3 April 2018


3 April 2018

Good morning,

I’ve never known anything other than burgundy passports. They were introduced in 1988, two years before I was born, which perhaps goes some way to explaining why I have been unable to get my head around the passion of some for the return of the blue passport.

Still, I thought the decision about the colour of the document that comes out of my sock drawer once a year had been made – albeit with far more fanfare than it deserved – and there was nothing more to it.

However, the saga has continued as it emerged that the new passports are to be made outside the UK by a Franco-Dutch company – an issue which politicians of all persuasions have jumped on.

This has created the environment for De La Rue, the existing British provider of UK passports, to announce that it is appealing the decision to switch supplier.

Meanwhile, schools are underfunded, there is a social care crisis and we aren’t building enough homes…


A 17-year-old girl has died and a 16-year-old boy is in critical condition after two shootings in London. The girl was found with gunshot wounds in Tottenham yesterday evening. She was attended to by paramedics but later pronounced dead. The boy was found in Walthamstow and is being treated at an east London hospital. There has been a spike in violence in the capital in recent weeks, with the Metropolitan Police having investigated 46 murders in 2018.

Failure to disclose vital evidence in criminal cases is “routine and deliberate”, according to a report in The Times. A dossier, which draws on the reports of focus groups with police, prosecutors and judges, was obtained under an FOI request to the Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate and the Inspectorate of Constabulary. It shows a commonly held view that the defence is not entitled to see all the evidence, and revealed the tactics deployed to prevent it being handed over.

Lord Lansley, the former health secretary, has revealed that he is being treated for bowel cancer. In a piece for The Telegraph, timed to coincide with Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, he has urged people to speak to their GP if they are in doubt and called for an expansion of the “Fit” screening test, as well as progress in identifying the genetic causes of the disease.

Business & Economy

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published further remedies proposed by 21st Century Fox relating to its bid for Sky. The first option would be to ring-fence and legally separate Sky News, with all its operations being transferred to a new subsidiary. The second would involve transferring Sky News into a discrete entity which would then be sold to Disney.

US stocks fell sharply yesterday as the trade dispute between the US and China escalated. In response to US import tariffs on steel and aluminium, Beijing has introduced duties of up to 25% on 128 American products. The Trump administration has promised to fight back, with Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, saying that President Trump would “stand up and fight for the American worker”.


The week ahead
President Trump hosts a meeting with the presidents of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania today, with security issues and economic co-operation top of the agenda. Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis has already stated on television that he expects a declaration regarding the security and independence of the Baltic states to be adopted at the meeting.

Also on the global affairs front, Turkish president Tayyip Erdogran meets his Iranian and Russian counterparts on Wednesday to discuss the conflict in Syia.

On Friday, Hungary’s parliamentary election takes place. Polls suggest that a majority for Fidesz, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s nationalist-conservative party, is the likely outcome.

In economic news, German retail trade figures for February will be published today with hopes for a rebound following poor January figures. Meanwhile, on Thursday, the March IHS Markit/CIPS purchasing managers’ index for services is released which will help economists determine the likelihood of a 21st successive quarter of UK economic growth.

Menhaden Capital

Trading Announcements
Renew Holdings

Fortebank Joint Stock Company 14% SNR NTS 30/06/22 (REG S), XTrackers II X Global Aggregate Swap

Fair Oaks Income Limited 2017 Shs NPV

Polemos, PureTech Health

UK Economic Announcements
(01:01): BRC Shop Price Index
(09:30): PMI Manufacturing

International Economic Announcements
(07:00) Retail Sales (GER)
(08:55) PMI Manufacturing (GER)
(09:00) PMI Manufacturing (US)
(20:30) Auto Sales (US)

Columns of Note

Writing in The Times, Rachel Sylvester argues that British centrist politics needs a saviour – pointing to research that suggests 56% of the population does not feel that any of the political parties represent their views. She suggests the return of David Miliband could spark the establishment of a “socially and economically liberal, internationalist and domestically reforming” party taking in the Liberal Democrats and moderates from both the main parties.

In City A.M., Ryan Bourne contends that, despite the rhetoric from the left, inequality in the UK, measured by both wealth and income, is not rising. Furthermore, he says, the UK is relatively low on the wealth inequality league table. Bourne goes onto argue that if Jeremy Corbyn and the left are “going to put inequality front and centre of their political offering, they need to be honest about the facts”.

Did you know?

NRKBeta, a Norwegian news website, requires readers to answer a short quiz to demonstrate they have read and understood the article before they can post in the comments section.

Parliamentary highlights

House of Commons

In recess until 16 April 2018

House of Lords

In recess until 16 April 2018

Scottish Parliament

In recess until 16 April 2018