11 September 2019

Aidan Reid

11 September 2019

Good morning,

No one enjoys being disliked on social media. Speaking from my experiences of chasing love hearts on Bebo and aiming for more friends than my twin brother on Facebook (currently winning by 25, if you’re asking), people generally want to be appreciated in the online world, particularly if they are creating content for wider consumption. You don’t want something you dedicated time to to be roundly mocked, unless you are ‘in on the joke’.
 
I suspect Russian rapper, Timati, did not publicise his pro-Putin rap single, Moscow, as part of an elaborate joke. If it was, the 1.48 million ‘dislikes’ the song received on YouTube would have seen him revelling in the coverage, rather than pulling the video before further scorn was cast his way.
 
He now has the unwanted record of achieving the most ‘dislikes’ ever given to a Russian video on the platform. Social media shame aside, there is a feeling that this reaction aligns with more serious negative sentiment that has been exposed after local elections in the city name-checked in the song.
 
Following months of protests over the refusal to allow candidates supportive of opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, to stand, efforts to encourage tactical voting against the ruling party aligned with Vladimir Putin, United Russia, had some success. The incumbent party went from 40 out of 45 seats on the city council to 26. Though this remains a majority, it was achieved only after many United Russia figures ran as nominal independents, to distance themselves from the unpopular party brand.
 
The wider dissatisfaction with Putin’s government, if not the man himself, now appears to be a feature of the city’s politics, and has begun to spread to other areas. Unpopular measures, such as a five-year increase to the state pension age and continued corruption allegations have played a role in this, as has weaker economic growth than neighbouring countries and five consecutive years of falling average incomes.
 
Moscow has a young, connected population, and a tribute video for a government seen as faltering in many areas was never likely to win hearts and minds. Its lyrics, criticising anti-government protestors, have been the particular focus of the negative response, and the volume of opposition to it is one small indicator of the level of dissatisfaction.
 
For all that Putin seems an eternal figure of our global politics, it appears he and his government are at risk of attracting more and more ‘dislikes’, both online and at the ballot box.

News

Following disagreements between the pair, Donald Trump used a series of tweets to fire his national security advisor, John Bolton. It follows Bolton opposing the president’s ill-fated efforts to bring leaders of the Taliban to Camp David for peace talks and his attempts at greater engagement with previously hostile nations such as North Korea.
 
Two days before Israelis go to the polls, its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has announced his intention to annex parts of the West Bank if re-elected. The move has been described as an attempt to appease his right-wing base and was sharply criticised by Arab nations as condemning any further chance of an Israel-Palestine peace agreement.
 
The incoming European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, has named her senior team. It is made up of 13 women and 14 men and, if approved by the European Parliament, would be the most gender balanced in the EU’s history.
 
The Home Office has announced that international students will now be able to remain in the UK for two years, rather than four months, after graduation to seek work. It will apply to students studying from next year, with as of yet no restriction on the kind of jobs students can seek.

Business & Economy

At a press conference, Apple unveiled its iPhone 11 range, with a cheaper basic model alongside two more advanced Pro models. It also provided more details on its new gaming subscription service, Apple Arcade and its new TV streaming service, Apple TV+.
 
The ONS has reported that wage growth and employment rates continue to stay at record levels in its latest statistical updates. Wages grew by 3.8% in the three months up to September, while unemployment fell to 3.8%.
 
Softbank, the Japanese firm which has a 30% stake in WeWork, has reportedly urged the firm to postpone its plans to float on the stock market. It comes amid fears Softbank’s original valuation of the firm at $47 billion was significantly more than its expected market valuation of $20 billion.

Markets

What happened yesterday?
In the UK, both Galliford Try and Cairn Energy were among the high performers in the FTSE 250.
 
Galliford’s shares were up by 6% on the back of difficulties announced by rival housebuilder Bovis Homes, with its own annual results set to be announced today. Cairn’s shares were up by 12% at the close of trading on the back of pre-tax profits of $43.4 million.
 
Reflecting such gains, both the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 ended the day marginally up, by 0.31% and 0.44% respectively.
 
The US markets saw a mostly flat day in share price movements. The S&P 500 was up by 0.03%, in spite of a fall in tech stock valuation, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by 3% on the back of strong results from aircraft manufacturer, Boeing.

What's happening today?

Finals
Galliford Try
 
Interims
Advanced Medical Solutions Group        
Anpario         
Dp Eurasia    
Ecsc Group  
Epwin Grp    
Futura Medical        
Oakley           
S4 Cap.

AGMs
Best   
Design Group          
Invesco Inc
Sdcl Energy Ef.
Sports Direct
Staffline         
Superdry       
 
International economic announcements
(13:30) Producer Price Index (US)
(15:00) Wholesales Inventories (US)
(15:30) Crude Oil Inventories (US)

Columns of note

Two days before Israel’s second election in a year, Bernard Aishai details the electoral alliances and divisions which may lead to the ousting of Benjamin Netanyahu from power. There is a hope among centrist voters that this election is an opportunity to see his reign end, along with government attacks on democratic norms such as judicial interference. Meanwhile, the political divisions in the right wing are said to fall along religious lines, denying Netanyahu a clear path to a majority without regaining votes from his rival, Avigdor Liebermann. (£)
 
Robert Peston writes for the Spectator that Boris Johnson is in favour of a Brexit deal, and claims this may see him renege on previous guarantees to the DUP that he’d oppose a Northern Irish-only backstop. He argues initial proposals  made to the EU for a separate agricultural regime for Northern Ireland are the “thin edge of the wedge”, and that the DUP has lost much of its power due to the lack of a sustainable governing majority regardless of its support.

Did you know?

Over 7,000 people in the UK still claim they watch black and white television.

Parliamentary highlights

TODAY
House of Commons
No business due to prorogation. Will next sit on Monday 14 October.
 
House of Lords
No business due to prorogation. Will next sit on Monday 14 October.

Scottish Parliament
Members’ Business Debate
Alexander Stewart: 100th Anniversary of the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund
 
Portfolio Questions
Justice and the Law Officers
Government Business and Constitutional Relations
 
Ministerial Statement
The Royal Hospital for Children and Young People (RHCYP)
 
Scottish Government Debate
Citizens Assembly of Scotland
 
TOMORROW
House of Commons
No business due to prorogation. Will next sit on Monday 14 October.
 
House of Lords
No business due to prorogation. Will next sit on Monday 14 October.


Scottish Parliament
General Questions
 
First Minister’s Questions
 
Members’ Business Debate
Scotland’s Drug Death Public Health Emergency
 
Portfolio Questions
Culture, Tourism & External Affairs
 
Justice Committee Debate
Post-legislative Scrutiny Report on the Police and Fire
Reform (Scotland) Act 2012