Charlotte Street Partners

DAILY BRIEFING

DAILY BRIEFING

And the loser is

Written by Maria Julia Pieraccioni, senior associate
Edited by Scott Reid, associate partner
29 March 2022

Good morning,

Just like clockwork, the 94th Academy Awards were back again on Sunday, reminding us all – in surprising ways this year – that they’re still Hollywood’s kingmaker.
 
If you didn’t watch the show, fret not. Or maybe better to ask, how did you miss it? Social media’s coverage of a now-ubiquitous moment during proceedings have made reruns of one particular moment impossible to avoid.
 
I won’t go into the detail save for a crucial point when actor Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock on stage for making a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and alopecia. The world promptly erupted, Smith won Best Actor and gave a tearful acceptance speech when he made his apology.
 
But what drama! The event has become an instant viral polemic of our times with a clip of posted by The Guardian on YouTube garnering more than 57 million views in less than 24 hours. Comment sections are raging, with stills, clips and memes being shared like wildfire. Reaction has been mixed; some call Smith’s behaviour an unacceptable display of toxic masculinity and others comment that Chris Rock took it too far by calling out a medical condition.
 
While the jury is still out on who “won” last night (The Economist takes a dim view on the whole piece), Twitter users were outraged at the privilege on display during the altercation. Several commented that had the same situation occurred in a much less-privileged circumstance, both African American men would have been arrested and charged with assault. Instead, in a statement issued later that night, the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed that it would not be investigating the case because no charges had been brought forwards.
 
The episode highlights another quandary that we now revisit annually: what is purpose of the Oscars?
 
From ranking red carpet looks to the slew of articles outlining what celebs eat (spoiler: they end the night with In-N’-Out burgers), the Academy Awards’ purpose has strayed significantly from what was initially intended to be a celebration of the art and craft of filmmaking. Pressure from ABC, the Oscars’ broadcaster, to cut the show’s running time to make space for advertising breaks meant several categories were ditched, including prizes for animated short film, live action short film, original score, makeup and hairstyling, and production design, to name a few. That’s perhaps unsurprising given news that Nielsen TV Ratings revealed Sunday’s show were the second-least watched TV event since it began tracking viewership in the mid-70s, all despite the fury that raged online.
 
The Oscars like to point out that they are a night of firsts and unexpected wins. But its substance as a quality awards evening can’t rely on notoriety alone – whether for on-stage altercations or chronic misrepresentation of racial diversity. The audiences are tuning out.

News

Roman Abramovich was allegedly poisoned at talks on the Ukraine-Belarus border earlier this month. According to sources close to the Russian oligarch, Abramovich and others accompanying him were said to have been affected by sore eyes and peeling skin, with reports indicating the alleged poisoning was orchestrated by sources close to Putin’s regime in an effort to derail peace talks.
 
Up to 20 fines are expected to be issued by the Metropolitan Police todayfollowing the conclusion of its investigation into parties held in Downing Street and Whitehall during Covid-19 lockdown. Sky News reports that the Met will only release the first of many fines, as the number of those believed to have attended the events exceeded 100.
 
The release of the government’s much-anticipated energy strategy has been postponed to 5 April due to a funding row between prime minister Boris Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak. Cabinet is reported to dispute the cost of eight new nuclear stations, which are now estimated to cost the public purse more than £13 billion.

Business and economy

The UK government has now sold off its majority shareholding in NatWest Group more than fifteen years after rescuing the bank during the financial crisis. The devolution of controlling shares is part of the government’s long-term plan to revert the bank back to the private sector. The Treasury said it had sold a £1.2 billion stake back to the bank and is now a minority partner at 48.06%. (£)
 
Governor of the Bank of England Andrew Bailey warned on Monday that the UK will face a “historic shock” to citizens’ incomes this year sparked by alarming stagflation tendencies. The governor hinted that slowing economic growth and soaring inflation pose the biggest challenge to the central bank and will only be exacerbated by the effects of a prolonged Russo-Ukrainian war on energy prices. (£)
 
Credit Suisse has announced it will stop pursuing new business in Russia and slash its current exposure to the country, as US lawmakers probe into the bank’s potential breaches of sanction rules. In addition, the bank is currently moving roles out of the country and assisting employees in relocating.

Columns of note

Peru, the seldomly talked about South American country, is having a comeback – and not for the right reasons. This week the FT takes an in-depth look at what is causing the political turmoil rocking Peru and what this means for the country and the region as a whole. Author Gideon Long echoes the words of John Youle, executive president of a local political advisory group, saying that “the word ‘chaos’ no longer seems strong enough to describe the country’s political situation”. Yet one wonders, for a region in receipt of both American and Chinese foreign policy attention, how has this unfolded undetected? (£)
 
Elsewhere, in The Guardian, Rajan Menon opines three possible scenarios that may occur if Putin’s regime capitulates, which many have speculated would lead to the end of Russian aggression in Ukraine. Menon draws on recent remarks by the Biden administration and Carl Bildt, former prime minister and foreign minister of Sweden, who have called for a ‘Russian Spring’ to bring about real peace on the European continent. Among the possible scenarios, Menon outlines three: first, a new authoritarian leader will replace Putin, second, a ‘Russian Spring’ that may bring about democracy, and third, prolonged chaos without a foreseeable end. If we’re to learn anything from other rebellions, it’s to proceed with caution.

Markets

What happened yesterday?

London stocks closed in a mixed state on Monday, with analysts eyeing the next round of peace talks between Russa and Ukraine. The FTSE 100 ended the session down 0.14%, and the sterling followed suit, falling 0.73% against the dollar at $1.31 and down 0.59% against the euro at €1.19.
 
Analysts in Europe took a more optimistic approach, with the pan-European Stoxx 600 closing 0.14% up at the end of the session, gains mainly led by the German and Italian indexes.
 
Meanwhile in the US, upward pressures on oil prices eased amidst renewed peace talks between Russa and Ukraine and China entering a potential new lockdown, which analysts say may lower energy demands. In market news, Wall Street’s S&P 500 index closed up 0.7%, marking its third consecutive climb in the week. The Nasdaq Composite gained 1.3% at close, driven by gains in Tesla stock, after the company announced it was considering a stock split.

What’s happening today?

AGM
Impax Asset Man       
Tekmar Group P.       
Utd.bk (Regs)

Final Results
The Mission Group    
Cppgroup       
Ten Ent Grp   
Nahl Group    
Tinybuild Inc S           
Animalcare Grp          
IQE     
Stm Grp.        
S & U 
Personal Group         
Aquis Exchange         
Ergomed        
Ekf Diagnostics          
Boku Inc.        
Flowtech Fluid.          
Good Enrg     
Xlmedia          
Central Asia   
Fireangel        
Bk. Cyprus Hldg         
Xaar   
Impact Health

GM
Ab Ignitis. S   

Interim Results
Bellway          
Genedrive      
Skinbiotherap.
Orchard Funding        
Abingdon Healt.         

Intl Economic Announcement
(14:00) House Price Index (US)
(07:00) GFK Consumer Confidence (GER)
(13:30) Gross Domestic Product (US)
(10:00) Industrial Confidence (EU)
(10:00) Consumer Confidence (EU)
(10:00) Economic Sentiment Indicator (EU)
(10:00) Services Sentiment (EU)

Source: Financial Times

did you know

Walt Disney has won more Oscars than anyone else. He was nominated for 64 awards and won 26. Composer John Williams is the second most nominated person, with 47 Academy Award nominations.
(source: Classic FM)

Parliamentary highlights

House of Commons

Oral questions
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (including Topical Questions)
 
Ten Minute Rule Motion
Covid-19 Vaccine Damage Payments
 
Motion
Coronavirus Act 2020 (Delay in Expiry: Inquests, Courts and Tribunals, and Statuatory Sick Pay) (England and Wales and Northern Ireland) Regulations 2022
 
Motion
Coronavirus Act 2020 (Review of temporary provisions) (No. 4)
 
Opposition Day Debate
Opposition Day (18th allotted day, first part). Debate on a Motion in the name of the Official Opposition. Subject to be announced
 
Adjournment
Royal Mail services and the covid-19 pandemic
 
Westminster Hall debate
Various

House of Lords 

Legislation
Building Safety Bill – report stage
 
Oral questions
Various
 
Legislation
Motor Vehicles (Compulsory Insurance) Bill (Private Members’ Bill) – committee stage
Building Safety Bill – report stage (continued)
 
Statement
Schools White Paper

Scottish parliament 

Time for Reflection
Rev Sheila Moir, Minister, Dryburgh District Churches, Scottish Borders
 
Parliamentary Bureau Motions
 
Topical Questions (if selected)
 
Health, Social Care and Sport Committee Debate
Perinatal Mental Health
 
Stage 1 Debate
Scottish Local Government Elections (Candidacy Rights of Foreign Nationals) Bill
 
Committee Announcements
 
Business Motions
 
Parliamentary Bureau Motions
 
Decision Time
 
Members’ Business
S6M-03278 Sarah Boyack: Commonwealth Day 2022 on 14 March 2022

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