17 August


Good morning,

Last night I battled my way through the crowds in the capital to attend "In Conversation with John Prescott", the second in a series of interviews with prominent figures in the media as part of the University of Edinburgh's offering at the Festival.

Lord Prescott was in fine form as he regaled his audience with stories from his near 50-year career in politics and spoke about his current efforts in making the case for UK constitutional change that properly represents the northern regions of England.

Unsurprisingly, interest peaked when he spoke of his time in the centre of the Blair/Brown dynamic during the last Labour government and that infamous incident when he took the Prime Minister’s demand to “connect with the electorate” perhaps too literally on the campaign trail in 2001.

Having been well known to align with the left of the party, and a vocal supporter of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, it came as a surprise to discover that one of his regrets was voting for Michael Foot as party leader, one of nine leaders that he has served under. Despite agreeing with much of Foot’s ideas, the former deputy prime minister conceded that he soon realised the job was not suited to him and Denis Healey would have been a better choice, despite the reservations he had about him.

I wonder if Trump-supporting voters in America are regretting their choice as criticism towards the president over his response to the racist violence in Virginia last weekend intensifies. A spate of resignations by chief executives led Trump to scrap two White House business advisory panels yesterday, while his Republican predecessors in the White House, George Bush Sr and George W Bush, deemed the situation serious enough to make a rare intervention to warn that, “America must always reject racial bigotry, antisemitism and hatred in all its forms.”

In contrast to Mr Prescott, it is clear that disapproval towards the president extends well beyond an egg-throwing protestor.


Immigration plans being drawn up by the Home Office will allow EU citizens to be free to continue to travel to Britain and live here after the UK leaves the European Union. The plans are expected to be announced in the next few weeks. (£)

Sarah Champion, Labour’s shadow minister for women and equalities, has resigned from the party’s front bench following criticism over a newspaper article she wrote about grooming gangs. Champion apologised for her "extremely poor choice of words" in the article that was published in the Sun last Friday.

More than 400,000 university places are likely to be decided today as teenagers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland discover their A-level results. A drop in university applications this year is likely to result in a “buyer’s market” with more options available for those in search of places.

Business and Economy

The US government has filed what is expected to be the largest Libor scandal-related lawsuit against some of Britain’s biggest lenders for their role in the collapse of American banks once worth more than $400 billion. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has begun a High Court claim against a number of banks. (£)

Apple has set aside a $1 billion production budget as it attempts to rival Netflix and blockbuster shows such as Game of Thrones. The budget will be used to make and buy television series and films as it competes in the lucrative video-streaming market. (£)

Leading payment and credit card groups such as MasterCard, American Express, and Visa have joined Silicon Valley companies including Twitter in blocking hate groups from key services such as payments, cyber security defences and social media sites. The move has attracted criticism that it violates freedom of speech. (£)


The FTSE100 rose for the third consecutive day yesterday, with gains among mining firms playing a significant part.

The index was up 0.7% at 7,433.03 points at the close, with Glencore, Anglo American, Antofagasta and Rio Tinto all posting gains.

It wasn’t such good news for car insurer Admiral Group, whose shares dropped 6% after interim results reported a weaker loss ratio for the first half of the year. However, having rallied more than 21% ahead of the results, some have speculated that profit-taking was in part behind the drop.


Rank Group


Allied Minds, Apax Global Alpha Limited, Capital Drilling Ltd. (DI), Gem Diamonds Ltd. (DI), Hikma Pharmaceuticals, India Capital Growth Fund Ltd., Kaz Minerals, Marshalls, Oxford Biomedica

UK Economic Announcements

(09:30) Retail Sales (US)

International Economic Announcements

(07:00) Wholesale Price Index (GER)

(10:00) Consumer Price Index (EU)

(11:00) Balance of Trade (EU)

(13:30) Continuing Claims (US)

(13:30) Initial Jobless Claims (US)

(13:30) Philadelphia Fed Index (US)

(14:15) Capacity Utilisation (US)

(14:15) Industrial Production (US)

(15:30) Crude Oil Inventories (US)

Columns of note

Graeme Leach, chief executive and chief economist of Macronomics, writes in City AM that the financial markets are far too sanguine at present considering the very real threat of nuclear war. He says that since Trump’s election, markets have “absorbed good news (potential tax cuts, deregulation, infrastructure spending etc.) and ignored bad news (potential protectionism, impeachment etc.).”

Writing for The Times, David Aaronovitch discusses the situation in Charlottesville and argues that tearing down statues will do little to heal the racial divide in the country. He says that it is not a problem of statues, but “a problem of policies, of strategies and of attitudes” and it is better to offer context behind the monuments, however toxic that may be. (£)

Did you know?

Over the course of just one day, our blood ’runs’ the distance of 19,312 kilometres.



House of Commons

In recess until 5th September

House of Lords

In recess until 5th September

Scottish Parliament

In recess until 3rd September