14 September

Scott Reid

Good morning,


'Nightmare on Downing Street’, a Sun column read.
 
The plot follows the trail of political death and disaster for a prime minister and ‘dead woman walking’ who is on the run from a ‘psycho’ ex-colleague who won’t stop until she is ‘chopped up in bags in [his] freezer’.
 
Alas, these aren’t quotes from a hackneyed horror story, but the latest comments from the former Chancellor-turned newspaper editor, George Osborne, reported in an Esquire long-read yesterday titled ‘George’s Revenge’. Since being unceremoniously ousted in the aftermath of the EU referendum, Osborne, now editor of the Evening Standard, has made Theresa-bashing a central plank of his new position’s editorial line, and seems to do so with glee. 
 
Unsurprisingly, the comments were met with less than approving remarks by Theresa May’s former adviser, Nick Timothy, via Twitter. Asked for the prime minister’s reaction, her official spokesman said: ‘The contents of the former chancellor’s freezer are probably not a matter for me.’
 
However, former colleagues out for revenge were the least of the prime minister’s worries yesterday, as the Conservative’s current governing partners, the Democratic Unionists, sided with Labour yesterday on a parliamentary vote in support of higher NHS wages and curbing tuition fee rises.
 
The move places further pressure on the increasingly isolated figure of the prime minister to make a decisive break on economic policy before the Autumn Budget due to be delivered on November 22. 
 
As political infighting among the Tories and calls for the prime minister to stand down continue apace, it might not be so much ‘Night of the Living Dead’ as ‘Night of the Long Knives’ for Theresa May before the year is out.

 

NEWS

European leaders have accused Jean-Claude Juncker of proposing ‘the blueprint for a United States of Europe’ in the European Commission president’s latest State of the Union speech yesterday. He set out bolds plans for a single, more powerful EU president and paved the way for Bulgaria and Romania to join the Schengen travel zone. Juncker’s speech comes ahead of an ‘important intervention’ by the British prime minister to be delivered in Florence on September 22. Intervening in the stalled Brexit negotiations, the speech is to give fresh details about the future UK-EU relationship, but will not tackle the so-called ‘divorce bill’.  
 
Last night Paris celebrated the news it is to host the 2024 Olympic Games – a full century since it last held the competition. The International Olympic Committee (IOC), organised an agreement between Paris and Los Angeles to host the games in 2024 and 2028 respectively, as the last contenders between the two competitions.
 
Rising names feature alongside literary heavyweights as this year’s Man Booker prize shortlist was announced yesterday. Competition includes 29-year old newcomer Fiona Mozley, whose Elmet - a rural noir set in Yorkshire – was written on her smartphone whilst commuting, and Scottish author, Ali Smith, who is in contention for the fourth time with her post-Brexit novel, Autumn. The winner of the £50,000 prize will be announced October 17.

 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Unemployment in the UK has hit a 42-year low, with the jobless rate falling to 4.3 per cent in the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) data. Stagnant wage growth at 2.1 per cent in cash terms over the last year was outstripped by yesterday’s announcement of rising inflation hitting 2.9 per cent in August, meaning earnings were down 0.4 per cent in real terms. The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee will consider an interest rate rise today, in order to cool the economy and halt inflation.
 
Amazon is at the centre of a £1.5bn tax fraud row, as figures from HM Revenues & Customs suggest that foreign companies selling goods through the online giant are evading tax on up to a third of all sales. Parliament’s public accounts committee (PAC) was told yesterday that Amazon was not providing ‘complete transparency’ in its tax share and that of its online retailers, more than five years after concerns were first raised.
 
The new polymer Bank of England £10 note featuring Jane Austen enters circulation today, with collectors rushing to secure low serial number editions worth thousands of pounds. The Austen quote printed on the note – “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!” – is an odd choice, since it is said in irony by the character Caroline Bingley in Pride and Prejudice, who disliked books.

 

MARKETS

What happened yesterday?
News of falling unemployment wasn’t able to stifle concerns over wage growth – stagnating at 2.1 per cent in the three months to July – leading the FTSE 100 to close down 0.28 per cent to 7,379.70. Although no change is expected, the employment news has sparked hopes of a hike in interest rates by the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee which is due to meet today.
 
In company news, industrial metal producers dragged down the FTSE on lower prices for gold and copper, with Glencore closing down 8.9p to 363.6p and Rio Tinto down 66p to £36.25. Brent crude prices were up 1 per cent, nudging the $55 per barrel mark, after the International Energy Agency forecast higher demand for 2017, encouraging traders on the oil market’s health. BP and Royal Dutch Shell ‘B’ were the winners here, with BP up 3.5p to 452.4p and Shell up 14p to £21.92.
 
The pound was down slightly at 1.32 on yesterday’s one-year high against the dollar, and finished steady at 1.11 against the euro – a six-week high.

Finals
Ricardo

Interims
Corero Network Security, Forbidden Technologies, Gresham House, GVC Holdings, Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets, Next, Ophir Energy, Property Franchise Group

Trading Announcements
Booker Group, Safestore Holdings

 

AGMs
Abzena, Arian Silver Corporation, Colefax Group, Falcon Oil and Gas Ltd, JP Morgan Brazil Inv Trust, Worldwide Healthcare Trust, Xafinity

UK Economic Announcements
(09:30) Retail Sales
(12:00) BoE Interest Rate Decision
 
Int. Economic Announcements
(13:30) Continuing Claims (US)
(13:30) Initial Jobless Claims (US)
(14:30) Consumer Price Index (US)

 

COLUMNS OF NOTE

Malcolm Robertson, founding partner here at Charlotte Street Partners, writes via Medium on family history, and the unexpected visit of George Orwell to Port Ellen police station on Islay. As the old station is refurbished into new homes, Robertson comments on the value of locally-driven projects in the present day and finding community in Scotland’s most remote reaches.
 
Writing in the FT, Robin Harding reflects on a childhood hero in Warren Buffettand how Buffetism has shaped the American economy - perhaps for the worse. He argues that although diminished competition, rising profits and lower investment have been central to Buffett’s ability to profit from existing monopolies, his approach should now make way for economic innovation in the style of Elon Musk.

 

DID YOU KNOW?

The word ‘salary’ originates from the Latin ‘sal’ for salt. In ancient Rome, salt was sometimes used as payment for soldiers, giving us the modern day coinage.

 

PARLIAMENTARY HIGHLIGHTS

TODAY

House of Commons
Oral Questions
Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (including Topical Questions)
 
Business Statement
Business questions to the Leader of the House
 
General Debate
Abuse and intimidation of candidates and the public during the General Election campaign

House of Lords
Oral Questions
Trade relations with Northern Cyprus when the UK leaves the EU – Lord Balfe
 
Recommendations in the Housing White Paper ‘Fixing our broken housing market’ – The Lord Bishop of St Albans
 
Improving public awareness, and clinical management, of sepsis – Lord Grade of Yarmouth
 
HMS Ocean and hurricane relief operations – Lord West of Spithead

Debate
Effect of gambling advertisements on children – Lord Chadlington
 
Impact of the English Baccalaureate on the take-up of creative and technical subjects – Baroness Stedman-Scott


Scottish Parliament
General Question's
 
First Minister's Questions
 
Ministerial Statement: Community Justice in Scotland
 
Scottish Government Debate: Scotland’s Food and Drink Strategy, Ambition 2030

TOMORROW

House of Commons
In recess until 8 October for party conference season.

House of Lords
In recess until 8 October for party conference season.

Scottish Parliament 
No business scheduled.