We have a delay ...
Our worst Brexit fears realized. Nigel Farage has a new political platform. The Brexit Party is pledged to fight the European elections and to secure more TV time for the EU MP.
No more "Mr Nice Guy" the promise. Like the layers of a French onion, there is a more objectionable depth to Farage than we have seen to date apparently.
"We will change politics for good" claims Farage. With a fund of £750,000 raised in just ten days, they will probably have to use Facebook. The Brexit Party is a bit like UKIP without the racism for now. The beer swilling, fag smoking imagery is out. Annunziata Rees-Moog, sister of Jacob, has been recruited to polish up the image and grab the youth vote.
"We will rescue democracy" announced Annunziata "We will show the people of this country they have a say in how we are run". Excellent. There is a look and sound of Evita Peron to this Mogg.
In other news, the Theresa May has secured an extension to the Article 50 process. A request for delay until the end of June was met with the generosity of the masochist. The Prime Minister's tortures are set to continue until October. The Conservative Party will dress up for the Halloween Party as May returns in six months time for a further "Trick or Treat" request.
As Brussels spouts and Beatles sing, "It's a long and winding road, that leads to your door, it will never disappear, I have seen that road before." Ah Theresa, "It seems to me, you live your life, like a dangle in the wind, never knowing who to cling to, when the rain sets in." Anon.
Yes Brexit the musical coming soon, unlike a solution to the real problem ....
Say Cheese ...
US trade wars with the EU are set to escalate. Trump plans a series of tariff hikes on cheese and choppers. Airbus become a target along with swordfish steaks, salmon fillets, trout and crabmeat.
Cheese is on the list, especially Roquefort, grated or powdered. For Edam, Gouda and Gruyere, there is no grate escape. Cheddar and Stilton are on the table for tariffs. The inclusion of lemons and olive oil is set to lose the Italian vote. How the Godfathers would shudder to hear the news.
The full list of threatened species, runs to fourteen pages. There is no escape for clams and carpets as the vengeance of the White House is directed at friend and foe alike. The tantrums of "Tariff" Man persist. How long must this go on ...
Good news for the UK economy this week ...
The latest data on growth, and output suggests the economy will expand by 2% in the first quarter of the year. Construction output will be up by over 3.5%. Service sector output will be up by 2%. We expect strong growth in the leisure and distribution sector offsetting weakness in business and professional services.
Manufacturing output is set to increase by just 0.6%. There is no significant boost to output from stock building ahead of Brexit. The GDP growth is already reflected in strong job numbers, rising wages, good borrowing figures and a deteriorating balance of payments deficit.
Growth for the year as a whole is more likely to be 1.7% plus, rather than the 1.2% now penciled in by the rather gloomy IMF. In the US, growth is likely to be around 3.0% in the first quarter. The Federal Reserve may well review any decision to hold rates through 2019, the pessimistic outlook for Uncle Sam's back yard will have to be updated and soon.
World Banker ...
In the US, Trump continues to demonstrate his inept people management skills. The head of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen was asked to resign. The head of secret service, Randolph Alles was fired.
Trump continues to threaten to close the border, separate families on arrival and move migrants into sanctuary cities. Refugees may be queuing at the border, but few officials are lining up to serve under the President." You know who really runs Homeland Security" said Trump this week, "I do".
President Trump has spent the last few weeks trying to bend to his will three of the federal government’s least political institutions – the Department of Homeland Security, The Federal Reserve and The Department of Justice.
Trump has tried to build the Department of Homeland security in his own image, purging staffers who disagreed with him, or those thought to be insufficiently loyal. At the Fed Trump would like to stack the bench with political surrogates who will respond to his bidding including Pizza King Herman Cain.
There are signs the Republicans are becoming nervous about Trump nominations. Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader said this week, "I’ve not spoken to him about any of them. I have expressed my, shall I say, lack of enthusiasm for one of them. There are a number of members … who have had some reservations about some of the names that have been mentioned.”
Doubts about the dynasty would not have been assuaged this week. In an interview with Atlantic Magazine, Trump revealed he considered appointing Ivanka as head of the World Bank. Why not she is "good with numbers" apparently. Trump also disclosed "She would have made a great ambassador to the UN". "I could have made the appointment but people would have accused me of nepotism". Nepotism ... the very idea!
That's all for this week, have a great week-end. We will be back with more news and updates next week!
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The Saturday Economist
John Ashcroft publishes the Saturday Economist. Join the mailing list for updates on the UK and World Economy.
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