The Sunday Times and Croissants : Weekly insights and updates 18th November

The Sunday Times and Croissants 18th November

There is something special about Sunday morning, the Sunday Times, hot croissants with honey and butter, excellent.

Headlines  – Cameron nabs Boris’s election guru. David Cameron has recruited Lynton Crosby, Boris Johnson’s campaign manager as his general election strategist. Crosby, aka “the Wizard of Oz” enjoyed serial success with John Howard, Prime Minister of Australia from 1996 to 2007. Cameron now hopes for the same – Yellow Brick Road – magic.

Four weeks ago the headlines were “Tory alarm over No 10 meltdown”. Eleven points behind in the polls, crushed in Corby, the Tories will hope Crosby will revive hopes of re-election and freedom from coalition government. Good news for the Tories and the country, the government is to get a strategy. Unusual to leave the decision to mid term but a positive step.

The Twitter revenge of McAlpine also features. Lawyers say the McAlpine case, “seeking redress for false allegation” could potentially involve the largest number of defendants in British Legal History. This story will run. Alistair McAlpine will not let go.

David Smith, cautions the Chancellor not to move the goal posts with a further rejig of the inflation index. Of all the challenges facing the Office for National Statistics, beginning with the critical GDP series, the CPI RPI price series should be left well alone for now. DS also comments on the QE and the dividend repatriation. “The idea of a central bank buying  government bonds was murky before, it looks positively incestuous now.” The Economics Editor also takes issue with the Governor on his stance re further depreciation of Sterling. Quite right too, more on this from The Saturday Economist.

Economics news, this week, a further batch of economics news adds to the gloom. Inflation, employment and retail sales suggest the excitement of the Q3 growth will diminish as growth slows into the final quarter of the year. As the Governor explained in the Inflation Report, Wednesday, output growth is likely to fall back sharply or may shrink a little this quarter. “It is difficult to discern the underlying picture. It is probably neither as good as the zigs suggest nor as bad as the zags imply.”  The Governor explains his zig zag hypothesis. What does this all mean? Check out “The Saturday Economist” for the real story.

Back to the day Job – Monday team meeting in the morning and internal meetings for the rest of the day.

Tuesday, Gateway breakfast meeting at the Lowry Hotel. Followed by a quick meeting with John Young. John is to brief the MPC later this month on the Funding For Lending Programme. Think it would be a good idea to get the bankers together to discuss this with John. We plan to do this next Wednesday.

Wednesday, Eric Solomons calls in to discuss some of the options under review in his next career move having move on from BDO. In the afternoon, Will Kintish is in the office to network (that’s what he does!) and collect an umbrella.

Thursday, – pre board briefing meeting with the Chairman in the morning, followed by a Duff & Phelps economics lunch at the Restaurant Bar and Grill. Another lively session in the series of economics briefings.

Friday, coffee at the Manchester Art Gallery with Kate Vokes, Director of People and Brands at Bruntwood, very civilised. Back into the office before a pleasant lunch with Simon Allport, head of Ernst & Young in Manchester. Always great fun and a great lunch at San Carlo. Great apology to Peter Hindle of Credit Suisse, I messed up a diary appointment on the day. Hope we can rearrange something soon.

Saturday, working in the morning, the day starts as usual with tea, the FT, and the Economist app. The Economist leads with “The Time Bomb at the heart of Europe”. Don’t worry about Greece! The lead article explains why France could become the biggest danger to the single currency.

In the afternoon, no tennis, chance to watch England – Australia, maybe I should have played tennis.
Hope all is well, more news next week,
John
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