Covid divide in 2022: you ain’t seen nothing yet

As the Omicron wave washes through, it’s hard, even with the seasonal perspective, to reckon what things might be like in say a year’s time.

But perhaps necessary.

Because the day-to-day measures seem less and less meaningful – except where they provide a pointer to the direction of long-term policy.

Continue reading “Covid divide in 2022: you ain’t seen nothing yet”

Late Frost in Brexit Britain

Another sharp take on the resignation of Lord Frost – Boris Johnson’s chief European sherpa – from the folk at Eurointelligence.

Wonk-in-chief Wolfgang Munchau argues Lord Frost was one of the few (perhaps the only one?) of Boris’s close advisers that really understood the needs of a post-Brexit strategy:

“What Brexit requires, first and foremost, is a post-Brexit economic model.”

What model?

Continue reading “Late Frost in Brexit Britain”

Ardern has served lashings of Christmas cheer – but others dish up a more sobering outlook

So   what can  New  Zealanders   look  forward  to in 2022?

After   what  PM  Jacinda  Ardern has  labelled  an “incredibly  hard  year” , surely  the   path  ahead  is  smoother.

Don’t   bet  on  it,  even though the PM reckons our economic recovery is outstripping that of Australia, Canada, the European Union, Japan, and the OECD.

She  told  Parliament  on  its  last  sitting  day  that export forecasts were at a record high, as were milk pay-outs to farmers, and the terms of trade were positive.

Further, she said:

“A statistic that represents people’s livelihoods and their overall financial wellbeing is that we have seen unemployment down to record lows of 3.4%. And for every person that has stayed in work or has moved into work, that represents thousands and thousands of employers, business owners, business start-ups all working hard to support one another and their staff. It has truly been a team effort.

“But those numbers are also recognition of the hard work, foresight, and passion of this country’s finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, and I pay tribute to you, Grant. On a day when we release numbers that show projected net debt is lower and our return to surplus sooner, we say thank you”. Continue reading “Ardern has served lashings of Christmas cheer – but others dish up a more sobering outlook”

In Britain, Christmas locks itself down

Experience suggests one should only call a turning point after it has actually – well – turned.

That said, it might be wise to keep an eye on developments in the UK over the Christmas and New Year period.

While Europe is fast locking down for fear of Omicron, Britain’s cabinet is the fulcrum of a political battle over whether any policy response would be meaningful.

Continue reading “In Britain, Christmas locks itself down”

Boris: holding out till Christmas

We said a few days ago that British PM, Boris Johnson, still looked to be the indispensable man.

It’s hard to tell if subsequent events are qualifying or confirming that.

Two examples.

First, Lord Frost, Minister of State and the government’s EU strategist resigned citing the general drift of policy, most recently towards Covid authoritarianism.

Continue reading “Boris: holding out till Christmas”

Boris: Bad reaction to Omicron

British politics is proving a fine laboratory for times of transition.

Boris Johnson’s enemies are exultant at his latest woes: a crushing by-election defeat and a parliamentary vote in which he endured the biggest Conservative party rebellion since – well since the Brexit horrors a few years ago under his predecessor Theresa May.

But oddly enough, it looks like he might keep on standing.

Continue reading “Boris: Bad reaction to Omicron”

Isn’t it good, Norwegian soot

Just keep reminding yourself that things need to get worse before they get better.

Norway – a grand profiteer from blood carbon, according to the puritanical wing of the climate church – has come up with a very old and very bad answer to Europe’s energy price crisis.

According to the Times, the government is going to help pay Norwegians’ electricity bills:

“Each household is expected to save hundreds of pounds through state subsidies to cover half of power costs above a price floor over the coming months.”

Continue reading “Isn’t it good, Norwegian soot”

Which is bigger: the risk to China’s property market; or to the CCP’s reputation?

China’s central bank turned on the monetary taps, after property company Evergrande (dubbed the world’s most indebted developer) announced further difficulties in meeting its obligations.  The beleaguered company’s share price and credit rating plumbed new depths.

The company also informed the world that state representatives had taken a majority of seats on a new risk management committee.

Continue reading “Which is bigger: the risk to China’s property market; or to the CCP’s reputation?”

Climate change has Boris wilting

Winter by-elections are rarely kind to governments.  But Boris Johnson’s Conservative party held on to a south London stronghold on a low turnout with a tolerably-reduced majority.

More worrying was that 1,400 voters got out of bed (one presumes) on a bitterly cold day to vote for the relatively anonymous candidate of a rebranded populist Reform party.  That’s about as many as the Greens and Liberals could manage between them.

After two years of setting the agenda, the talk now is of Boris losing his grip. But might it be the change in his agenda?

Continue reading “Climate change has Boris wilting”

Transitory inflation retires but does not recede

His reappointment as conductor of the world’s monetary orchestra safely in the bag, US Federal Reserve chairman Jay Powell let us know that the current bout of “transitory” inflation was a little more than that.

“It is probably a good time to retire that word”, he told the world.

As euphemisms go, it may not acquire the notoriety of the Nixon White House’s description of a previous statement as “inoperative”.

Continue reading “Transitory inflation retires but does not recede”