A Picture of the UK’s Decline

Travel blogger Bald & Bankrupt is known for digging around the forgotten corners of the world, making videos in the slums of Bolivia and a human trafficking corridor of Panama.

Now, in a video uploaded on Sunday, Bald & Bankrupt takes a tour of the forgotten towns in his home country, the UK. “I’m going to see what life is like in post-industrial Britain,” says Bald cheerily.

Arguably the most striking portion of Bald & Bankrupt’s video comes in Horden, UK, some 20km south of Newcastle, where you can buy a home for 20,000 pounds.

Horden’s streets are dotted with abandoned homes and boarded up windows. As a countermeasure, the Horden municipality has taken to pasting over the boarded up windows with images.

For a casual glance from a passing vehicle, the images look like modern doors or an open window with blinds. It’s only the locals, or anyone else passing by on foot, who notice disturbing charade.

The rest of Bald & Bankrupt’s video is essentially showing what UK society looks like below the upper-middle-class level. He stays in basic hotels, chats to people on the street, and cops the 50-pound 2hr train journeys.

How does this work out? In Birmingham, he’s offered sex on the street and his hotel neighbours are prostitutes. He is offered stolen headphones by a thief on the street and documents a procession of abandoned homes and derelict 19th century public buildings.

Britain hit double-digit inflation in 2022 and continues its decline relative to other Western countries. A middle-income family in the UK is now 9% poorer than in France and 20% poorer than in Germany. 

A low-income household is 27% worse off in the UK than in those two countries. And the gap only widens if you broaden the comparison to include Australia, Canada or the Netherlands.

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