There is something special about Sunday morning, the Sunday Times, hot croissants with honey and butter, excellent.
Headlines, Cherie Blair seeks £65m for private health care clinics. Is this really a headline? Maybe husband Tony can help out with his £12 million turnover consultancy which pays only £315,000 in tax. Ah the politics of envy – it is a dangerous trap – warns the Sunday Times lead comment on page 22. We should all take note.
The Business section leads with news of the imminent Greek default. Greece heads for March default as the government lacks funds for the fourteen billion euro repayment. News of the S & P downgrades for France and Austria merely adding momentum to the Euro crisis as we move into 2012. Only four countries are left in Euroland with a AAA rating, Germany, Finland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. What happens when no one on the planet is left with a triple A rating? Is everyone re-rated?
David Smith, talks of the challenge of productivity in the economy. With sluggish growth forecast for the year at best, productivity is the least of the worries for the recovery. Without growth, greater productivity will just lead to higher unemployment.
Economics news this week, base rates and QE2 on hold, manufacturing stalls, the trade deficit increases, some good news on prices as manufacturing output price inflation falls to 5.3%. [The latter still way above the CPI target and a long run average of 2.3%.] More economics news on the weekly – Saturday Economist – blog. A supplement to the Sunday Times and Croissant – now available on the web site.
Back to the day job, Monday internal meetings and a shake up of the SME club team. Leanne Forshaw Jones is brought in to help the sign up to SME club drive having done such a great job on the pre Christmas programme for the Green Investment Bank bid.
Much to do with the plans for the Lord Mayor visit this month and early preparations for the Business Conference March 1st.
Tuesday, the day begins with a meeting with Lindsey Bell from Clarke Willmott. Always like to start the day with a new member signing. Matthew Dearing the new Manchester office head for Endless calls in for coffee. In the afternoon, tea with Ric Traynor, nice offices at the end of Deansgate.
Wednesday, my office is hijacked by an RICS round table meeting and later a meeting of the pro.net professional associations group. I work in the kitchen with laptop and iPad. We really do need to move to more suitable premises.
Thursday, early start with a pre board meeting with the Chairman and a budget meeting with the finance committee. A good discussion of the options for budget and the planned office move. I sense we have a way forward.
Later in the afternoon, I miss the unveiling of Airport city by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Chris Cheap from GVA and Lisa Morton from Roland Dransfield are in the office to discuss Piccadilly Place and the Green Investment Bank.
Friday morning, Will Lewis from OBI is in to look at options for the planned relocation to Tower 12, yes – we do have a plan.
This is followed by an excellent San Carlo lunch with Dave Allanson, Lloyds Corporate. Dover Sole – sparkling water – sparkling conversation. My turn to pay but problems with the credit card force a bank bail out. My pro.m card was hacked and compromised over Christmas and the Amex malfunctions. DA smiles skeptically and pays the bill! Embarrassing – well a little.
Back to the office and Tony Lloyd MP calls to confirm details of the planned cross party reception for Greater Manchester MPs at the House of Commons later this month. All part of the bid for the Green Investment Bank.
Saturday, working in the morning, the day starts as usual with tea, the FT, the Telegraph and the Economist apps. My new blog post – The Saturday Economist – is published on line and will be published very week. Best reads from the magazine include – Seeing Red – Japans trade deficit, Clearing The Air, a piece on Chinese pollution and Train Reaction – notes on the HS2 approval worthy of note. The sub eds are back on form.
Afternoon, off to play tennis. The year continues with a further 6-4 setback followed by a 6-3 second set loss. Lendl failed to return my calls over Christmas only part of the reason. Mary is playing well.
Hope all is well with all. More news next week, off to watch – Margin Call – later, should be good.
Check out the site, www.johnashcroft.co.uk and the Saturday Economist blog.
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