19 June 2019


19 June 2019

Good morning,

While a certain white substance dominated the headlines last week, Jacob Rees-Mogg managed to grab my attention with another: snowflakes.
Rees-Mogg spoke out against the continuing criticism of Boris Johnson’s comparison of Burqa-wearing Muslim women to “letterboxes” in a controversial column for The Telegraph last year. Those offended by Johnson’s choice of words, he claimed, were simply “snowflakes.”
This decade has seen the term ‘snowflake’ rapidly become popular political slang for those who are perceived as being too sensitive. The insult is typically directed at left-leaning young people, usually millennials or younger students, and by those – like Rees-Mogg – who are older and/or more right-wing.
Johnson’s history is out there for everyone to judge. And I think people should be permitted to feel genuine offence without automatically being labelled a snowflake. Too often, it seems like a lazy attempt to shut down a debate, to marginalise those who speak out.
The debate around British history is one such example. Scotland’s youngest ever MSP, Ross Greer, hailed Churchill as a “mass murderer” earlier this year; a comment which earned him the wrath of some of the most vocal anti-snowflakes.
Whatever you think of Greer’s choice of words, the undeniable fact remains that the real historical character of Churchill goes much deeper than his popular portrayal. Far from being easily offended, young people are pushing for these sometimes neglected and uncomfortable sides of British history to be aired.
Hearing any kind of racist, misogynistic, homophobic, or similarly offensive comment is far from pleasant and verbal assaults of this nature are on the rise. To claim that calling out an offensive comment makes for a weak character is disingenuous: how is it weak to speak up and challenge something that you perceive as wrong?
In fact, the people who love using the word the most are often the biggest snowflakes.
Take Piers Morgan, who probably uses the word more than anyone else in the country, pretending to vomit live on TV over a sausage roll. Or Donald Trump supporters in America who are unable to see the irony in describing their political opponents in that way, as they defend a president who is thin-skinned enough to throw his toys out of the pram over a blimp of him wearing a nappy.
Anyway, for today I’m choosing to focus on the sunshine pouring in through the window and pushing all thoughts of snowflakes to the back of my mind.


The Conservative Party leadership race progressed yesterday as the second ballot and TV debate took place. Dominic Raab was eliminated from the contest on Tuesday evening, leaving five candidates in the running, of whom Boris Johnson received the highest number of votes for a second time. Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt, Rory Stewart, Sajid Javid, and Johnson all later took part in an hour-long live BBC TV debate where they clashed on issues such as a no-deal Brexit.
US President Donald Trump has officially launched his bid for re-election next year. At a rally in Florida, Trump asked supporters to help “keep this team in place” for another four-year term and vowed “to keep America great again.” The launch comes in the midst of the Democratic primaries, which have seen some potential Democratic candidates place above Trump in early 2020 polling.
The Wellcome Trust has published a major report into public mistrust of vaccines. The findings have revealed that the world is regressing in the fight against preventable infectious diseases, as confidence in vaccinations lowers across the globe. The study is the biggest global analysis undertaken, examining more than 140,000 people across over 140 countries.

Business & Economy

Heathrow Airport has announced that it will construct a controversial third runway by 2026 and complete its expansion by 2050. The report, published on Tuesday, includes plans to reroute the M25 through a new tunnel under the runway. The proposals are now open to public consultation until September.
Boeing’s grounded 737 jet received a boost yesterday after British Airways owner IAG committed to ordering 200 of the planes. The Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air crashes earlier this year, both of which were operating the Boeing 737 Max, have resulted in the continuing grounding of the aircraft. Boeing has said it is confident that the planes will return to service by the end of the year.
Facebook has announced that it will launch its own digital currency within the next year. The cryptocurrency, ‘Libra’, forms part of a wider Calibra digital wallet package. It will be available by the middle of next year as a stand-alone app, initially only allowing payments between users via smartphones or other devices. Libra will be available to add to other digital wallets, including the Apple Wallet app.


What happened yesterday?

The FTSE 100 closed 1.2% higher yesterday, achieving the biggest one-day gain in four months.

What happened yesterday?

The FTSE 100 closed 1.2% higher yesterday, achieving the biggest one-day gain in four months.
UK shares were lifted across sectors as comments from the European Central Bank President, Mario Draghi, suggested that new rate cuts or asset purchases could be possible if inflation does not return to target levels.
UK shares also improved in response to a two-day meeting of the US Federal Reserve. It is expected that the meeting will lead to a reduction in interest rates by the central bank next month.
Ashtead stock rose by 6.1% as their 2019 revenue projections exceeded analysts’ expectations. Tesco also rose by 3.7% through comments that the company is targeting further improvements beyond the end of its current recovery plan.
The FTSE 250 midcap index also closed 0.8% higher. After a period of substantial falls, Kier Group stock rose by 11% in reaction to plans to sell the business, suspend its dividend, and cut hundreds of jobs.
European stocks reached a six-week high on Tuesday as the STOXX 600 index closed 1.8% higher. European markets similarly rose in response to Draghi’s comments and the resumption of trade talks between the United States and China at the G20 Summit.
Trade talks also influenced U.S. stocks, along with an increased confidence that the central bank will cut interest rates later this year. The S&P 500 neared a record high as it gained by 0.97%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by 1.36% and the Nasdaq Composite by 1.39%.

What's happening today?

ULS Technology 
Standard Life Private Equity Trust
Brave Bison Group
BioPharma Credit
Cadogan Petroleum
ECSC Group
Fair Oaks Income Limited 2017 Shs NPV
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI)
Inspired Energy
Midatech Pharma
N4 Pharma
Novacyt S.A. (CDI)
Northern Electricity Prf
Summit Therapeutics
Tarsus Group
Woodbois Limited
Int. Economic Announcements
(07:00) Producer Price Index (GER)
(09:00) Current Account (EU)
(12:00) MBA Mortgage Applications (US)
(15:30) Crude Oil Inventories (US)

Source: FTSE 100, Financial Times

Columns of Note

As climate change activists continue to disrupt parts of Edinburgh, Gaby Hinsliff in The Guardian focuses on another growing challenge facing the planet: fast fashion. A £1 bikini from online retailer Missguided has caused controversy this week as climate campaigners argue that it represents the problem with the rise of super cheap, ‘wear once and then throw away’ clothing. Hinsliff makes the case for why the government – as well as the public – needs to be concerned about the fashion industry in addressing the climate emergency.
Rather than discussing how we should remember our past, historian Robert Tombs makes a case in The Telegraph for why we need to remember it. Schools are increasingly leaning towards the exclusion of the British Empire from its curriculum due to the challenges which the topic entails. Tombs lyrically outlines the importance of historical memory, as well as suggesting the learning potentials within the diverse themes that the topic can raise.

Cartoon source: The New Yorker

Did you know?
A group of clowns is sometimes called a giggle.

Parliamentary Highlights

House of Commons

Oral Questions
Prime Minister’s Question Time
Ten Minute Rule Motion
Nuclear Submarine Recycling (Reporting) – Luke Pollard
Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Bill: remaining stages
Use of algorithms in Home Office visa processing – Chi Onwurah
House of Lords
Oral questions
Quality of careers advice in schools – Baroness Pidding
Findings on the report of the UN’s special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights – Baroness Janke
Resources at the UK’s borders to prevent illegal arms and illicit drugs entering the country and whether they need to be increased when the UK exits the EU – Lord Harris of Haringey
Action on determining initial immigration and asylum cases – Lord Scriven
Wild Animals in Circuses (No.2) Bill - Second reading – Lord Gardiner of Kimble
International Widows Day 2019 and steps to empower widows in developing countries – Lord Loomba
Scottish Parliament
Ministerial Statement
The Scottish Government’s Response to the Expert Review of Mental Health Services for Young People Entering and in Custody at HMP and YOI Polmont
Stage 3 Proceedings
Planning (Scotland) Bill
House of Commons 
Oral questions
Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Including Topical Questions)
Church Commissioners, the House of Commons Commission, and the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission
Business Statement
Business Questions to the Leader of the House – Mel Stride
Backbench Business
Debate on a Motion on Refugee Family Reunion – Angus Brendan MacNeil
General Debate on Court Closures and Access to Justice
Establishing a medical duty of care for sea port agents – Alec Shelbrooke
House of Lords
Oral questions
Progress has been made in the inter-party talks in Northern Ireland – Lord Lexden
Progress of Brexit discussions with the European Union - Baroness McIntosh of Pickering
Impact of the recent increase in thefts of catalytic converters on motorists and the insurance industry - Lord Berkeley of Knighton
Addressing youth violence – The Lord Bishop of St Albans
Incidence of antisemitism worldwide – Baroness Berridge
Protecting and representing the interests of future generations in policy making – Lord Bird
Scottish Parliament 
First Minister’s Questions
Members’ Business
First Anniversary of the Glasgow School of Art Fire
Ministerial Statement
2018 – 19 Scottish Government Provisional Outturn
Stage 3 Proceedings
Planning (Scotland) Bill