The Sunday Times and Croissants : Weekly insights and updates 11th November

The Sunday Times and Croissants 11th November

There is something special about Sunday morning, the Sunday Times, hot croissants with honey and butter, excellent.
Headlines – “BBC Boss quits over “shoddy journalism” at Newsnight” The BBC Director General, George Entwistle, resigned over his botched handling of a Newsnight report wrongly implicating a Tory Peer in child sex abuse.

Lord Patten made the appointment, failing to explain that reading Newspapers and keeping abreast of the news was all part of the job. After only 55 days in the role, “Standing down was the honourable thing to do” said the ex DG, creating a dangerous precedent one fears.

David Smith, Economics Editor, speculates on the next Governor of the Bank of England, “The bookies are probably right to have Tucker as favourite”” concludes the economics editor, outranking Lord Turner on the WTM (Worse than Mervyn) Index.

Dominic O’Connell, Business Editor has spotted “Osborne raids the piggy bank”. News released on Friday, the Chancellor has mugged the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street, stripping the Bank of some £35 billion of gilt coupon payments.

As we explain in The Saturday Economist, QE is a wizard wheeze. Buying up 55% of gilt issues would always push up prices, depress yields and lower the cost of borrowing. Now it appears the cost of borrowing is zero. The Bank will pay back £11 billion of interest payments this year and £24 billion next, thereafter by quarterly standing order. For a more objective assessment, don’t miss The Saturday Economist this week,  the Finance Minister for Zimbabwe delivers the rationale.

Economics news, the euphoria of recent GDP growth fades as news of manufacturing and trade figures continue to disappoint. The MPC voted to hold rates at 0.5% and suspend any further QE for the moment.

Is this the end of QE? I suspect not. QE may have lost economic momentum, (it never had much) but the Bank has lost the intellectual argument and will stay the hand for now. The pressing needs of the Debt Management Office, will send the Old Lady back into the Street with a bulging handbag to mop up and resolve the issues in due course. Too great the temptation of Money for Nothing, Gilts for Free.

Back to the day Job – Monday team meetings and a chance to look at the Business Conference Marketing Schedule amongst other things.

Tuesday, Chris Salt from RBS is in the office. The banks are subject to heavy criticism for not lending but lack of demand appears to be a big problem. RBS have a 97% acceptance rate which suggests deal flow not credit restrictions is the bigger concern.

Later in the morning a meeting with Sydney Fulda and Leila Porter at DAC Beachcroft, discussing a possible events program for 2013.

This is followed by a meeting with Sue Barnard and Ian Dixon, from the Business Growth Hub. Alexandra is developing an “Access to Finance” Document for SME club members. This will be done in association with The Growth Hub and RBS, which looks to be a great idea and a great document in progress.

Quick meeting with Mike Perls from MC2 later in the afternoon, always a pleasure, as we discuss the marketing challenges of professional businesses in Greater Manchester.

Wednesday, almost 200 at the Yang Sing for Sir Howard’s annual address to members. Sir Howard is in good form, demonstrating great vision and ambition for the city. Always great to hear. Later a train to London, for a Duff and Phelps Economics Dinner, great fun and a lively evening.

Thursday – In the morning a chance to listen to the (MP3) debate in the House of Lords, Krugman and Portes versus Bridget Rosewell and Stephen King. A classic debate on what’s right or wrong with austerity policy. Then lunch with Simon Kirby from NIESR one of the best and probably most experienced modelers in the UK. An almost three hour session, the time flies by, geeks only.

Friday, a chance to catch up on a number of issues with the executive team. Lee-J Walker and Amal Taylor from the Business Desk – Business Development Team – are in to talk about options for promotion. We have a great option to do something with the RBS Business Plan and Workbook PDFs developed for SME club. More to follow on this.

Saturday, working in the morning, the day starts as usual with tea, the FT, and the Economist app. The Economist leads with “Now hug a Republican”. Obama is re-elected but needs the embrace of Senate and Congress to avoid a tumble over the edge of the fiscal cliff.

In the afternoon, no tennis, chance to watch England – Fiji, good win.

Hope all is well, more news next week,
John

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