30 May 2019

Natalie Northridge

30 May 2019

Good morning,

What do you think when you hear the words ‘climate change’? Torrents of water subsuming land. A solitary, starving, polar bear struggling for space on the last buoyant ice cap. How familiar are we with these images? Moreover, as we consume these images, what are we prompted to feel?  

We feel a profound sense of guilt for the dwindling animal kingdom before going back to our palm-oil shampoo. We ruminate on the loss of these images as we gaze out of the window of our cheap flights to the continent. We feel that this is an extremely serious problem, but not one which is in our immediate space yet. In recent years, cyclones have ravaged the shores of Mozambique, and extreme weather is on the rise in the United States. Yet the impact of climate change remains remote from our everyday experience. 

This is not to say that the images and statistics of global climate do not have an impact, but they can only guide the campaign so far. We need to widen the approach and include stories closer to home. The reality is that climate change is happening to us, and it is happening to us now. A town in Wales could the first town in Britain to have its population declared climate-change refugeesLondon councils are being forced to re-strategise to fortify the embankments on the Thames as the sea levels rise. These insidious headlines mark a damning fact: that climate change is no longer a distant problem. To drive home the fact these issues are affecting Britain as much as anywhere else, the localised impact of climate change needs more media attention. 

We need to refocus on how the impact of climate change is publicly expressed, in order to maintain our public’s attention. Because the declining state of the planet will have a profoundly detrimental impact on all of us, unless urgent action is taken.


Boris Johnson has been ordered to appear in court over claims he made that the UK gave the EU £350m a week. The Conservative frontrunner is accused of misconduct in public office over claims he lied and deliberately mislead the public during the 2016 campaign. The prosecution is lead  by Marcus Ball, who crowdfunded £200,000 for the case to go ahead. Mr Johnson’s representatives have said that the case was about “desire on the part of individuals... to undermine the referendum result”. The initial hearing will be at Westminster Magistrates’ Court- following this the case will be sent to the Crown Court for trial. The maximum sentence would be life imprisonment.  

The Scottish Government has published legislation which could allow a second referendum on Scottish independence before 2021. The bill does not yet specify a date, question or referendum period, and needs to be approved by Westminster in order to go forward. The First Minister has urged voters to support her proposal in order to send a clear message about Scotland’s opposition to Brexit. The Scottish Conservatives have accused Sturgeon of “pandering to her party and not speaking for the country”. 

US Special Counsel Robert Mueller has made his first public comments on the Russia inquiry. Muller has stated that charging president Donald Trump with a crime was not an option, however he also stated that if Trump had not committed a crime the report would have stated so. The report did not establish that the Trump campaign had colluded with Russia to influence the outcome of the election, however it did highlight 10 instances where Trump possibly tried to stop Muller’s investigation. Democratic lawyers have asked Muller to testify against Mr Trump in court, but Muller has stated that the report is his testimony and has announced his resignation from the justice department. 

Business & Economy

Online train tickets sales operator Trainline has announced it will list its shares on the London stock exchange, a move which it hopes will raise £75m. This would help to boost their profile and pay for growth. The company has been owned by US private equity house KKR since 2015, when it was bought for £500m. The valuation of trainline’s shares will not be known until nearer time of listing but it is expected to be one of bigger floatation's of year. 

The ‘big four’ largest supermarkets in the UK have all lost market share in recent months, with an increase in sales going to Aldi and Lidl. The low-cost German super markets now have a record combined share of the British market of 13.8 per cent. Sales at Sainsburys, Asda and Morrisons have all fallen in the last 3 months, and Tesco’s sales (the largest supermarket in the big four) plateaued. This decline in sales is made worse due to the comparison with stronger performance this time last year. (£) 

Boeing 737 Max planes will remain grounded at least until August, according to the head of the aviation trade’s main body IATA. The aircraft model has out of use since March, following the second of two fatal crashes within months of each other. Boeing’s CEO Dennis Muilenburg has said that Boeing expects to increase its long-term production rate to 57 a month, after initially cutting monthly output to 42 planes following the groundings. He has also stated that Boeing are making steady progress and is confident about getting the 737 Max back into the sky.


What happened yesterday?
The US-China trade war continues to wreak havoc on markets around the world. Beijing has threatened to restrict exports of rare earth metals amidst growing tensions. Yesterday in the US, the Dow Jones fell to close at the lowest level in nearly four months, down 0.87% to 25,126.41. The S&P 500 index also slumped to a two-month low down 0.69% to 2,783.02. 

At home FTSE 100 also closed in the red last night, 83.7 points or 1.2% down to 7,185.30. Marks and Spencer headed the losers, falling by 7.4%. Tesco and Ocado also made losses, by -5.21% and –3.11% respectively. Vodafone Group plc was the top riser, up 2.18 or 1.71%. Other risers included Severn Trent Plc (+12.50 or 0.64%), and Fresnillo (+4.00 or 0.64%).  

In financial markets, the pound closed at $1.26 and at €1.13. 

ASA International Group 
Coca-Cola European Partners (DI) 
DP Eurasia N.V. (DI) 
EastPharma Ltd GDR (Reg S) 
En+ Group GDR (Reg S) 
International Public Partnerships Ltd. 
Kcell Joint Stock Co GDR (Reg S) 
Mod Resources Limited NPV (DI) 
Oxford Biomedica 
PureTech Health 
S4 Capital 
Sports Direct International 
Total SA 
Vectura Group 
Xeros Technology Group 

Hutchison China Meditech Ltd 

Jadestone Energy Inc NPV (DI)

Aveva Group 
HarbourVest Global Private Equity Limited A Shs 
Stobart Group Ltd. 
Telford Homes 

Annual Report 
HarbourVest Global Private Equity Limited A Shs 
Bakkavor Group 
Henry Boot 
Fundsmith Emerging Equities Trust 
London Stock Exchange Group 
Polypipe Group 
StatPro Group 
Tribal Group 
Dunedin Income Growth Inv Trust 

UK Economic Announcements 
(00:01) BRC Shop Price Index 

Int. Economic Announcements 
(08:55) Unemployment Rate (GER) 
(12:00) MBA Mortgage Applications (US)

Columns of Note

Julian Baggini writes in the Guardian that a proposed tax on red meat will not remedy climate change or worsening health. Baggini urges that an arbitrary, blanket ‘sin tax’ on red meat should not be introduced. The issues caused by consuming red meat are not as straightforward as such a ban would suggest. In fact, the impact of moderate consumption of good quality red meat on our health is still unclear. Additionally, the environmental damage done by raising animals is far more complex than simply that they produce methane and is in fact rooted largely in the unsustainable ways that feed is sourced.  

Daniel Finkelstein argues in the Times that the Conservative leadership candidates need to face up to the fact that either a second referendum or another election cannot be avoided. Finklestein predicts that many of the manifestos of leadership candidates will either suggest going back to Europe for a new deal or try to push a no-deal Brexit through commons. Though the topic of another vote will likely be danced around, the reality is that the Conservatives don’t have a majority for any solution to Brexit. Whoever takes over will need to hold either another election (which would likely be a disaster for the Conservatives) or another referendum. (£)

Did you know?

The Dalai Lama is frightened of caterpillars.

Parliamentary highlights

House of Commons

In recess until Tuesday 4 June 2019
House of Lords

In recess until Tuesday 4 June 2019
Scottish Parliament

Parliamentary Bureau Motions 

General Questions 

First Minister’s Questions  

Members’ Business
S5M 15707 Gordon MacDonald: Hard- Line Visa Controls’ Impact on Edinburgh’s Festivals  

Portfolio Questions  

Ministerial Statement: Medium Term Financial Strategy  

Scottish Government Debate: A Trading Nation  


Scottish Parliament

No business scheduled