21st November 2019
Written by Aidan Reid, Associate
Edited by Harriet Moll, Creative Director
Surprising or unsurprising as it may seem to you, people still like using their cars, not just here but everywhere. For our little corner of the world, the latest statistics from Transport Scotland, show people were driving 7% more than they did five years ago with two thirds of commuters still taking their cars to work. Now we should definitely have a debate about why that might be, and the words “public transport infrastructure” are likely to appear in that conversation. But on the face of it, if you thought we Scots were becoming more environmentally conscious, then think again where cars are concerned. And to make matters worse, here and around the world, cars are getting bigger. An analysis from the IEA found that Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs), which consume nearly a quarter more fuel than your average car type, have become the leading growth trend in the global car market. There are 200 million now taking to the roads globally and they account for 60% of new vehicles since 2010. SUVs were the second-biggest contributor to increasing Co2 emissions during the noughties and more are expected in the coming years, with the growing middle classes in China and India seeing the oversized vehicles as a status symbol, just like we do. It’s no surprise that car companies whose futures’ look bleak long term, are chasing this trend. Aston Martin has been a bastion of the UK sports car market since Sean Connery took the wheel of a DB5 in 1964’s Goldfinger. Yetin struggles to reverse a 75% fall in share price since listing on the London Stock Exchange last year, it has launched its first SUV the DBX Targeted primarily at women, a previously largely untapped Aston driver (94 Aston drivers out of 100 are men), the SUV is clearly not flouting any green credentials. As my colleague Tom Gillingham pointed out, tackling climate change will require small changes by people in their everyday choices. If we are to avert imminent environmental disaster, we need to resist the urge to go big to go home.
The US ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, has claimed in testimony to Congress that the US president, Donald Trump, was aware of demands made to the Ukraine to investigate his Democratic rivals in exchange for US funding. Giving evidence to the ongoing impeachment inquiry, he also claimed he raised concerns during conversations with the vice president, Mike Pence. Prince Andrew has announced in a statement he will take a “step back” from public life for the foreseeable future. It follows his interview with BBC Newsnight over his association with child sex abuser, Jeffery Epstein, which saw further doubt cast over his actions and resulted in a series of organisations severing ties with the Prince The Liberal Democrats have claimed at their manifesto launch a £50 billion funding windfall could be spent on public services if Brexit were abandoned. The Liberal Democrat’s would use these funds for new teachers, an upscaling of support for mental health services and a five-year freeze to rail fares.
Business and economy
Speaking at the Dubai Air Show, the airline Emirates president, Tim Clark, has claimed the aviation industry hasn’t done itself “any favours” in its response to the climate emergency and needs to do far more. He called on it to communicate changes already made such as aero engines being 50% more efficient than 30 years ago and a large reduction in the use of plastic in-flight. Every gambling machine in betting shops is to have software installed to detect problematic behaviour from players. The software will lock the machine for 30 seconds if it detects this, displaying safe gambling messages in order to encourage them not to continue. Campaigners have nonetheless argued such a measure is unlikely to deter problem gamblers. Hopes of a US-China trade deal being concluded by the end of the year have fallen according to White House sources. The war of attrition goes on, with China seeking greater roll backs of tariffs and the US seeking stronger guarantees on intellectual property. There are still some suggestions a deal may be concluded before 15 December, when tariffs on $156 billion of Chinese goods come into effect.
What happened yesterday?
Optimism was in short supply on the UK markers, with falls of 0.84% and 0.26% in the FTSE 100 and 250 respectively. It has been claimed these are linked to the dashing of hopes for greater movement towards cooling tensions between the US and China. DIY group and owner of B&Q, Kingfisher, was the largest faller with a 6.8% drop in its share price following a 3.2% fall in third quarter sales. Hostelry operator, Mitchells & Butlers, were the best performing on either exchange with a near 4.5% rise on the back of above-expected annual profits of £197 million. The US markets also reacted negatively the latest developments in the trade dispute. The Dow Jones fell by 0.4% while S&P 500 was down by 0.38% and the Nasdaq by 0.51%. They were also said to have been impacted by the latest US mortgage figures indicating a 2% fall in applications.
What's happening today?
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Columns of note
Janan Ganesh has called out the assumption from the political upheaval of 2016 that nationalism is back in vogue. Writing in the Financial Times, he highlights that party-political concerns have continued to trump a sense of national unity, in particular in the US over the impeachment of the president, Donald Trump. Speaking as a supporter of globalism, Janan nonetheless bemoans the instability this tribalism has created. (£) Anna Russel discusses the cultural role of Gogglebox in Brexit Britain for the New Yorker. She highlights how the format which has spread globally, sees its characters now watching the latest developments on Brexit, including major news updates such as the Supreme Court decision in September. Anna highlights the comfort expressed on social media at revisiting these events through the eyes of Gogglebox participants, watching their frustrations and uncertainty reflected back at them on their TV screens. (£)
Did you know?
It is expected that, by 2030, the world will be see the amount of new clothes produced go up by 63% to 102 million tonnes. The rise is the equivalent of 500 billion new t-shirts being produced.
TODAY House of Commons The House will next sit on Monday 16 December 2019. House of Lords The House will next sit on Monday 16 December 2019. Scottish Parliament General Questions First Minister’s Questions Members’ Business World Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Day – Annie Wells Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body Questions Portfolio Questions Health and Sport
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