them unaware of the degradation of their society. I don't think it's unfair to say that the less we know, the better Steve likes it.
Harper has already started a slow but steady assault on physical and social sciences by killing Canada's most important research tool and dramatically curtailing access to research grants. So much damage under two minority governments with so little coverage from his media handmaidens.
You've pushed my most volatile button - media corporatism. I remain convinced that recovering genuine democracy will require dismantling the media cartels. There seems to be no other way of undoing their pro-right political symbiosis.
They have certainly collaborated with Harper. Any doubt of that was laid to rest when the media assisted Harper in spreading his outright lies about coalition government.
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