“I am not yet born; O hear me.
Let not the bloodsucking bat or the rat or the stoat or the
club-footed ghoul come near me.
I am not yet born, console me.
I fear that the human race may with tall walls wall me,
with strong drugs dope me, with wise lies lure me,
on black racks rack me, in blood-baths roll me.
I am not yet born; provide me With water to dandle me, grass to grow for me, trees to talk
to me, sky to sing to me, birds and a white light
in the back of my mind to guide me.
I am not yet born; forgive me
For the sins that in me the world shall commit, my words
when they speak me, my thoughts when they think me,
my treason engendered by traitors beyond me,
my life when they murder by means of my
hands, my death when they live me.”
Louis MacNeice – poet – 1907-1963
Toby Helm of the Observer wrote a really telling piece about the UK’s relationship with the EU and limited reciprocity by the EU towards the UK! – “A powerful cross-party alliance including former Tory foreign secretary Malcolm Rifkind and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is calling for an urgent fight-back against spiralling anti-European sentiment as a new four-nation poll suggests the UK could be heading out of the EU.
The landmark survey of more than 5,000 voters in the UK, Germany, France and Poland finds British people far more hostile to the EU and its policies than those in the other EU states, and strikingly low support for British membership among people on the continent.
Testing cultural opinions, the poll finds very few British people choose to describe themselves as European. In other EU nations, enthusiasm for the concept of Europeanism is far higher. ‘Opinium’ found that just 26% of British voters regard the EU as, overall, a “good thing” compared with 42% who say it is a “bad thing”. In Poland 62% say it is a good thing and 13% bad; in Germany 55% good and 17% bad, and in France 36% good and 34% bad.
When asked about the UK’s contribution to the EU, there is little enthusiasm among our partners, and little to suggest they will go out of their way to keep us in. Just 9% of Germans and 15% of French people think the UK is a positive influence on the EU, with more Poles, 33%, taking that view.
Sad though it was to see Martin Jol depart as Fulham’s manager, you only had to see the game between a very moderate side in Hull City who deservedly beat Liverpool through endeavour, pride, passion and a game plan put together by Steve Bruce. All these ingredients have been missing at Craven Cottage for most of the season!
Markets remained in a very nebulous state on both sides of the pond thanks in the main to the three imponderables in the US – The Thanksgiving holiday, the possible affect that Black Friday would have on the robustness of the retail sector and the outcome of this Friday’s Non-Farm Payrolls, which are expected to endorse the creation of at least 180,000 jobs in November, leaving the unemployment rate at 7.2%. As for Old Blighty Thursday’s pre-budget Report, the BOE’s change of lending policy through Funding for Lending, announced by the Financial Stability Committee in favour of SMES away from mortgage lending, caused in many respects by the significant improvement in GDP – +0.8% were the main issues on investors’ minds. However Christmas has come early, with financial institutions very reluctant to surrender the measurable gains made this year.
It seems that discounting was fierce on the shopping malls in the US on Friday resulting in mixed fortunes for stocks from the retail sector -Target -0.8%, JC Penney +1% Walmart +0.1%, despite having sold 2 million TVs. From the tech sector Microsoft +1,4% , Ebay +2.5% and Apple +1.9% performed with aplomb. The FTSE closed down 4 points on Friday. RBS, thanks to adverse publicity over the rough treatment of some clients, causing them to go bankrupt was down 1.7%, However Barclays rallied by 2.3% thanks to the possibility of relaxation of capital requirements. Thos Cook grabbed the yellow jersey last week. Since Harriet Green has been at the helm, Thos Cook’s share price has gone up by 970% in 18 months; on Friday it added 12.5% on a decent outlook. Very few companies are reporting this week – Monday – Innovation Group, Tuesday – NUMIS SECURITIES, BETFAIR, GREENE KING & MICRO FOCUS, Wednesday- SAGE, STANDARD CHARTERED BANK (TS), Thursday – MULBERRY, AG BARR, Friday BERKELEY GROUP. It does not feel that there is a Christmas rally in the wind, but it would be folly to think that book building at the end of the year could not have a positive effect.
Asian markets on the back of a limp closing in New York on Black Friday and despite better than expected Chinese PMI data (best for 6 months) were, with the exception of the Hang +0.11% at lunch, were mainly in negative territory heading towards the close – ASX -0.83%, Shanghai -1,6% and the NIKKEI -034%. Chinese banks may be inclined to clamp down on domestic credit, giving preferential treatment to exporters.
As I said on Sunday everyone will be gearing up for Thursday’s pre-Budget Report, postponed for a day to allow the PM to return from his jolly to China with a selection of business luminaries and chums – Graeme Le Saux, Karen Brady – she of the Apprentice & West Ham United fame – and step-father-in-law Lord Astor – not quite sure what they bring to the party!
The OBR, in concert with other professional economic bodies will upgrade growth in the UK economy – 0.6% to 1.4% for 2013 and from 1.4% to 2.3% in 2014. This dramatic rally in growth is likely to undershoot the borrowing requirement of £120 billion by about £12 billion. Forgive me for not getting excited, but the Chancellor needs to introduce proper austerity across the country. Our deficit is still ridiculously and dangerously high! The Chancellor requires no advice from me but he can have it gratis! He has to close up the divide between London, the South East and the rest of the country by innovative thinking such as cutting business rates of taxation for companies with less than 200 employees if not even more. If attempts are not made to attempt that goal the 2015 election will be handed to a Labour/Lib-Dem coalition. With respect a cut of £50 in fuel bills is pure cynical political posturing, though freezing energy prices for a year may help! I ask you £1 a week saving – not even the cost of the Racing Post!
These are David Buik’s personal views
Twitter – @truemagic68
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