The Sunday Times and Croissants : 20th January : Tragedy in the Desert.

The Sunday Times and Croissants 20th January

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

Headlines – Tragedy in the desert – makes the headlines as six Britons are feared dead in the attack on the BP gas plant in Algeria. The final death toll is estimated to be 23 hostages and 32 militants. Over 700 employees were released according to the Algerian Foreign Ministry. Our thoughts are once again with friends and families of victims and survivors.

Last week’s headline was impotence in Number Ten, this week’s headline – a manifestation of impotence to influence events in far off lands. The age of Palmerston’s gun boat diplomacy long passed, Civis Brittanus Sum a marker for assault not protection. Urgent COBRA meetings will achieve little. It is just “Committee Briefing Room A” after all.

The Prime Minister should be cautioned on how many wars and how many fronts at the same time. How do you start a rice pudding race – Say go. How do you start a war in the Conservative Party – shout Europe. Better still offer the country a referendum. Hopefully, voters may feel stronger about Europe than they did about police commissioners. I suspect most will vote for the status quo and virtually all businessmen would ask for stability not uncertainty on trade with Europe. Is this really the time for Euro distraction? Not really.

Top Cop Imports also makes the headlines. Foreign police chiefs will become chief constables under radical plans to “improve leadership in the fight against crime”. Yeah, demotivate the workforce and alienate union leadership in one smooth action. Not such a smart move, really. The thin red line is under enough pressure, we need a well motivated, thin blue line for homeland protection. Secret talk of a Tory coup gathers pace -  the headline on page 2. It is time for the Prime Minister to develop a re election strategy not the recipe for uncertainty at home and away.

David Smith, start a currency war and we will all be hurt, the theme of the week. Currency depreciation can become a zero sum game in which no one is the winner the key message. The article deals with the imbalance in Asia between the Yen, the Won and the Renminbi – then touches on the Dollar, Euro Sterling issue. Good stuff.

Economics news, news this week on inflation, manufacturing prices and retail sales. The fourth quarter GDP figures are due to be released next week. For more news check out The Saturday Economist or get to the pro.manchester economics briefings in early February. We also review Ian McCafferty’s maiden speech as a member of the MPC.

Back to the day Job – Monday team meeting in the morning, then a review of the Business Conference action plan. Ticket and table sales BOOK HERE.

Tuesday, early start at DLA Piper, it is the Business Desk State of the Nation report. Chris Barry anchors the panel session with Robert Hough, Juergen Maier (Siemens) and Steve Mogford (United Utilities) in good form. I am a last minute co opt onto the panel – Damian Waters (CBI) stuck in traffic – becomes a one man anecdote for the CBI Infrastructure Lobby.

Later a meeting with John Leach from Winning Pitch, always invigorating. Followed by a meeting with Sir Howard at City Hall, just a catch up session which develops into a new idea and briefing. Always a risk! More on this next week.

Wednesday – another early start with Andrew Shepherd at Deloitte, the rest of the day planning the conference and SME club marketing plan, then final prep for the board meeting, the following day.

Thursday - Executive board meeting in the pro.manchester offices, good start to the day. This is followed by lunch at the Hilton with Felicity Goodey. Powerful presentation. Felicity reveals plans for MediPark, the next big regeneration idea following the great success of MediaCity.

Friday, meeting in the morning with Paul Lupton to discuss the Business Conference opening session. It’s a sort of “Three Tenors in a Christmas Carol” theme. In which  Chairmen past, present and future feature. Book a table now! Later a meeting at New Economy and the Manchester Economics Group. We discuss plans for the Greater Manchester Economics Forecasting Model and many other things.

Saturday, working in the morning, the day starts as usual with tea, the FT, and the Economist app. The Economist leads on the Obama legacy! Yeah and he still has a full term to go.

In the afternoon, tennis, an eight – six win. I am playing well with the new Federer racket. Really happy with that, the racket and the result! Mary claims to have taken pity and relaxed at 2- 4 up. As if….

Later today, off to the cinema, last week was Les Miserables, Russell Crowe “Unleashes Hell” on the musical industry. Did I enjoy it? “I screamed a scream as time went by” the words of Anthony Lane, one of the world’s most eminent film critics. Crowe made Pierce Brosnan (Mamma Mia) sound Pitch Perfect.

Hope all is well, more news next week,

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