The Sunday Times and Croissants : Weekly insights and updates 14th October

The Sunday Times and Croissants

There is something special about Sunday morning, the Sunday Times, hot croissants with honey and butter, excellent.
Headlines – “Arms firms call up Generals for Hire”. It would appear top ranking military officers have been lobbying to win defence deals for British firms. “Galloping greed of the old war horses” the story on page 13. An undercover investigation reveals former military chiefs are willing to cash in on their contacts to secure business for Britain. Is that so bad, it’s a “top guns – top up pensions” story and part of an export drive.

In the Business Section, “Virgin Money is ready to pounce on the RBS branches” following news, Santander pulled out of the RBS deal on Friday night. “Botin leaves RBS waiting at the altar” claims a more detailed article on page 7.  Ana Patricia Botin, tired of sorting out the sort codes finally loses patience and abandons an acquisition offering perfect strategic fit. Caballo regalado, no le mires el diente e los códigos bancarios, an old Spanish warning about gift horses and sort codes springs to mind.

David Smith, suggests low inflation blinded the Bank Of England to other dangers. This a reference to the Governor’s speech on Tuesday at the LSE in which Mervyn King outlined the history of inflation targeting. CPI inflation averaged 2.1% compared to a target of 2% over a period of almost twenty years. Great news for the target but as we have often argued, the underlying problem was hidden. Domestic service sector inflation averaged 3.5% over the period. The target 2% target attained thanks to low goods inflation – a result of low prices in China and a strong Pound.

Economics news this week, The triple threat looms and it’s sink or swim for us all warned The Chancellor speaking in Tokyo this week. He could have been talking of UK policy, seriously off track with news of construction, manufacturing and trade all heading in the wrong direction. Check out The Saturday Economist for more information and news of our Bond film themes of the week.

It all started with Lord Turner’s “QE is not enough” arguing that more is needed to stimulate growth including more capital for the banking system. So why not allow the banks to issue SME bonds and property bonds, ten and twenty year long term low coupon capital bought by the Bank of England and underwritten by Treasury. Time to abandon the gilt purchase policy which is distorting yields and undermining the pension sector.

Back to the day job, Monday, team meetings in the morning, the early morning review and a chance to look at the Business Conference agenda.

Tuesday, Gateway breakfast in the morning and chance to catch up with Katharine Mellor and Sue Webster on a sub committee matter. Jamie Robertson is in the office, Jamie is building a business on FaceBook Fan pages and a great recruit to the Professor’s Social Media Faculty.

In the afternoon, Russell Brown from Glaisyers calls in, as advisor to the exec team on matters personnel. In the evening, Dinner at Deloitte an economics presentation from me and an update on the GM LEP from Mike Blackburn. Good session and lively Q and A.

Wednesday, RBS Santander Lunch in the Town Hall. Marcelino Castrillo Garcia is the guest speaker. Marcelino is Managing Director leading the SME club sector. I sit with David Gillespie CEO of RBS and Rob Pailin. Mark Edwards also speaks and is in great form.  The great prospects for the merger and strategic fit are explained.

Thursday, In the morning, a pre board briefing meeting with the Chairman prior to the pro.manchester Board Meeting next week. In the evening an economics presentation for DAC Beachcroft working with Shore Capital and Peter Hindle from Credit Suisse. Good session as I deliver the Daily Mirror version of The Saturday Economist.

Friday, Business Leadership Council Meeting in the morning, the excellent work undertaken by the local authority team(s) is exemplified as we review action plans for Health and Social Care, Work and Skills and the Troubled Families programme. A good two hour session chaired by John Early. A great opportunity for our Health Care Group to engage with the local authority working group.

Saturday, working in the morning, the day starts as usual with tea, the FT, and the Economist app. The Economist leads with True Progressivism, the call for a new radical centrist policy to tackle inequality without hurting economic growth. Bit complicated.

In the afternoon, Tennis it is a 6-4 win, yes rejoice, tweet and retweet the great news.

Hope all is well, more news next week,
John
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