What is Boris’s Plan for Brexit?

We are three weeks away from Brexit Day, and yet there is no clarity. This is starting to look eerily familiar!

Boris; buffoon or battler?

We have a PM who is trapped in office, but with no majority he is completely powerless. Meanwhile, the opposition is scared of an election, and is rather enjoying the discomfort of Boris.

It seems that the key date will be 19 October, a week on Saturday, the day when Boris is legally ordered by Parliament to write the letter asking for an extension.

Leo Varadker, Irish Taoiseach

Will he do it? We think not. Since the Benn Act (aka the Surrender Act) was rushed through, Boris has been at pains not to retreat from his ‘do or die’ message about 31 October. We can see why he would do that as background to his negotiations. If EU actually thought he could push through No Deal, then they would be much more keen to negotiate. This has to be true of Leo Varadker, Irish Taoiseach, who has most to lose from a No Deal. Clearly, they have not bought into that idea though.


How can these facts co-exist;-

  1. Boris claims we will leave on 31 October, deal or no deal,

  2. The Benn Act says he must ask for an extension in the event of no deal

  3. The Conservatives have stated that they will not break the law

  4. A deal looks extremely unlikely

  5. The EU will agree to any extension request

  6. Parliament will not let BoJo call a quick election?

It seems Boris must believe that there is a mechanism to spring free from the trap. Here is what we think could happen (yep, “could” implies our low level of confidence in our prediction).

The Queen’s Speech next week will essentially be the Conservative manifesto for an autumn election. It will get voted down, but still the opposition will not allow an election.

The big day will be 19 October, in the special Saturday Parliamentary session called by the Government. We see the following votes;-

  1. A vote to lift the Benn Act and allow a No Deal to happen. This will be designed and phrased in terms of progressing or overturning the referendum result, to try to make the opposition look like it is ignoring the plebiscite. Narrowly, we think this will be voted down.

  2. A vote to call a General Election. This will be designed to make the opposition look like it is scared of facing the electorate, especially given that they have earlier voted to “ignore the referendum”.

  3. This is when Boris Johnson resigns as Prime Minister, and where he states that he will not do the usual caretaking role until a new one is appointed. We feel that BoJo has too much political capital tied up to write that letter. It would be interesting if Parliament voted to make him personally write a letter in which he does not  believe. If he does not resign, I see him taking a jail sentence as less politically damaging than writing a letter.

  4. If we have no Prime Minister – and hence no Government – then there will inevitably be a court case as to who can write the letter.

  5. Then there is 14 days for a new Government to be formed. We do not think Mr Corbyn could attract enough support, as the LibDems will see little advantage of positioning themselves as Labour’s poodle.

  6. A government of “National Unity”, which even the media have Christened “National Remainers” also seems unlikely, given how the various factions of the remainers struggle to agree on anything.

  7. Another Conservative would be the natural choice, as they have the largest party…. could that be dragged out for the remaining 12 days?

  8. So we drift towards 31 October……. no Prime Minister, no Government, political chaos.

  9. Away from Westminster, the negative respect for the political classes plumbs new depths.

When the referendum result was declared, the best outcome would have been a clear, firm date three years (or even five years) ahead, for which everyone could plan and prepare, leading to the most seamless transition possible. Instead of which the political classes in London, Brussels and Dublin have screwed it up right royally. By their constant bickering and game-playing, we are now in the worst possible situation. It is no wonder that the general public is coming to despise politicians.


Oh, and as for the details of Boris’s Plan, we don’t know.  We’re not even sure that he knows……

FTSE 100 Forecast Flat Until March 2020

It is that time for us to kid ourselves that we have some insight of where FTSE is heading over the next six months. “Hurrah,” I hear you cry, “we’ve been waiting for a laugh.”

FTSE over 6 months

But first let’s have some humiliation by looking at what we foresaw back in March 2019. Back on 18 March, we confidently thought that Brexit would be resolved on 29 March. Oh how naïve we were. We thought that either a deal would be done, or no deal would be all sorted by September. Either way, we thought that resolution of Brexit would be supportive for FTSE, and so, with FTSE at 7228, we forecast 8150. The article was entitled “UK Equities About to Soar.” Wow, how confident we were. Sadly, our central assumption over Brexit was wrong, and so the out-turn of 7345 on 16 September was much lower. As we noted before, forecasting is particularly difficult when it involves the future (Ed; and as I remarked at the time, what other kind of forecasting is there? Now get on with it).

Market Screen

Looking forward to Monday 16 March 2020, what do we see? As noted last month, we see some risk of a global slow-down. And we have said this before, but surely by March, Brexit will be settled? The potential outcomes are;-

a) Deal on 31 October

b) No deal on 31 October

c) Extension to January, then Deal or No Deal

d) Revoke Article 50

Thus we feel that Brexit may well be off the scene. To some extent it will be hedged anyway, as a bad Brexit might lead to a lower GBP, which tends to support FTSE through the foreign earnings route.

Though we could have a Marxist/SNP/whatever coalition government too!

However Brexit is solved, we see it too soon to have a kick-start effect on the UK economy by March, and globally, we still see the risks on the downside. Therefore, we think the on-going global slowdown is bad for equities, but some kind of resolution of Brexit should help the UK market (dear God, any kind of closure, please, we implore you).

Thus for 16 March 2020, we forecast FTSE 100 at 7200. Yes, I know that is the same level we have forecast for December 2019, January 2020, and February 2020. At least we are consistent!

Brexit Election Double Bluff Could Avoid No-Deal

Cripes, doesn’t Boris love poking the hornets’ nest with a sharp stick?

Boris – back on the front foot

The reality of his decision to close this Parliamentary session and arrange a Queen’s Speech to initiate a new Parliament is relatively small. Instead of Parliament having a recess for three and a half weeks over the party conference season, the break is five weeks. However, it has acted as a lightning rod for all of the pent up frustration and anger of the Remainers. Suddenly, they can see their case is lost. It was lost before, but now they can no longer pretend to themselves that they still have a chance.

Guy Verhofstadt, with name label to prove it

The greatest endorsement came from Guy Verhofstadt, Chief EU Brexit Negotiator, who branded it a ‘sinister development’. Clearly, many in Brussels have been relying on the Remainers to weaken the UK position. The strength of Boris’s move is reflected in their dislike of it.

The Nuclear Option

So now the Remainers have only one option left – win a vote of No Confidence next week and force an election before the end of October. This would be welcomed by the Boris team, as discussed yesterday, who have developed a suite of policies on which to campaign, and have clearly judged that such a poll would be winnable.

Our view is that;-

  1. The Remainers will not be able to win a vote of No Confidence

  2. It is far from clear that Mr Corbyn will even dare to call one (see 1. above)

  3. The EU will have to sit up and realise that the Remainers will not postpone Brexit

  4. The EU needs to avoid blame for No-Deal, and so see a deal as necessary.


Suddenly, to us, a No-Deal Brexit seems less likely than it did 24 hours ago.

FTSE Weak Until Christmas – Then Rebounds in the New Year

It’s that time of the month when we take out our crystal ball and forecast where FTSE 100 will be in 6 months time, February 2020.

Stock Prices green for up, but we think down

Before giving away too many of our thoughts, gut-feels and sheer guesses, let’s look at where we are now. Six months ago, in February this year, we thought FTSE would continue the upward trajectory sine the start of 2019, Brexit would have been and gone, and FTSE would be just over 8000. What’s actually happened is that Brexit was postponed and so the UK economy has been left dithering over the summer. Last night it closed at 7148. So we got the direction right. At the end of last month, when it was at 7700, we could have forgiven ourselves a little smugness.

FTSE 100 with date of forecast shown

For the last three months, as the implications of the Brexit delay became apparent, we have been forecasting FTSE up to 7500 in July, and then a retreat to 7200 by November. Well, we got to 7500 in July, but back down to 7200 a little early. Our suggestion last month that the market was riding high but vulnerable to bad news was brought to life by President Trump’s step up of the tariff war with China.

So where to now?

As we noted last month, the global economy looks weak, and the UK could be in a technical recession by Christmas. (See our article last week, A Bleak Midwinter Brexit Recession By Christmas) Our central forecast for Brexit is that it will be a soft No-Deal, in that another Withdrawal Agreement will not be reached, but enough accommodations will be made to keep things ticking over. This outcome will scare the market further.  However, FTSE tends to look 6 months ahead, and by February, it should become clear that the UK economy will be okay, and the world economy could be over its wobble.

So we think the worries of a No Deal will send FTSE down to 6800 by November, but that in the 6 month time horizon of our forecast, we think it will be back to 7200 by Friday 14 Feb 2020

A Bleak-Midwinter Brexit Recession By Christmas

Oo-er, suddenly the UK economy ain’t looking so good!

The news media are full of speculation about Brexit, and not many of the stories are looking forward to how wonderful the country will be once/if Brexit happens. We can expect more of the same for the next twelve weeks until Halloween.

Are we heading for No-Deal?

At the moment, both sides are digging in, trying to create a tough stance for the benefit of their populations (I hesitate to use the word electors when we are discussing the EU, but you know what I mean). Behind the scenes, it can be assumed that the diplomats and civil servants will see themselves as the grown-ups in the room, and thus be at least looking for common ground.

However, it seems unlikely that a comprehensive new Withdrawal Agreement will be crafted by October. But we can expect enough co-operation to keep the world turning.

So what’s the problem?

The problem is that investment is collapsing. The worst thing for businesses in uncertainty. Life has enough risks when it comes to business investment, without an unseeable future being only 12 weeks away. Similarly, house-buying and car buying are likely to miss out on their usual autumn surges this year.

And after Brexit day, will there suddenly be clarity and light? Nope. There will be hysteria in the media for a few weeks as every little shortage and business malady is blamed on you-know-what. And the effect of this – more hand-sitting and less spending.

What else is happening?

Leader of the Free World

The US is starting to suffer from Mr Trump’s tariffs, to the extent that Jerome Powell has cut interest rates despite full employment. Meanwhile, China is suffering a marked slowdown from the trade war. This has now spread to Europe, which is also teetering on the edge of recession.


The UK is heading for recession – and it is difficult to see when it could end. Domestically, we’ll probably pull out next spring…. but that depends on what the rest of the global economy does. If things keep softening elsewhere, it could be a big one!

PS. The slowdown in Q2 announced today was no surprise, given the stockpiling in Q1 for the original Brexit day, and the factory shutdowns brought forward to April in case of Brexit delays.

Theresa the Timid

PPS. The coming recession will be a direct result of Mrs May’s and Parliament’s timidity over Brexit. If they had gone ahead on 29 March, we’d be pulling out of it by now. The delay to October has just increased the uncertainty and halted the economy for 7 months, tipping us into a recession we need never have had.

FTSE Forecast for January is…….. LOWER!

We’ve been forecasting FTSE100 with a six month timeframe for six months. Which means, oo-er, that we have just reached the outcome of our first prognostication.

Stock Prices green for up, but we think down

The best traditions of economic forecasting is to make the call, try to write some eye-catching blurb – and then MOVE ON, and never re-visit. After all, what is to be gained by checking on whether the forecasts were correct? Sooner or later, the call will be just ridiculously incorrect, which will make the author look stupid. And at other times, it will be spot on, so the writer then starts making hubristic comments about their skill (even though everyone knows it was only luck), and so still looks stupid.

However, one of our many maxims is “You can’t tell stupid”.

FTSE over the last year, with date of forecast shown

And so here goes with our review of January 2019’s forecast. At the time, FTSE was in the doldrums, having fallen for six months. When we made our forecast, it was 6855. We foresaw a reversal, and a strong climb to 8050. Well, we got the change of direction correct. Last night it closed at 7532. So it didn’t climb quite as far as we expected. Blame Brexit for that. The whole world seems to be using Brexit as the catch-all excuse for any under performance, so there is no reason LondonMarketComment can’t do the same! We thought that one way or another, it would be resolved by now and we could all get on with the more interesting parts of our lives. Anyway, we award ourselves 7 out of ten for that call.

The New Forecast.

We’ve been saying for a couple of months that we saw FTSE100 up to 7500 in July, and then a fall to 7200 by November. We got the 7500 right. We now say that the 7200 of November continues into January.

Why do we say this? Right now, the stockmarket has it’s positive head on. Bad Non-Farm Payrolls for May were taken positively. We understand the logic of a weak economy making interest rate rises less likely….. but, er, doesn’t that same weak economy make it harder for companies to make money? Subsequently, the June NFP came in much stronger – but that didn’t dent market sentiment either. So the market is a bit blinkered.

Meanwhile, we can all see risks to the global economy. Nobody knows where the US/China tariffs-that-are-really-strategic-politics will end. Trump and Xi Jinping both need to win this battle of wills. Meanwhile, Europe is catching a cold from Chinese hesitancy. The middle east could blow up (though we don’t foresee that). Oh, and last – and probably least – there is Brexit.

In conclusion, the market is in happy mode, but there are plenty of potential threats over the next six months. A downside surprise feels likely. So we see FTSE struggling to go higher, with a dip due by year end and no climb in January. Doom doom doom!

Why Are Brexit Tariffs So Bad?

It is accepted wisdom in the chattering classes that trade tariffs are necessarily a bad thing. But why is this so?

David Ricardo – economist

The Principle of Comparative Advantage was published in 1817 by an economist (yayyy), David Ricardo.  This postulates that in international trade, relative advantages in labour costs, productivity and other production factors will enable cheaper consumption – and hence higher living standards – for both the producing and importing nations, than the alternative of home production in each country.

An easy example of this effect, even within the UK, was the impact of the railways. Suddenly, there was no value in each small town having a maker of pots and pans. Such items could be made better and cheaper by a huge factory in Birmingham, and so pan-buyers (Pans-People as they might be termed by grey-haired fans of Top of the Pops) had a better standard of living, having devoted less of their income to obtaining better cooking utensils. The pan-workers presumably had marginally higher wages than elsewhere too.

However, it perhaps wasn’t so good for the country-town pan-makers, who were competed out of a job. And some of the inhabitants of such villages may have mourned the disappearance of their friendly local manufacturer – and all the workers in the previous supply chain. Special orders would be more difficult, with just a few standard designs. So the nett gains, including non-monetary items, weren’t always as large as perhaps thought at first glance.

It is the principle of comparative advantage that postulates that we are all richer as a result of international trade.  And tariffs dent international transfers of goods, hence at the margin impoverishing both exporting and importing nations.

Beef Cattle

A clear, and currently pertinent example is the UK beef industry. It is not cost effective for the custodian of 200 acres of Devon countryside, with hedges, copses and ancient barns to maintain, to compete with a mid-west American farmer with a 640 acre (square mile) of flat, fertile, but featureless maize land. The US beef farmer keeps all his animals in a feed-lot year round and transports in fodder from the prairie or the local grain silos. Cheaper feeding with no overheads – oh, and growth hormones. Does the UK consumer want cheaper beef, or enough profit in UK farming to retain our beautiful countryside? In surveys, they would select the countryside, but I suspect in Morrisons they would choose the cheaper steak! So the UK farming industry will need tariffs to raise food prices or, alternatively, subsidies to maintain the countryside.

Illinois Corn Fields

What do tariffs mean in terms of Brexit? In the case of a No-Deal Brexit, then the EU could choose to treat the UK as a third party country and apply tariffs. (It could drop tariffs on the basis that a withdrawal deal or trade agreement is imminent. It’ll be interesting to see if there is sufficient goodwill for that to happen). Given the 15% fall in sterling, the average 3% cost of tariffs across all goods won’t actually make much difference. However, in cases such as beef and lamb exports to EU, 40% tariffs will hurt. Here, sector support will be essential during any interim period, as the reaction of prices to these tariffs will be only partly a rise in prices in EU, with the rest of the slack taken up by a fall in export incomes received by British farmers.

The second impact of leaving the EU’s customs union will be an increase in paperwork. This is just sand in the machine, benefiting nobody (except perhaps paper-makers and form-fillers).

Work will be required on both sides of the channel to ensure delays don’t become excessive. We have seen figures suggesting that if the processing time per lorry increases from 30 seconds to a minute and a half, then the whole of southern England will somehow face gridlock. This view doesn’t seem credible to those without a pre-decided political position. Both sides of the channel have had plenty of notice about the forthcoming change, and already have capacity to cope with fluctuations in volumes. If each lorry needs three times as long to be processed, then is it not a case for having three times as many booths? Or maybe twice as many with a few changes to reduce the bottle-necks or critical time-paths of each customs inspection?

Finally, there is the Irish economy to consider. The vast majority of their goods travel across England to get to continental Europe. If tariffs are bad for the UK, they will be hugely worse for the Irish. Will they pay a tariff to get their goods into UK and another one to move them into France?  One has to hope that Brussels won’t dump the Irish economy as a side-effect of punishing the UK!

In the very long-term, one has to assume trade deals will be made with both EU and US. There is some prospect that we will have to choose whether to be in the trading orbit of the US or EU, as having one foot in both may be untenable.


  1. Tariffs (and paperwork) are bad, but not catastrophic.

  2. The already lower pound sterling, and future tax and export-subsidy payments will mitigate the worst impacts.

  3. Brexit is a political choice. Tariffs are a part of that decision, but should only be a small input, not the deciding factor.

US Economy Does Well – So Stocks Are Down?

Regular readers (Hi Mum) will recall our excitement over US Non-Farm Payroll numbers, and how we await them every first Friday with breath so bated that we’ve turned blue. And this month’s release was a blinder!

Last month, the May number, reviewed here, was shockingly low at 75,000, far below our neutral level of 180,000-200,000. Since then, the consensus market view has been that the US economy has started to look (in technical terms) “a bit iffy”.

Market Screen

So June’s number of 224,000 was great news right? (Click here for the Bloomberg report) Well, not for Wall Street. After the data were released on Friday lunchtime (8.30am in NY), share prices went down! Normally, the market likes the economy to be doing well (which this figure implied) ……. but there is a twist.

Everyone is excited about whether the Fed will cut rates at the end of July. This year has seen quite a turn-around in expectations for interest rates. In January we expected three or four hikes in 2019. However, weaker data in US and around the world, plus all this talk about tariffs and trade wars, had turned things so far that markets were forecasting the Fed to ride to the rescue and cut this month.

US Fed has an impressive gaff

So now things aren’t so bad, maybe we won’t get the cut after all? And higher rates (or non-arriving lower rates) are bad for companies because of higher borrowing costs, customers having less spending cash and higher discount rates when looking at future profits. So we get the bizarre outcome that a strong economic figure pushes the market lower.

The reality is that in the scheme of things, 25bp (a quarter of 1.00%) is neither here nor there when rates are so low already, but the market loves to have something to chew on!

Our house view is that the tariffs-thing will start to have a minor effect in the rest of the year, but US growth will survive.

Roll on 2 August for the next exciting episode of Non-Farm-Payrolls!

Government Ministers Killed the Small Builder – Then Blamed Large Builders for the Lack of Houses!

Individual Quality New-Build

Last week, we promised you an installment about the slow rate of house building.  I hope the tension of waiting hasn’t been too tough for you all?

Every week (or so it seems) the large housebuilders are accused of operating a cartel to restrict the building of new houses – and thereby hold up prices of their land banks. This is incorrect for a number of reasons;-

  1. There are about 25 million houses in this country – and the build rate is less than 250,000 per year. Therefore, with new build less than 1% of stock, prices are set by turn over of the existing stock, not by the tiny amount of new build. In reality, it works the other way around – the value of land is the residual, the result from the sale price of a house less the build cost (and some profit).

  2. House-builders are in the business of adding value to land by building houses – the more houses they can build, the more money they turn over and the more profit they make. Why leave money tied up in land when it can be turned over and a profit made?

  3. The housebuilders are accused of sitting on plots with planning permission – again, to drive up prices. This is not true, and displays a fundamental misunderstanding of the market. A housebuilder needs a pipeline of sites ahead to keep production going and to usefully employ their many personnel.

  4. There is also a matter of commerciality here. If ABC Building plc has a site with permission for 5000 houses on the edge of a small city, it would be crazy for them to build all 5000 in one go: the market for new-build houses in a small city cannot absorb so many new houses in one location, there just won’t be enough potential buyers. So the builder has a programme to build 500 houses per year. This has the dual benefit of feeding houses into the market to meet demand levels – and also avoiding the inevitable bankruptcy that would come from building 5000 houses in one go and having 4500 of them sitting empty! Both of these factors are pretty important for building companies.

  5. Where the large builders are red-handed is in the support of ever-tighter regulations and controls on the building industry, knowing that they can cope but their smaller competitors do not have the specialist teams required.

Commentators sometimes whinge about the ever-reducing number of small and medium size builders competing with the big-boys. This is the Government’s fault, not due to a lack of entrepreneurial spirit in the construction industry.

For a small builder, with limited capital, every month/year of planning delay is a month/year when that investment in land is not earning any return – but you know what, the bank still wants its interest! Every “good-idea” foisted on the planning application adds cost and delay. This is the typical list of work that has to be commissioned, received and paid for before a planning application can be submitted;-

A full set of drawings (fair enough)

Design and Access statement

Site survey

Air Quality Assessment

Archaeological Assessment

Biodiversity Survey and report

Crime Impact Statement

Flood Risk Assessment

Heads of Terms – Section 106 Agreement

Housing Statement

Heritage Impact and Justification Statement

Land Contamination Assessment

Landscaping Details

Landscape and Visual Impact Statement

Lighting Assessment

Noise Assessment

Odour Assessment

Photographs and Photomontages

Playing Field Statement

Statement of Community Involvement

Structural Survey

Supporting Planning Statement

Sustainability Appraisal and Energy Statement

Town Centre Uses

Transport Assessment and Statement

Travel Plan

Tree Survey / Arboricultural Implications

Utility Assessment


Phew! And that is just planning. Next, the builder has to negotiate Section 106 agreements with the planners, CIL’s, Section 104 agreements with the Water Authority, and Section 38 agreements with the Highways Department. Then, after he has taken all these costs into account, he has to provide 30% affordable housing (at a reduced sale price). All this can be allowed for in the purchase price of the land. But what if the Council then throws a wobbly and declares a Selective Licencing area, where any buyers thinking of letting their property has to pay the council £900 for extra regulation. Suddenly the sale price is less.

Oh, then we come to the Health and Safety Executive. Over time, the small builder will learn that if there is an accident on site, he is likely to go to jail. Of course nobody wants to see people hurt or killed on a building site, but the reality is of moving heavy loads about at high levels with an ever-changing crew of people. No matter how experienced the workers are, if they do something stupid, it is the builder who goes to prison.

All of the above measures were put in by well-meaning ministers, very few of whom had ever worked in construction, nor any other kind of physical job. Each time the job was made more difficult for the small builder, more of them left the business or never started.

The outcome is an industry dominated by a few large firms. It is the inevitable outcome of decades of ever more complicated planning requirements, government interference and Health and Safety zealots.

This situation will not change until a Housing Minister with common sense is appointed. Unfortunately, the phases ‘housing minister’ and common sense’ rarely seem to go together. Thus, we are doomed to a shortage of housing and ever-climbing prices.  Make no mistake, the death of the small builder is entirely the fault of Government Ministers.

Productivity is Everything, Boris….. Brexit is a Sideshow!

We’ve all loved the drama and excitement of the Brexit imbroglio*.

What entertainment Brexit has been. But ultimately, it is a sideshow (as well as a s**tshow). Over the medium term, we believe that it will have a neutral to slightly positive effect, where the increased frictions of trade with the EU will be balanced by reduced challenges trading with US, China, Africa and other faster growing regions.

Paul Krugman, famous economist

As Paul Krugman famously stated (OK, only famously among economists perhaps).

Productivity isn’t everything, but in the long run it is almost everything. A country’s ability to improve its standard of living over time depends almost entirely on its ability to raise its output per worker.”

Not very snappy is it? But the sentiment is correct. If we want an overall higher standard of living, we have to produce more products and more effective services, or how can we consume more? For a more in-depth article on this, we recommend Christopher Colford at World Bank Blogs

Without wishing to sound like a junior management trainer, this means working smarter, not harder. And what is the state’s role in all this? The Government needs to provide the infrastructure, the legal certainty, and a broadly educated and motivated workforce. And then step out of the way. Few people who can distinguish between up and down believe that the Government can organise anything better than those working with a profit motive.

If we are to achieve this higher output without just flogging everyone to death, how does that happen? The answer is more investment and more effective workers.

Investment happens when a politically stable, low-inflationary, positively growing economy is presented to business and entrepreneurs. For business to flourish, we need good communications – both for information transfer and physical transport. This definitely means an internet superhighway – but also a transport superhighway. As we discussed before, by ‘transport superhighway’, we don’t mean HS2, we mean a smoothly flowing network all around the country, including road, rail and airports.

A more effective workforce is partly about education, but also the correct balance of skills. If everyone goes to university, we’ll all be great at sending memos to each other, but who actually physically does anything? The other part of an effective workforce is motivation – which is having having the correct personal attributes. but also managing society’s expectations. Low tax of course becomes an issue. Work is hard. If the state takes much of the extra income, people tend not to push themselves so much, why would they? That is only human nature, and so a financial incentive is most certainly part of the package.

Boris -we are relying on you

First, Boris, get Brexit resolved and get it out of the way. And then get to the really important things;-

  1. What will you do to improve investment?

  2. How will you improve our transport and communication infrastructure?

  3. What should our life-long education provision be?

  4. How will you lift output per hour across the economy?

So listen up Boris**. Brexit may get you elected, but improving our living standards is what you need to achieve for that 2022 election.


* We thought “imbroglio” meant “balls-up”, but apparently the true meaning is ‘noun an extremely confused, complicated, or embarrassing situation.’

** The rant applies to other national leaders, just in case BoJo doesn’t make it