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Macron retreats, France loses

Thursday 13th December 2018

Away, if we may, from our Brexit fixations and to the troubled territory twenty seven miles across the Channel. France was feted as being in the naissance of a golden age, with a new President who would bring about fundamental financial reforms. After a decade of being in breach of EU rules on spending and debt, France would rise and partner Germany as a leader and an  equal in the continuation of the great European project. Now Germany looks on in dismay as Emmanuel Macron has given in to the rioters. His revolution has turned into a capitulation of tax…

Snowflakes in the stratosphere

Monday 12th November 2018

Just to briefly take you away from Jeremy Corbyn’s Cenotaph clobber and Brexit generally – I’d been giving a talk about life and art to a bunch of academics re ‘uni’. We used to call it ‘university’ because we grammar school boys were so happy to have achieved a difficult transition from school to  further education at a seat of learning  , that we afforded our new institutions some verbal respect. I said  that the snowflake students of today  would grow up with no essential curiosity. They demand ‘safe areas’ where unpleasant challenges of discussion are excluded. For example a…

Taxing times

Thursday 23rd August 2018

I think Trump will escape impeachment. He’s not very nice – I struggle to find a leading international political that is or was ‘nice’. Trump promised to make America ‘great again’ and to cut taxes. He’s done the latter, which is one reason why the most representative stock market in the US is breaking records, and if ‘great again’ means a more independent American continent, self sufficient in food and fun, then who, among the ‘deplorables’ isn’t going to like that? The East and West coast commentariat can tootle a plaintive refrain, but the chorus of the US is its…

Cents of reality from the home of the dollar

Wednesday 30th May 2018

That funny old thing called The Wall Street Journal, more conservative than a Brooks Brothers’ shirt and famously captured by Rupert Murdoch from a bizarre American family – of which Google and have fun if you have the time  – anyway the good old WSJ has a curious news taster called “The 10 point”. So, does than mean ten news points in the bulletin? Well, not quite. But if you’ve been an inky fingered printer, you’ll know that the ’10 point’ refers to a size of printing type – and in the old days that was the size in which…

Kerrang gone kerrong

Wednesday 2nd May 2018

A week like no other for merger mania – not just the  £15bn tie-up between Sainsbury and Asda, and the much more massive US T-Mobile for Sprint – and then the $36bn deal between Marathon Petroleum and its rival refining group Andeavor. This orgy of deal making is typical of a market at the head of its froth. Cheap money, high stock prices. Flimsy partnerships with hope over experience. When will we ever learn ?  More broadly, what these big money marriages lead to is leviathan companies which begin to please shareholders with their cost cutting and the crushing of…