Is this the end of British politics as we know it?
In 2017 you might reasonably ask yourself that question on average once a week, but you’d be forgiven for thinking so given the tone of Jeremy Corbyn’s speech to the Labour Party conference in Brighton yesterday and the way it was received.
Standing on a platform of much greater state intervention in the market and tax hikes for big business, the Labour leader proudly claimed, “This is the real centre of gravity in British politics. We are now the political mainstream”. Gone are the days of Labour’s pandering to Miliband’s ‘squeezed middle’ or Blair’s ‘centre ground’; Mr Corbyn believes the voters will instead come left to meet him.
The centrepiece of Mr Corbyn’s 75-minute address was wide-sweeping housing reform, including city-wide rent controls and tenant ballots on housing developments, clearly geared towards the younger voters who opted for him in their thousands in June’s General Election.
Yet the rise and rise of Labour’s current fortunes could betray a rocky path ahead. The next general election may – at least in theory – be as many as five years away, and given the current volatility of British politics, much could go awry before then. Take your pick: a new centrist party could emerge to sweep up Britain’s middling voters; a future global security crisis may cast the Labour leader’s pacifism in a less flattering angle; or – whisper it – Theresa May could rediscover her mojo and take the upper hand in Brexit negotiations. Some are also asking what policies Corbyn could produce that will inspire those beyond his core supporters.
The crucial question for Labour, then, is can the momentum hold? Judging from the rapturous applause in Brighton and the radicalism of his programme for government, I’d say Mr Corbyn was willing to bet the house on it.
Theresa May is to make a speech marking the 20th anniversary of the independence of the Bank of England by renewing her case that the free market best secures higher living standards. Intended to juxtapose Jeremy Corbyn’s speech at the Labour Party conference yesterday, May will call the free market ‘the greatest agent of collective human progress ever created’.
President Donald Trump has unveiled wide-sweeping reforms which would cut US corporation tax from 35% to 20% and end the taxation of non-US earnings. The proposals are intended to shore up support from the business and middle classes for the president, and divert attention from the collapse of Trump’s latest attempts to repeal President Obama’s healthcare reform this week.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has rejected claims by Donald Trump that the social media platform was deliberately biased against his run for the presidency in November 2016. Facebook is to hand over more than 3,000 political adverts to congressional investigators probing alleged Russian meddling in the US election. President Trump made similar allegations against the New York Times and Washington Post.
Business and Economy
Airline Ryanair faces legal charges after a second wave of flights were cancelled, affecting up to 400,000 travellers. The Civil Aviation Authority has written to Michael O’Leary, chief executive of Europe’s largest airline, threatening enforcement action “for persistently misleading passengers”. The decision to ground 18,000 flights between November and March was met with criticism by consumer group Which?, which said that Ryanair had “effectively cancelled Christmas”.
The UK government is considering a veto on future contracts with the US aerospace manufacturer Boeing unless it backs down from the Bombardier trade dispute which has put more than 10,000 UK jobs at risk. Theresa May has been forced to toughen her stance with the US government after it claimed Boeing’s C-series planes had been illegally subsidised, levying a 220% import tariff as a result.
have been unveiled by the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association. The move comes as new research by the group found that up to three million workers with final salary pensions have a 50% chance of losing up to a fifth of their income because employers have made their savings targets too high.
What happened yesterday
The financial sector enjoyed a delayed boost from last week’s signalling that the Bank of England will raise UK interest rates from November. Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds were the big winners here, jumping 3.4% and 3.24% respectively, in response to a report by American investment bank Jefferies which suggested a hike in base rates would boost earnings for the banks.
Strong gains in the sector – which also included notable increases for HSBC (up 10.9p to 730) and Barclays (up 2p to 190.3) – meant the FTSE 100 closed up 0.38% at 7313.51.
Elsewhere, news that Ryanair will stymie the cost of further flight cancellations by slowing growth plans between November and March cheered investors to rally the carrier’s shares up €0.66 to €17.12.
On the currency markets, the pound finished down 0.44% on the dollar at $1.34, and flat against the euro at £1.14.
Allergy Therapeutics, Clinigen Group, Hansard Global, Inlan Homes, Produce Investments
Air Partner, CityFibre Infrastructure Holdings, Etalon Group GDR (Reg S), Frontier Smart Technologies Group Limited, Green Dragon Gas Ltd. (DI), Harvey Nash Group, Microsaic Systems, Matomy Media Group Limited (DI), Midatech Pharma, NetScientific, Tissue Regenix Group
Brooks Macdonald Group, Diverse Income Trust (The), Eckoh, Fulcrum Utility Services Ltd. (DI), Green Reit, Hargreaves Lansdown IG Group Holdings, Kier Group, Norish Units, Standard Life UK Smaller Companies Trust, United Carpets Group
3i Infrastructure, RPC Group, TUI AG Reg Shs (DI)
International Economic Announcements
(07.00) GFK Consumer Confidence (GER)
(10.00) Business Climate Indicator (EU)
(10.00) Consumer Confidence (EU)
(10.00) Economic Sentiment Indicator (EU)
(10.00) Industrial Confidence (EU)
(10.00) Services Confidence (EU)
(13.30) Continuing Claims (US)
(13.30) Initial Jobless Claims (US)
(13.30) Personal Consumption Expenditures (US)
(14.30) Gross Domestic Product (US)
Columns of note
Alistair Osborne suggests in The Times that the Bombardier affair is evidence that the UK will be increasingly isolated as a result of its intended trade model proposals post-Brexit. He comments that the US’s strong support for Boeing is the first bruising example of Donald Trump’s ‘America first’ policy in international trade, and paves the way for the end of the ‘special relationship’ in its current form.
In the Financial Times, Philip Stephens warns that Germany’s recent election result risks a more inward-looking country, which could upend the liberal globalized order in years to come. He suggests the move far outweighs the threat of right-wing extremism, and the current vacuum at the political centre can only be filled by a return to the country’s tested pro-market and pro-European policies.
Did you know?
The longest flight of a chicken was recorded at 13 seconds in 2014.
House of Commons
In recess until 9th October for party conference season
House of Lords
In recess until 9th October for party conference season
First Minister’s Questions
Importance of Worker Ownership to the Scottish Economy
Flexible Working, Maximising Talent and Driving Inclusive Growth
Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill
No business scheduled