Joe Biden's transformation
Written by Javier Maquieira, Senior Associate
Edited by Laura Hamilton, Managing Partner
As Donald Trump continues to outrage the world and polarise Americans with a Bible in hand, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, seems to be slowly emerging from a low profile.
On Monday, after hours of peaceful protests against police brutality, Barack Obama’s former vice-president went to Bethel African Methodist Episcopal church in his home town of Wilmington, Delaware, to join community leaders in their prayers for George Floyd. Biden left the church with a clear mandate from members of the city’s black community: to be bolder in his commitment to supporting them.
The next day, the presumptive Democratic nominee gave a speech in Philadelphia condemning President Trump’s “narcissism” and increasingly confrontational response to demonstrators. He added that “the moment has come for our nation to deal with systemic racism.”
Biden has acknowledged that it’s not enough to be better than Trump and that he needs to step up to show Americans how he might lead a situation of civil unrest and a global pandemic that threatens to come in waves.
One of the first challenges the former vice-president will face is choosing a running mate; a decision he plans to make by late July. Biden has vowed to name a woman as his vice-president but is now under growing pressure to pick a black person.
That could be good news for Kamala Harris, Biden’s one-time rival in the Democratic bid for the White House before dropping out of the race in December 2019. Despite questions on whether she would be tough enough on law enforcement officers, having been a San Francisco prosecutor and California attorney general herself, she has repeatedly expressed sympathy for the peaceful protests and is seen as providing balance to the presidential ticket.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic downturn, Biden may turn out to be the familiar and reassuring face that many voters are looking for. Most importantly, Biden has shown himself as a politician willing to be pressed to bring change, even when (and let’s not forget) he’s the candidate that once promised a bland and nostalgic return to normalcy far from any sign of political revolution.
But could Biden’s transformation be the end of Trump’s America after all? If you ask our new correspondent-at-large, Alex Massie, the presidential election in the US shouldn’t be seen as a liberating moment. For more of Alex’s insight, I invite you to read the first of his Charlotte Street Partners Beyond the Street blogs here.
The UK transport secretary announced at the daily coronavirus briefing yesterday that face coverings will be mandatory on public transport in England from 15 June. Grant Shapps said that while not wearing them on buses, trams, trains, coaches, aircraft, and ferries could “ultimately” lead to a fine, very young children, disabled people, and those with breathing difficulties would be exempt.
According to the latest data published by Brazil’s health ministry, the country has overtaken Italy in the number of Covid-19 fatalities after reporting a daily record of 1,473 deaths. Only the US and the UK have registered more deaths because of the pandemic, while the official number of infections rose to nearly 615,000, second only to the US.
German prosecutors investigating a 43-year-old German man on suspicion of murdering Madeleine McCann believe the girl is dead. Local reports suggest the new suspect is the same man who was jailed for raping an American woman in Portugal in 2005, a year-and-a-half before Madeleine’s disappearance. The Metropolitan Police is still treating the case as a missing person investigation due to a lack of “definitive evidence” indicating otherwise.
Business and economy
Debenhams plans to start reopening its first stores on Monday in Northern Ireland, followed by 50 shops in England the following week. The retailer, which went into administration for the second time in a year in April, has struck deals with landlords to keep 120 stores open, but 17 shops will remain closed for good after lockdown restrictions are lifted.
The European Central Bank announced plans to increase the size of its bond buying programme by €600bn (£546bn) to €1.35tn in a bid to keep borrowing costs low for countries and firms as they face huge budget deficits and recessions. The central bank also decided to hold its interest rates at record lows amid the biggest recession in eurozone economies since the second world war.
Tensions between British Airways and the UK Government escalated on Thursday after the airline declined to meet the home secretary, Priti Patel, and a government source said the company was “not serious about getting Britain working again.” Earlier that day, the chief executive of BA, Alex Cruz, had accused the government of dealing “another blow” to the industry with plans to require all travellers to the UK to quarantine for 14 days from 8 June.
Columns of note
Tom Braithwaite writes in theFinancial Times’s The Top Line that companies risk the consequences of failing to take a stand on racism more than ever. Despite brand equity risks of billions of dollars, businesses should be offering more than words, and money. While the most powerful responses to George Floyd’s killing came from black executives, only 0.8% of the heads of a Fortune 500 company are black – a statistic that must improve, argues Braithwaite. (£)
Writing inThe Herald, Rebecca McQuillan fears that the coronavirus pandemic could be a setback for generational efforts to equalise the role of men and women. According to recent data, a third of women report their workplace has been shut compared to a quarter of men, reflecting the fact that women are more likely to be in low-paid, insecure work that has been badly hit by the crisis. McQuillan calls on the UK and Scottish governments to start reversing the trend by bringing forward plans for free childcare and giving extra support to sectors where women are over-represented, such as caring and leisure.
Source: The New Yorker
What happened yesterday?
London stocks finished lower on Thursday after three days of gains as investors digested the European Central Bank's latest easing announcement. The FTSE 100 ended the session down 0.64% at 6,341.44, while sterling was weaker against both the dollar by 0.28% at $1.2610 and the euro by 0.51% at €1.1137.
In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.05% at 26,281.82, while the S&P 500 was 0.34% softer at 3,112.35 and the Nasdaq Composite saw out the session 0.69% at 9,615.81.
In company news:
Rolls-Royce closed 1.28% lower after the aerospace and defence company announced 1,500 redundancies at its base in Derby and 700 at its Renfrewshire plant in Scotland.
Aston Martin Lagonda was in the red by 3.2% following its decision to ax up to 500 jobs as the luxury car maker cut back production of front-engined sports cars and focussed on its DBX sports utility model.
Pennon Group was 4.95% lower after increasing its annual dividend by 6.6% but halving its target for dividend growth as the water company set aside almost £9m for bad debts from the coronavirus pandemic.
What's happening today?
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Did you know?
In 1923, the state of Illinois officially passed legislation replacing English with “American” as their official language.
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