16 July 2019

Javier Maquieira

16 July 2019

Good morning,

Chris Hayes wrote in A Colony in a Nation that ‘white fear emanates from knowing that white privilege exists and the anxiety that it might end.’ The latest ‘birtherist’ and downright racist attack by the President of the United States against Democrat congresswomen is probably one of his most offensive – though perhaps predictable – outbursts, not least for being filled with white fear, but also for adding a new and dangerous dimension to the US political game.
 
Although Donald Trump wasn’t specific about which congresswomen he told to ‘go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came’, he seemed to have four in mind: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.
 
The group, also known as ‘The Squad’, has been at odds with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, due to her reluctance to impeach Trump over the humanitarian crisis at the southern border. On Monday, however, Mrs Pelosi said Congress would respond by drafting a resolution condemning the President’s tweets.
 
In his attempt to ‘make America white again’, as Mrs Pelosi has put it, Mr Trump has once again refused to recognise the Americanness of non-white Americans, and provoked even our famously reserved Prime Minister Theresa May into joining other world leaders in deeming the President’s comments ‘completely unacceptable.’
 
As a leader who builds his political strategy on bullying opponents at home and abroad, Trump is arguably employing outrageous behaviour to great effect in forcing a divide between the moderate and progressive flanks of the Democratic Party in Congress, and ultimately limiting the chances of Democrats winning the 2020 presidential elections.
 
Notably, while Democratic candidates continue to compete over who can make the most compelling argument against Trump’s illiberal positions, Republicans remain united in their lack of condemnation, with very few of them criticising his attacks. In a press conference on Monday, ‘The Squad’ told others not to ‘take the bait’, warning that the President’s comments were a ‘distraction’ from policy debates around healthcare and immigration.
 
At the end of the day, there’s only one thing that speaks louder than Trump’s bigotry, and that’s the complicit silence of many in US and international politics. Without a united and final stance against racism and sexism, we risk going back to a time in history where white privilege rested overwhelmingly on the fear of others.

News

Foreign Secretary and Conservative candidate Jeremy Hunt said that there is a ‘small window’ to save the Iran nuclear deal after meeting EU foreign ministers. In a fresh bid to ease heightened tensions between the UK and Iran following the British Royal Marines seizing of an Iranian oil tanker earlier this month, Mr Hunt said he would work with France and Germany to find a way to ‘preserve’ the agreement, which involves Iran limiting nuclear activities in exchange for the easing of economic sanctions. The Foreign Secretary also warned that if Tehran decided to acquire nuclear weapons, the situation would become ‘very toxic and dangerous.’
 
Extinction Rebellion blocked the urban centres of five British cities in what they called ‘a summer uprising.’ The group of climate emergency protesters said on Monday that the disruption will go on in different places throughout the week, with 500 willing to go to prison and another 500 ready to be arrested at protests in London, Leeds, Bristol, Cardiff and Glasgow. In each of the demonstrations, a boat with the message ‘Act Now’ on it was used as a stage from which activists made speeches and played music. (£)
 
The candidate to become the next President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, is seeking to win over Members of the European Parliament and secure the job with final pledges on the climate crisis, Brexit, an EU minimum wage, and gender quotas for company boards. The German defence minister is due to make a speech to the European Parliament this morning before MEPs cast their vote in the early evening. With Social Democrats, the greens, the hard left and others opposing her candidacy, it is still uncertain whether she will manage to secure the support of the 374 parliamentarians needed. 

Business & Economy

China’s National Bureau of Statistics reported a GDP growth of 6.2 per cent year on year, the slowest figure in nearly 30 years since the NBS started calculating its GDP data in 1992. Despite the trade war with the US taking a toll on exports, Beijing said that the country managed to avoid a more serious slowdown by implementing tax cuts and introducing industrial policies to stimulate investment earlier in the year. With President Donald Trump celebrating the slowdown as an American victory, the strong position of China’s domestic economy has given Chinese president Xi Jinping some leeway to withstand a prolonged trade war with the US. (£)
 
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney revealed on Monday that mathematician Alan Turing will be the face of the new £50 banknote after being selected from a shortlist of 12 options. Convicted of gross indecency for being homosexual and posthumously pardoned by the Queen, Dr Turing is best known for devising code-breaking machines during the Second World War, and is considered to be the father of computer science and artificial intelligence. The note, which will enter circulation by the end of 2021, will also feature a quote from Dr Turing: ‘This is only a foretaste of what is to come and only the shadow of what is going to be.’
 
Uber announced that it will link compensation for some senior executives to meeting diversity targets in the workplace. The firm, which will introduce diversity as one ‘key metric’ to evaluate performance, has set itself a target to grow the number of women in senior positions to 35% by 2022. Uber also wants to increase the number of ‘underrepresented employees’ at lower grades to 14%. The decision comes after widespread accusations of chauvinism at the company under former CEO Travis Kalanick and after two women were sexually assaulted by an Uber driver in Leeds.

Markets

London stocks edged higher on Monday as investors reflected on China’s mixed economic data and the start of the US earnings season. The FTSE 100 rose 0.3% at 7,531.72 with its gains underpinned by mining stocks, while the pound was weaker both against the US dollar at £1.2522 (down 0.39%) and versus the euro at €1.1120 (down 0.32%).
 
Aside from news of China growing at the slowest pace in 27 years but still reporting better-than-expected results in industrial production and retail sales, the focus was also on geopolitical tensions between European countries and Iran. France, Germany, and the UK warned Tehran to ‘act responsibly’ and comply with the commitments of the nuclear agreement signed in 2015.
 
In corporate news, copper miner Antofagasta’s stocks (up 4.01%) closed in the green after a World Bank international arbitration tribunal ordered the Pakistani government to pay £5.8bn in damages over a copper project. On the downside, shares in retailer Sports Direct (down 9.57%) dropped as the group said it was delaying the publication of its annual results and revealed the earnings guidance given to the City in December may have been too optimistic. Software company Micro Focus (down 5.66%) was also among the losers after it was reported that chairman Kevin Loosemore sold 650,000 shares in the business last week.
 
In the US, stocks finished higher on Wall Street after reaching new highs last week as a result of Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell’s hints of an interest rate cut. The S&P 500 rose 0.02% to 3,014.30. While the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.1% at 27,359.16 by close of trading, the Nasdaq 100 added 0.3% at 7,966.93.

What's happening today?

Finals
Koovs Plc
Versarien

Interims
Augean

AGMs
Ao World
B.p Marsh
Burberry
Charles Stanley
Codemasters Gr.
Electrocomponents
Johnson Matthey
Martin C.asia
Premier Foods
Ramsdens Hldgs
Renold
Severn Trent
Techfinancials
Yellow Cake Plc
 
UK Economic Announcements
(08:30) Consumer Price Index
(09:30) Retail Price Index
(09:30) Producer Price Index
 
Int. Economic Announcements
(10:00) Consumer Price Index (EU)
(12:00) MBA Mortgage Applications (US)
(13:30) Building Permits (US)
(13:30) Housing Starts (US)
(15:30) Crude Oil Inventories (US)

Columns of Note

In light of the recent nomination of Ursula von der Leyen for the European Commission presidency, The Guardian’s Cas Mudde argues that the ratification of the European Council’s proposal of EU high appointees by the European Parliament would kill off the Spitzenkandidaten system and undermine the role of voters in European governance. Mudde warns that the solution to the democratic deficit in the European institutions depends on the European Parliament rejecting the nominees and proposing its own list of candidates, considering Von der Leyen was nominated after playing no role in the European elections.
 
Parliamentary sketch writer Michael Deacon opines in The Telegraph that Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt’s claims to use a no-deal Brexit to alarm EU leaders might as well not work. Reflecting on last night’s leadership debate between both candidates, Deacon suggests that with both Johnson and Hunt lacking the ‘lion-hearted fearlessness’ that they are trying to portray as prospective world leaders, the EU will probably not panic over their threats just yet. (£)

Did you know?

Super Mario Bros. was so popular in Japan that the strategy guide was the number one best-selling non-manga book for two consecutive years.

Parliamentary highlights

TODAY
 
House of Commons
 
Oral questions
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (including Topical Questions)
 
Ten Minute Rule Motion

Flexible Working - Helen Whately
 
Legislation

Courts and Tribunals (Online Procedure) Bill [Lords]: 2nd reading
 
Money Resolution

Courts and Tribunals (Online Procedure) Bill [Lords] - Jesse Norman
 
Backbench Business

Debate on a Motion relating to the Inter-Ministerial Group on Early Years Family Support - Andrea Leadsom, Lucy Powell, Norman Lamb
 
Adjournment

Access to drugs to treat Batten disease - Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg
 
House of Lords

Oral questions
Improving rural bus services - Baroness Randerson
 
Implementation of the EU Settlement Scheme - Lord Greaves
 
Reports that children have been separated from their parents in migrant detention camps in the US - Lord Roberts of Llandudno
 
Impact of NHS usage of devices such as Amazon’s Alexa for health care advice - Lord Patel
 
Legislation

Supply and Appropriation (Main Estimates) (No.3) Bill - Second reading and remaining stages - Lord Young of Cookham
 
Debate

International Relations Committee report: 'Rising nuclear risk, disarmament and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty' - Lord Howell of Guildford
 
EU Financial Affairs Sub-Committee report: 'Brexit: the European Investment Bank' - Baroness Falkner of Margravine
 
Scottish Parliament
 
On recess until 1 September 2019
 
TOMORROW
 
House of Commons
 
Oral questions
International Development (including Topical Questions)
 
Prime Minister's Question Time
 
Ten Minute Rule Motion
Reservoirs (Flood Risk) - Holly Lynch
 
Legislation
Census (Return Particulars and Removal of Penalties) Bill [Lords]: 2nd reading
 
General debate
The Gemma White Report
 
Motion
Debate on a Motion relating to the changes to the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme
 
Adjournment
Transport in Bedfordshire - Mr Gavin Shuker
 
House of Lords
 
Oral questions
A comprehensive plan for inter-faith dialogue for areas of religious conflict - Lord Lea of Crondall
 
Introducing a 10p plastic bag charge in England - Lord Hayward
 
Whether defence expenditure is sufficient to meet UK responsibilities nationally and internationally - Lord Lee of Trafford
 
Legislation
Wild Animals in Circuses (No.2) Bill - Report stage - Lord Gardiner of Kimble
 
Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill – Report stage and third reading - Lord Duncan of Springbank
 
Orders and regulations
Draft Electricity Capacity (No. 2) Regulations 2019 - Lord Henley
 
Debate
Devolution to English cities in the light of Lord Heseltine’s report 'Empowering English Cities' - Lord Heseltine
 
Scottish Parliament
 
On recess until 1 September 2019