Tories face humiliation in poll ...
Brush up your classics, let the hair fly. Boris Johnson is favorite to be the next prime minister of truly global Britain.
"Johnson crushes rivals in member poll" the headline in the Times today. According to a You-Gov poll, 39% of those asked would vote for Johnson. Dominic Raab is the second most popular with just 13% of the votes. Michael Gove fails to hit double figures with just 9%.
The new PM could be in office by the end of July. Sir Graham Brady Chairman of the 1922 committee emerged from a meeting with Theresa May this week. He explained a timetable had been set, to establish a timetable, to define the timetable, within which the current Prime Minister would leave Number 10.
The timetable is to be managed by Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport. Grayling will also arrange ferry transport across the political Styx for the departing Prime Minister. Phillip Hammond has issued a warning to candidates. Do not promise too much in terms of spending in the election campaign. Someone should advise "Spreadsheet Phil", it's unlikely to be his problem. Hot money must be on a dream ticket with Johnson in Number 10 and Gove next door as Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Theresa May will be given one last chance to deliver a Brexit solution. The sadistic streak within the Conservative party runs deep.
The Tories face humiliation in the European elections. The Farage Brexit party will be the outright winner, with a clear "Leave" option. The Lib Dems are likely to be in second place offering the only perceptible "Remain" variant. The Tories will surrender third place to Labour as Corbyn's credibility climbs.
Following the EU setback, Johnson will have the tough job of uniting the party. It won't be easy. 49% of the party's Leave supporters put Johnson as their first choice but just 10% of Remain voters followed suit. The good news, Mr Johnson is considered by members to be the most likeable across the country. Support however, dwindles across the border.
"As far as I can see" said Nicola Sturgeon, "He is a complete and utter charlatan" the prospect of him becoming Prime Minister, is one that will horrify many people across Scotland". The view may not be confined to Scotland. It may be horrifying at times but it promises to be great fun ...
Peace in our time ...
President Trump dialed back the rhetoric this week. There will be no war with Iran. John Bolton National Security advisor is to be put back in his box. Bolton, known affectionately in Tehran as the "moustache" is a hawk. "Who would have thought" said the President this week. "I would be the restraining influence".
"Just give me a call" the President urged Hassan Rouhani the President of Iran, or better still "Just send me a beautiful letter" he could have added. I can add it my collection of beautiful letters from Chairman Kim, President Putin and my great friend President Xi. Yes friends across the world unite for peace in our time. No war with Iran or North Vietnam. I have in my hand a beautiful letter ...
The President did something unusual on trade this week. Tariffs on industrial metals from Mexico and Canada were lifted on Friday. Tariffs on steel from Turkey are to be halved. The threat of tariffs on EU cars has been postponed for six months.
The North American concession clears a major obstacle in securing passage of the "New NAFTA" deal through Congress. The President needs a win to offset the setback with China.
Vice Premier Liu explained to reach agreement, the US must remove all extra tariffs, set targets for Chinese purchase of goods in line with real demand and ensure the text of the deal is "Balanced" to ensure the "dignity" of both nations.
The latter difficult to achieve with Twitter as the medium, both sides are digging in. Trump declared another national emergency this week, announcing further restrictions on Huawei. China is ramping up the pressure with further restrictions on agricultural products. The Presidents are set to meet at the G20 next month to discuss the "little squabble" as Trump describes the trade war.
The Chinese find dealing with Trump to be frustrating and confusing. No long-term plans, or the ability to think ahead. The President has the long-term decision- making ability of an "empty chair". Not sure if that bit was in the beautiful letter ...
Strong jobs data ...
Strong jobs data this week. UK unemployment fell below 1.3 million. Vacancies in the economy were 846,000. The unemployment rate was 3.8%. It has not been lower since December 1974.
Earnings fell back slightly in the three months to March to 3.2% compared to 3.5% prior month. The slowdown doesn't make much sense. Adjustments may follow in the months ahead. Pay rises remain above CPI inflation. Real income growth continues.
The consensus remains for growth this year at around 1.5%. Inflation remains subdued. There seems little or no prospect of a rate rise anytime soon.
Sterling fell to $1.278. The cross party talks on Brexit were officially declared dead in the water. Oil rallied, gold fell, Bitcoin crashed. Markets rallied in the US and the West. Markets in the East fell. China badly hit on fears of an acceleration of the trade wars. If only the "Little Squabble" could be resolved ...
That's all for this week, have a great weekend. We will be back with more news and updates next week!
The Saturday Economist
John Ashcroft publishes the Saturday Economist. Join the mailing list for FREE weekly updates on the UK and World Economy.
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