The Sunday Times and Croissants – “Cameron beckons Boris back”

The Sunday Times and Croissants 28th April

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

Headlines –  “Cameron beckons Boris back” – makes the headlines, David Cameron has strengthened his embrace of the Johnson family – leaving the door open for Boris Johnson to return as an MP before the next election. Asked if Johnson could combine the role of mayor of London with being an MP, the PM said, “Boris can do anything, I love Boris”. Clearly love is in the air in the Conservative party, the Prime Minister insisted he felt nothing but warmth and friendship from his backbenchers. Excellent. So much for sensitive political antennae.

Yes, the Johnson family - like London buses, you wait for ages then two come at once. Last week brother Jo was appointed as head of the policy unity at  Number Ten. Asked if Boris could get the top job in Downing Street one day, the Prime Minister said, “I’d never want to put a limit on what Boris can achieve”.  Yes “even my job, even though he didn’t get a first at Oxford”, the clear message.

Well, trying to re-industrialise Britain, the stated aim of the Prime Minister may be a bit too much for any man as last week’s GDP figures attest. The march of the makers, tripped up again, it is time to rebalance the thinking in Downing Street about how to grow the economy.

Elsewhere on the front page, General Sir David Richards, the UK’s top gun and chief of defence staff, warns that military intervention can lead to war. Ah yes, lessons from history, and a clear benefit of Sandhurst training. The military are getting nervous about a planned military response to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria. It’s OK to bomb, shell and maim but a shot of Sarin is a dose of corrective medicine too far. Just make sure we have the evidence first. “Intervention would have to be on a huge scale, over a prolonged period of time, to guarantee lack of success, over the medium term”. The real lesson from history.

David Smith, blogs “A little growth takes a lot of pressure off Osborne”. The GDP figures were released this week confirming growth in the economy. Even so, critics of austerity should not ignore the true horror of our debt”, the headline in the Business Section. The budget deficit is inching lower but the overall level of debt is still rising fast. Growth figures announced this week, confirm there is no triple dip recession but those who would advocate higher spending and a lower rate of austerity cut backs should beware of the dangers of short term fillips to growth, warns the Economic Outlook.

Economics news, yes, this week, the preliminary estimate of GDP in the first quarter of 2013 was announced. No triple dip and in fact no double dip according to the latest revisions to the data. Does this mean Plan A is putting the economy back on track? Not really, check out “The Saturday Economist – “No triple dip, is Plan A hip?” for more detail.

Back to the day Job – Monday team meeting in the morning, meet with the auditors, followed by a meeting with directors Sara Baines and Deborah Ascott-Jones to discuss committee protocols and procedures. Agree to attend certain committee sessions, the outcome.

Tuesday, cancel a visit to London, to meet with LSE professors and the City Independent Economists Groups. Instead have a Finance Committee meeting to resolve the budget for 2013/14.

Wednesday – early morning economics presentation to the client group of RBS Invoice Finance. Quick run through the sixty odd slides now forming part of the presentation. Good stuff.

Thursday, GDP stats released at 9:30. Concerns of double dip allayed on the Alan Beswick show on Radio Manchester. Some confusion as I am asked to provide some comment and comfort on the measles epidemic. The trials of being a doctor! Later appear as sage, on the mid morning programme, forecasts completely right, as always! Business Development Committee in the morning, good session to run through the agenda for the months ahead. Lunch at the Lowry with the BusinessDesk Awards session, later a meeting with MIDAS and potential new arrival from across the Irish Sea.

Friday, deliver the Keynote address at China India session for UKTI hosted by DLA Piper. David Gray opens and does the warm up act. Excellent. Can’t make the Chancellor’s address at the launch of the Manchester China Forum, take a consolation coffee at Carluccio’s with Clive Memmott, CEO of the GM Chamber of Commerce.

Saturday, working in the morning, the day starts as usual with tea, the FT, and the Economist app. The Economist leads with “Generation Jobless”, the number of young people out of work across the globe is nearly as large as the population of the USA! No time for police and military cut backs!

In the afternoon, no tennis this week. At any one time 24% of the athletes are off the PTA circuit through injury. Mary and I take time off in support.

Hope all is well, more news next week,

John
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