The election race is up and running. Boris Johnson is in the saddle, on the platform, in the hospital, in the school, on the case. Never in the field of human voting, have so many photo opportunities been offered, to so many, by so few.
Jacob Rees-Mogg has been shuttered for the campaign duration. A series of unfortunate remarks on LBC about the Grenfell fire, confined the Victorian exemplar to barracks in Somerset. Andrew Bridgen, MP for North West Leicestershire, was dispatched to defend the Mogg.
"Jacob is a good friend of mine. He is an extremely compassionate, intelligent human being". He just doesn't get to meet many poor people. "I think of either of use were in a fire, we would ignore the advice of the Fire Brigade and leave the burning building".
Nanny would advise to tie silk sheets together with lace handkerchiefs, hang them from a window and ask the gardener to test the escape route before toffs lives were put at risk.
"We want clever people running the country and that is why he is in a position of authority", Bridgen explained. As if that were a reason! By the following morning, Bridgen was forced to recant. "I realize what I said was wrong and caused a great deal of distress and offence". [especially in campaign headquarters]. Jacob is not an extremely compassionate, human being ...
Sajid Javid, had his moment in the limelight. The Chancellor announced an easing of fiscal constraint to accommodate an increased in deficit spending of some £20 billion per annum. The spending would be allowed to rise to around 3% of GDP. A modest expansion compared to Labour largesse running into hundreds of billions.
Moody's fired a warning shot. The UK's credit rating has been cut over concerns about public sector finances and fears Brexit could damage economic growth. "No matter what the outcome is of the general election, the agency sees widespread political pressures for higher expenditures with no clear plan to increase revenues to finance that spending".
The OBR forecasts were withheld during the purdah period. The Treasury were not allowed to comment on Labour spending plans. The Bank of England released the November Monetary Policy Report. The MPC agreed to hold rates. Two of the nine members of the MPC voted for a rate cut.
The Bank expects growth of around 1.3% this year and in 2020 with inflation set to remain below the 2% target. It must have been a difficult forecast to put together.
In the absence of any clear resolution about the structure of parliament, spending plans, borrowing targets and the continued uncertainty about Brexit, Governor Carney may well be pleased this will be his first and last submission of the "Monetary Policy Report".
Keep America Great ...
Let's keep America Great! The U.S. electorate may decide to vote Democrat. The Republicans faced a setback in Kentucky and Virginia this week as the impeachment process rumbles on.
The President may be obsessed about the Whistle blower but the noise is rising to a cacophony as evidence flows in the impeachment inquiry.
This week, Fiona Hill, former special assistant to the President on European and Russian affairs, gave evidence behind closed doors in a ten hour session. Evidence was also provided by Lt Colonel Alexander Vindman. Vindman is the U.S. army lieutenant colonel serving as the Director of European Affairs for the National Security Council.
From both testimonies it is clear, there can be no doubt, Trump sought a quid pro quo with the Ukraine. $400 million of military aid was withheld pending investigations of American politicians. A visit to the White House was also on the table assuming officials in the Ukraine complied.
Gordon Sondland U.S. ambassador to the European Union, has admitted in deposition, military aid was contingent on the investigations Trump desired. Mick Mulvaney, Trump's acting chief of staff was complicit in the arrangements to secure a meeting in the Oval office.
Rudy Giuliana and associates, Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas, were involved in the skulduggery. Igor and Lev were arrested last month attempting to leave the country with a one way ticket. The may face federal charges of funneling foreign money to U.S. politicians, while trying to influence U.S. Ukraine relations.
For John Bolton, national security advisor to Trump until September this year, it was all too much. Bolton had warned Giuliani "is the hand grenade which will blow us all up" Bolton repeatedly told staff and colleagues in the administration that "nobody should be talking with Rudy Giuliani".
Chaos in the White House continues. Later this month will be published "A Warning".
The book’s author says Trump moves from one crisis to the next, “like a twelve-year-old in an air traffic control tower, pushing the buttons of government indiscriminately, indifferent to the planes skidding across the runway and the flights frantically diverting away from the airport”.
Turning to Trump’s early morning Twitter rants, the author writes: “It’s like showing up at the nursing home at daybreak to find your elderly uncle running pantless across the courtyard and cursing loudly about the cafeteria food, as worried attendants tried to catch him.
Just on year to the 2020 election ... a chance to Keep America Great ... which way will the American public vote? Will Trump be on the ticket ...
Moscow 2019 ...
We are off to Moscow next week as a guest of Gazprom. I shall be speaking at the fourth annual leasing conference. This year’s main theme of the Conference is “Leaders’ Strategies, The fight for new markets. I shall be speaking on “How companies adapt their marketing strategies under the influence of digital disruption”.
Want to know more, we shall be updating our work on digital disruption to include the latest “Moscow Chapter” before the end of the month!
That's all for this week, have a great weekend. We will be back with more news and updates on the 23rd November, John
The Saturday Economist
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