The Sunday Times and Croissants – “Charles puts moles in Whitehall”

The Sunday Times and Croissants - Charles put his moled in Whitehall

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

Headlines“Charles puts moles in Whitehall” makes the headlines this week. Members of Prince Charles’s staff have been secretly working in key Whitehall departments including the Cabinet Office and Defra, the environment and food ministry, apparently. One minister said, “There is a question about what they are doing and whether they are influencing policy, it’s undemocratic.”. Charles has supported a badger cull and has a track record of talking to plants, animals and vegetables. Last week it emerged, the prince has held 53 meetings with government ministers, including 36 with members of cabinet.

In other news, Labour will drop the voting age to 16 in a move to secure more votes. Sadiq Khan, the MP for Tooting, is considering lowering the voting age and introducing mandatory voting for first time voters. “There are more things 16 and 17 year olds can do, including sex, marriage and paying national insurance”! Khan, obviously hasn’t seen the job stats but points out young people can “join the armed forces”. The Olde “Old enough to die but not for voting” lyric – sure to capture hearts and minds at the hustings.

David Smith, “Carney fights the market but there is no knockout” a reference to the new Governor of the Bank of England and the policy of forward guidance. David Smith suggests Carney’s honeymoon period is over as markets become more critical of the new guidelines for interest rates. “Forward guidance is hardly worth the paper it is written on”, the harsh verdict of Nick Beecroft of Saxo Bank. “Misguided and dangerous” the judgement of the Institute for Economic Affairs.

Forward Guidance may not be the best designed policy in the world, says the Economic Outlook, but the new policy is bedding in albeit with a few teething troubles. Markets believe base rates will rise in 2015 and not 2016 as Carney would have markets accept. With growth, jobs and expansion in prospect, is this such a bad thing? Not really, where is the conflict? Let the gilt yields return to market norms with no more QE please.

The Saturday Economist, in The Saturday Economist, this week, more good news on rising employment, falling claimant count, a boost to retail sales and slowing inflation. It can’t get much better but further falls in government borrowing will surely follow to complete the dream ticket for the Chancellor ahead of the election.

Back to the day Job – Highlights of the week
Monday – team meetings in the morning and briefing with the Chamber of Commerce Economics and PR team in the afternoon.

Wednesday, my key event of the week, the quarterly economics presentation sponsored by Duff & Phelps and hosted by DWF on this occasion. Dr Brian Sloan, joins the presentation, in his Bank of England capacity. The Inflation Report and Forward Guidance explained. Good session, well attended, I take my new iPad presentation format out for a spin. Later, strategy day for the pro.manchester team. Good session to run through team roles and the strategy update. Excellent!

Friday, day off, Mary and I accept a tennis doubles challenge in the afternoon. A three set win a clear warning to all! There is something special about August …

Saturday, working in the morning, the day starts as usual with tea, the FT, and the Economist app. In the afternoon, no tennis, a cinema visit to watch “The Heat” police action (of sorts) with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy. Hilarious and so relaxing.

Hope all is well, more news next week,

John

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