August 11, 2022 Abdul Haqq

Britain: A (Re)Developing Country?

Crop failure, droughts and floods are not the only causes of hunger. Corruption, mismanagement and bad governance are mainly to blame for catastrophes…[1]

The above excerpt comes from a 2011 article regarding instability and famine in nations that former US president, Donald Trump, would proceed to label as ‘shithole countries.’[2] Britain is currently experiencing similar challenges so it would not be remiss to extend this Trumpian slur to include our country’s sinking to cesspit levels of demise when considering the political sleaze and socioeconomic crises that continue to hit the fan. In fact:

“Britain’s economy is no longer zooming along unchallenged in the fast lane, but an increasingly clapped-out motor regularly overtaken by Asian Tigers such as South Korea and Taiwan.

Gender equality? The WEF ranks us behind Nicaragua and Lesotho. Investment by business? The Economist thinks we are struggling to keep up with Mali. [3]

And to think we are now deporting immigrants to Rwanda…but that is another story.[4]

With an imminent declaration of drought in the South West,[5] Britain continues to lurch from one crisis to another while being ill prepared for each of them with a leaderless Conservative government preparing knee-jerk contingency plans:

“Problems with this seat-of-the-pants approach were brutally exposed by the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020.” [6]

Now, more recently in July 2022, the country experienced record temperatures, for which the government had also failed to adequately prepare, (despite the whole debate around climate change and the COP26 summit hosted in Glasgow, Scotland in October 2021):

An unprecedented number of wildfires erupted across the UK on Tuesday as the country’s recorded its hottest day ever. 

London Fire Brigade attended more than 1,110 emergencies in its busiest day since the Second World War.” [7]

That was last month. Now, a few weeks later, we learn:

“The government is drawing up contingency plans for power cuts this winter as it finally wakes up to the reality of what the next few months will bring.

Britain has a cost of living crisis. It also has a housing crisis and an energy crisis. Weeks without rain in southern England mean there is a looming drought crisis. The NHS is only one serious Covid-19 outbreak away from crunch point.” [8]

There is now also discussion regarding possible power cuts, not witnessed since miners went on strike in the 1970s, resulting in the Conservative prime minister at the time, Edward Heath, declaring a state of emergency.[9]

“The Government is reportedly preparing for organised blackouts this winter, when cold weather and gas shortages could stretch energy supply to its limit.

Leaked Government documents have warned that a “reasonable worst-case scenario” could mean outages for homes and businesses if there is a combination of below-average temperatures and a drop in gas imports.[10]

The above crises should be a thing of the past, preceding even mid-late twentieth century socio-political climates but instead, the UK is experiencing the sort of challenges that characterise supposedly less established societies, like those of Iraq, India and Nigeria together with an almost endless list of other former colonial era countries. In contrast, we have come to realise that:

“Britain is a rich country accruing many of the stereotypical bad habits of a developing country…” [11]


  1. H2O (Haplessness, Oppression & Obsession) = Regression

“These crises are all distinct and special in their own way but they also have a common theme: a failure to invest stretching back decades. An obsession with efficiency has meant infrastructure has been run into the ground rather than upgraded. Cost-cutting has been given a higher priority than capacity building.” [12]

While the above observations may be pertinent insofar as present concerns abound, we must look further afield and into this country’s imperialist past to fully comprehend the extent to which the UK is, in effect, reaping what it has sown:

“We urgently need to destroy the myth that the West was founded on the three great revolutions of science, industry and politics. Instead, we need to trace how genocide, slavery and colonialism are the key foundation stones upon which the West was built. The legacies of each of these remain present today, shaping both wealth and inequality in the hierarchy of White Supremacy.” [13]

Detractors of similar, equally emphatic assertions will invariably argue against this, pointing to today’s current crises and their affect on citizens from all ethnic backgrounds that comprise the UK’s multiculturalist landscape, and while this holds some degree of credence, societal context is always important. When taking this into account, Andrews’ assertion remains equally valid:

“…Steep declines in living standards, the casualization of work and whole communities being ‘left behind’ in the new economy led to the rise of populism that elected Trump and gave the charlatan Brexiteers the opportunity to argue that it was the EU that was to blame for society’s ills.

Neither President Trump, Prime Minister Johnson or Brexit would be possible without the support of millions of poor (White) people for agendas that are diametrically opposed to their interests.” [14]

Andrews continued; “…Whiteness is a tool used by those in power to control poor Whites, to tie them to the project of imperialism” citing the great African American intellectual, W.E.B Du Bois, who concluded: “…that even the poorest of White people in the United States during the period of Reconstruction after the Civil War received a ‘public and psychological wage’ from their Whiteness. Even though they were being exploited by the same people as African Americans, their status as Whites gave them limited privilege, which they clung to.” [15]


  1. Liz Truss vs. Rishi Sunak for PM: (‘Can’t Truss It!’)[16]

It is the type of White privilege described in this article that has enabled Liz Truss to rise from 4th in the Conservative leadership campaign for a new prime minister, leapfrogging her colleague and rival, Rishi Sunak, to become the leading contender. It is the same ‘psychological wage’ described by W.E.B Du Bois that, within a UK socio-cultural context, provides white Britons – particularly conservative party members – with the assurance of continued representation at the highest level of power in this country by Whiteness. Britain is not yet ready for a brown or black prime minister in 2022, (and while writing this, I am more than happy to be proven wrong.) The counterargument that illustrates how successful non-whites are in today’s society, concluding it is only a matter of time before there is a brown or black prime minister is fundamentally flawed:

“The fact that there are non-White faces at the head of the latest version of empire does not mean the system has changed. It is perfectly possible to maintain racism while diversifying those in charge of dispensing it.” [17]


“One of the most disappointing arguments for the decline of racism is the presence of rich Black and Brown folk. A Black middle class is no more evidence of racial salvation than the existence of many more rich White people means that the class struggle is over.” [18]


  1. Conclusion: Redefinition of Developed & Underdeveloped Societies.                                               

For too long, a succession of governments have been self-serving, neglecting the real needs of many of those who elected them. Beyond our borders, while acknowledging areas of decisive leadership that have aided other sovereign states, such as Ukraine, the tainted legacy relating to the woeful neglect of other marginalised and oppressed peoples, (Palestinians and Uighurs to name but a few) remain in plain sight. Immoral and reprehensible immigration policies, like those devised to deport immigrants to Rwanda (coincidentally, one of the fastest growing economies in Africa[19]) – with the exception of Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion of their country – are unacceptable and should not be condoned when other, more viable solutions are available. These are not the policies of a developed country, let alone a morally judicious one. It hearkens to a bygone era where criminals – and slaves – were expelled and trafficked to far off lands. Such policies are akin to criminalising immigrants.

Historically, developed nation states have been known for exploiting undeveloped ones. Walter Rodney’s seminal work, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, provides a concise account in this regard:

“…[an] even more indispensable component of modern underdevelopment is that it expresses a particular relationship of exploitation: namely, the exploitation of one country by another. All of the countries named as ‘underdeveloped’ in the world are exploited by others; and the underdevelopment with which the world is now preoccupied is a product of capitalist, imperialist and colonialist exploitation.

African and Asian societies were developing independently until they were taken over directly or indirectly by the capitalist powers. When that happened, exploitation increased and the export of surplus ensued, depriving the societies of the benefit of their natural resources and labour. That is an integral part of underdevelopment in the contemporary sense.” [20]

Today’s sociopolitical climate begs the question; whether a government’s exploitation and/or neglect of its own citizens constitute forms of underdevelopment, socioeconomic cannibalism even? Insofar as it relates to the UK and the current climate, it is not too difficult to discern that the ‘great’ has long since disappeared as a prefix to ‘Britain’ and until we, as a society, reflect on the extenuating circumstances that have led to this status quo, our country will continue to regress. As Andrews’ also concludes:

“There is the chance to refuse the next system update of imperialism, destroy the hard drive and create an entirely new framework for the world’s political and economic system. But make no mistake, whether spurred by revolution or tipped into collapse under its own weight, the West will eventually fall.” [21]

The annals of history provide more than enough examples of previous civilisations that met similar fates. It’s time we heeded them.




[1] Jepperson, H: ‘Instability to blame for famine in Horn of Africa, aid groups say,’, 21s July 2011:

[2] Woodhouse, L A: ‘Trump’s “Shithole Countries” Remark is at the Center of a Lawsuit to Reinstate Protections for Immigrants,’ The Intercept, 28th June 2018:

[3] Chakrabortty, A: ‘Let’s admit it: Britain is now a developing country,’ The Guardian, 9th December 2013:

[4] Holden, M: ‘UK pushes on with plan to deport migrants to Rwanda,’ Reuters, 15th June 2022:

[5] Patel-Carstairs, S: ‘Drought expected to be declared in the South West tomorrow,’ Sky News, 11th August 2022:

[6] Elliott, L: ‘Britain’s crises have one thing in common: a failure to invest,’ The Guradian, 10th August 2022:

[7] Dalton, J: ‘Why the UK is so unprepared for extreme heat?’ Independent, 20th July 2022:

[8] Elliott, L: ‘Britain’s crises have one thing in common: a failure to invest,’ The Guradian, 10th August 2022:

[9] RMD: ’Seven of the worst power outages in the UK,’ RMD Specialist Facility Solutions:

[10] Mulligan, E O: ‘Will the UK experience blackouts this winter? Why the Government is preparing for crisis-response power cuts,’ iNews, 10th August 2022:

[11] Chakrabortty, A: ‘Let’s admit it: Britain is now a developing country,’ The Guardian, 9th December 2013:

[12] Elliott, L: ‘Britain’s crises have one thing in common: a failure to invest,’ The Guradian, 10th August 2022:

[13] Andrews, K: ‘The New Age of Empire: How Racism & Colonialism Still Rule the World,’ Bold Type Books, 2021, p. xiii

[14] Ibid, pp.192-3

[15] Ibid, p.193

[16] Public Enemy: ‘Can’t Truss It,’ Universal Music Publishing Group, [Lyrics only]: last accessed 11th August 2022.

[17] Andrews, K: ‘The New Age of Empire: How Racism & Colonialism Still Rule the World,’ Bold Type Books, 2021, p. 203

[18] Ibid

[19] Nzohabonimana, D: ‘What makes Rwanda one of Africa’s fastest growing economies?’ TRT World, 17th January 2019:

[20] Rodney, W: ‘How Europe Underdeveloped Africa,’ Bogle-L’Ouverture Publications, London and Tanzanian Publishing House, Dar-Es-Salaam 1973, Transcript from 6th reprint 1983, pp.24-5.

[21] Andrews, K: ‘The New Age of Empire: How Racism & Colonialism Still Rule the World,’ Bold Type Books, 2021, p. 208.

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