20 June 2019


20 June 2019

Good morning,

My 16-year-old sister has developed a somewhat troubling catch phrase.
Much to the chagrin of my mother, in response to any kind of judgement my sister mutters coolly: “here for a good time, not a long time.”
Jarring for any parent to hear, I’m sure.
She’s joking of course, using it mostly to justify eating an entire, full-sized can of Pringles in the car on the way to school. Or to excuse siphoning rations of Drambuie (circa Christmas 2008) from my parents’ drinks cupboard into a Ribena bottle before trying her luck down the local Wetherspoons.
The sole fact that she replaces it with water to evade detection – as if someone’s going to miss it – somewhat undermines her professed commitment to a life of hard knocks.
However, she got me wondering. Why do we care so much about frivolous nonsense?
Why oh why did I spend my Tuesday evening watching five men in suits teetering on bar stools and pulling promises out of their backstop?
And then switch over to watch a bunch of vapid singles with a side order of fake tan and artificial everything, sunning themselves in Mallorca in an attempt to find love or, more pressingly, a paid collab with ASOS?
But by far my biggest time waster – when I should be out there carpe diem-ing my twenties away in the Hindu Kush à la Rory Stewart – is dieting.
Or what is now described as “wellness”. Which is just dieting with Gwyneth Paltrow’s face on it.
Jessica Knoll recently urged us to quash the industry in the New York Times and, until reading her piece, I had failed to notice how toxic its pseudoscientific claims actually were. And just how many had crept their way into my life under the pretence of clean living.
Those little slimy nuggets of fake news, you know the ones: don’t eat after 6pm; gluten makes you sluggish; dairy is for baby cows; juice cleansing; tea cleansing; intermittent fasting.
They’re all just tips designed to push us into a new diet plan at the end of the day and sadly we’ve made no progress from the skinny-equals-healthy fallacy of the nineties. We’ve just wrapped it up in Tuscan kale and served it with a side shot of turmeric and a sprinkle of self-loathing.
Knoll exposes wellness for what it is: a predominantly white, privileged enterprise that contributes to the horrendous cultural subtext that exists in our society and serves to give women eating disorders, while making it seem like they can’t be trusted to fuel their own bodies. Well, enough is enough.
Why do we care? What are we reaching for? Immortality? I find relative comfort in the fact that none of us is going to live forever. Even Gwynny herself has a sell-by date (unless the rumours are true and she is, in fact, a robot).
So, while my wannabe-rebel sister uses her catchphrase as a frivolous statement of adolescent revolt, maybe we could learn a thing or two from her and care less about the small stuff.
Sometimes, you’ve just got to grab that can of Pringles with both hands’ and take “wellness” off your worry list – because really, we’re doomed either way.


Conservative MPs are due to choose the two candidates to contest the final stage of the leadership race later today. The remaining four will be whittled down to three in yet another secret ballot, with the result expected at about 13.00 BST. There will then be a further vote to select the final two, one of whom will be elected leader by party members.
Meanwhile, it is rumoured that the candidates are considering boycotting the BBC’s next televised debate after it failed to effectively vet an imam who had previously made allegedly antisemitic comments. Abdullah Patel, who asked a question about Islamophobia on Tuesday night, was suspended from his mosque and roles as head and deputy head of schools after tweets about a Zionist conspiracy and violence against women emerged.
A pilot has been arrested over the death of Emiliano Sala in a light aircraft that crashed into the English Channel. David Henderson had arranged for the Premier League footballer to return to Cardiff from France on a Piper PA-46 Malibu flown by fellow pilot, David Ibbotson. It was later revealed the Ibbotson was not qualified to fly at night and should not have been carrying commercial passengers. (£)

Business & Economy

British Gas owner Centrica has confirmed it will cut up to 700 managementand back office roles in the UK as part of a previously announced wave of 4,000 job cuts, which the company intends to complete by 2020.
Office provider WeWork has struck one of its biggest European deals, with HSBC agreeing to lease more than a thousand desks in London. The UK bank is set to take 1,135 desks on a multiyear agreement at the group’s development in Waterloo, making it one of the shared office provider’s largest tenants globally. Agents said the agreement was the latest sign of WeWork competing with traditional landlords, attracting large teams from big corporations alongside start-ups and small firms. (£)
Philip Hammond is set to warn that a no-deal Brexit would harm the British economy, soak up £26.6 billion and risk the break-up of the UK. Speaking at the annual Mansion House dinner in the City of London today, he is expected to urge the next prime minister to come up with a Brexit plan “B” or risk a second referendum to break the parliamentary deadlock.


What happened yesterday?

The FTSE 100 edged down yesterday, with investors selling stakes in supermarket chains following the news that Tesco is considering opening a number of high-end convenience stores. Saga was another big loser after it revealed that Brexit had hit travel bookings. The index closed down 40 points, or 0.5%, at 7,404.
Meanwhile, the US Federal Reserve decided to keep interest rates flat but warned of the potential for rate cuts of as much as half a percentage point over the remainder of this year amid economic uncertainty and a drop in expected inflation. The central bank said it “will act as appropriate to sustain” economic expansion, dropping its promise to be “patient” about adjusting US interest rates.
As a result, US stocks inched higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the day up 38 points at 26,504. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq was up 33 points at 7,987.
On the currency markets, the pound was up 0.33% against the dollar at $1.27, but flat against the euro.

What's happening today?

Best of the Best
CareTech Holding
Anglo Asian Mining
BH Macro Ltd. GBP Shares
Centralnic Group
4D Pharma
Energiser Investments
Eurasia Mining
HSS Hire Group
HydroDec Group
NMC Health
REA Holdings
UK Economic Announcements
(09:30) Retail Sales
(12:00) BoE Interest Rate Decision
Int. Economic Announcements
(13:30) Continuing Claims (US)
(13:30) Current Account (US)
(13:30) Initial Jobless Claims (US)
(13:30) Philadelphia Fed Index (US)

Source: FTSE 100, Financial Times

Columns of Note

In today’s Financial Times Big Read, Mure Dickie looks at how Brexit uncertainty has revived the Scottish independence debate. The European election result offered graphic evidence of the diverging political views north and south of the border, fuelling Nicola Sturgeon’s nationalist fire. Still, independence isn’t a sure bet according to many analysts. Many SNP activists are impatient for action, but Sturgeon won’t organise a vote without UK government approval. And there is little chance of the next Tory prime minister granting such assent. (£)
To provide a sort of semi-rebuttal to this morning’s introduction, Lionel Shriver asks in this week’s Spectator: when did calorie counting become offensive? The premise of her argument is that snowflake millennials (that’s me I think) are going to have to learn to be less triggered by things that are ubiquitous in our society. (£)

Cartoon source: The Times

Did you know?
A study has shown that the physical endurance experienced by pregnant women is at the limit of what is humanly possible.

Parliamentary highlights

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
House of Commons
No business scheduled
House of Lords
No business scheduled
Scottish Parliament
No business scheduled