Category: Blog

We all fall down, then get up again

Helpful lessons from the plague of 1665. Sometimes history can take us out of ourselves and put the present in perspective. It is hard not to be very worried about where Britain is headed as a country after arguably 20 years of catastrophic mistakes by a succession of administrations, including this one led by Boris […]

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Common sense is back in fashion

Common sense. Suddenly, there is apparently a lot of it about. People should, “use their common sense,” suggests the Prime Minister, before publishing 50 pages of rules and advice on easing the lockdown which sometimes lack that quality, especially in relation to schools and travel. Perhaps Boris Johnson is simply reflecting back at the public […]

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Maple syrup: a 10 point guide to Boris Johnson’s Canada-style EU free trade proposal

I popped along yesterday morning to the splendid Painted Hall in Greenwich (above) – itself a painterly encomium to institutional innovation and commerce – to hear the Prime Minister’s bombastic and entertaining enthusiasm for free trade and a Canada-style free trade deal with the EU. The Cabinet in attendance rose as one to give a […]

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The Establishment is having an optimism reshuffle

All change at the BBC, the FT and the Sunday Times For me, there have been two notable cultural trends of the last three years in the West. First, a howling negativity emanating from what one might describe as the bourgeois intelligentsia; and second, the traditional Establishment being stuck like rabbits in the headlights, panicking […]

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Cobham shows UK M&A is open for business. Mostly.

How open or protectionist is the new Government going to be towards foreign takeovers of UK companies? We received a hint before Christmas when, at 10pm on 20th December, the Secretary of State for business, Andrea Leadsom, cleared the takeover of the aerospace group Cobham by US private equity house Advent, subject to certain conditions. […]

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Hong Kong Exchange and Clearing’s bid for the London Stock Exchange Group showcases the UK’s still attractive takeover regime

Ten years after Kraft launched a somewhat sharp-around-corners hostile bid for Cadbury, triggering a decade long tightening of the UK’s takeover regime, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing has made a £32 billion offer for the City’s cream egg, the London Stock Exchange Group. The cash and shares offer, at a 23% premium worth £84 a […]

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Will Stephen Kinnock rescue Boris Johnson?

I haven’t done a note for a while, partly because I was waiting until I had a meaningful signal to add to the cacophony of noise to which we are currently exposed. So here goes: I don’t agree with the current consensus we are being offered up in the media, and there are finally grounds […]

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Could Jeremy Corbyn be Prime Minister by the year end?

There is a reason the bookies now put Jeremy Corbyn as favourite to be next Prime Minister (7:2 from Ladbroke’s). It is certainly starting to feel we are now on tramlines heading towards a General Election. Don’t be fooled by the fact that under Conservative Party internal rules she has 12 month’s grace from the […]

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Theresa May is a genius – discuss?

There, that has caught your eye. We are accustomed to thinking that Brexit has degenerated into a shambles and Mrs May’s strategy of “kicking the can down the road” has been a disastrous humiliation. That is certainly a valid point of view. But from her own narrow self-interested perspective she remains in Downing Street and […]

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Are CDC pension schemes “a game changer”?

Amber Rudd, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, has announced a “revolutionary” new workplace pensions scheme – Collective Defined Contribution (CDC) – that she claims will result in improved investment returns for workplace retirement savers. This is a potentially significant development, which could ultimately involve billions of pounds and affect thousands of workers […]

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