Charlotte Street Partners

DAILY BRIEFING

DAILY BRIEFING

No remote control

Written by Ralitsa Bobcheva, associate 
Edited by Adam shaw, associate partner
21 May 2021

Good morning,

There is no other media – indeed, few institutions of any type – as inextricably linked to national sentiment and identity as the BBC. Since its inception in 1922, “Auntie Beeb” has been deeply woven into the fabric of British life. 
 
With that status comes great scrutiny. Rightly so, in some cases, as the inquiry into Martin Bashir’s 1995 interview with Diana, Princess of Wales has shown.
 
However, the BBC faces a longer-term challenge.
 
The debate about the BBC’s impartiality is as old as the organisation itself. First established as a private corporation, the BBC became the first publicly owned media driven by the idea that public service broadcasting is a vital component of a healthy democracy. 
 
It’s not always been plain sailing but the BBC has largely managed to maintain its reputation as an impartial broadcaster. However, proposals for reform of the media organisation threaten to erode it.
 
In an open letter, a group of 128 authors, editors, actors and filmmakers warned that plans for the future of the BBC developed by the government’s public service broadcasting advisory group behind closed doors present a “severe threat” to Britain’s tradition of championing independent and impartial broadcasters.
 
The campaign group also warns of cuts in the next funding settlement, on top of an overall 30% reduction in public funding for the organisation over the past ten years. These threats, the group claims, could not only erode public trust in the institution nationally, but also deprive the UK of the soft power brought by the BBC abroad.
 
Trust is hard to win but easy to lose. If the BBC is to retain its reputation as a global beacon for public service broadcasting, it needs a regulatory and funding system that would grant its independence, not one that obstructs it. 
 
As Prince William said in his statement responding to Lord Dyson’s judgement yesterday, “public service broadcasting and a free press have never been more important”.

News

A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas came into effect in the early hours of Friday morning. World leaders welcomed the development and pledged to help rebuild Gaza after 11 days of hostilities which killed more than 240 people, most of them in Gaza. Both sides have claimed victory in the conflict.
 
Prince William and Prince Harry have criticised the BBC over Martin Bashir’s 1995 interview with Princess Diana, accusing the corporation of contributing to the fear she felt in her final years. This comes after an inquiry concluded that the former Panorama reporter had engaged in “deceitful behaviour” to induce Diana to agree to the interview. (£)
 
India’s health authorities have called on the country’s 29 states to declare an epidemic following a rise in deadly “black fungus” cases that affect recovering Covid-19 patients. The normally rare infection has a mortality rate of 50% and has affected thousands of recovered and recovering Covid-19 patients in recent months.

Business and economy

Australia’s biggest cattle farmer has forecasted that the nation’s beef exports to the UK could increase by as much as tenfold if the two countries strike a free-trade deal. Boris Johnson is determined to push for an ambitious deal with Australia, but the National Farmers’ Union warns that such a deal could do “irreversible damage” UK agriculture. 
 
The Biden administration has proposed a 15% global minimum tax on large multinational companies, as part of international talks this week to discuss what that minimum tax rate should be. This comes after the US announced plans for a tax regime overhaul in April and proposed a new tax, based on sales in each country, on the global profits of the very largest companies. (£)
 
Nearly 70% of Japanese firms want the Tokyo Olympics to be cancelled or postponed, according to a Reuters poll. The findings of the survey are roughly in line with public opinion polls, underscoring concerns that the competition could increase Covid-19 infections at a time when the medical system is under heavy strain.

Columns of note

The pandemic has triggered a surge in new businesses worldwide, with young people central to that entrepreneurial drive. In the Financial Times, John Thornhill looks at that phenomenon in order to debunk the old belief that entrepreneurs are born, not made. (£)
 
Writing for Bloomberg, Jim Bianco reflects on a turbulent week for the cryptocurrency market, looking through the lens of decentralized finance supporters. As opposed to the world of centralized finance, market losses in the crypto space don’t trigger doubts on the system’s resilience but rather strengthen the case for it. (£)

Cartoon source: The Times

Markets

What happened yesterday?

London’s FTSE 100 had a positive day yesterday, adding 0.5% to trade at 6,983.69 while Europe’s Stoxx 600 index closed 1.3% higher.
 
Wall Street’s main indices ended the session in the green, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbing 0.55% to 34,084.15, the S&P 500 adding 1.06% to 4,159.12, and the Nasdaq Composite gaining 1.77% to 13,535.74.
 
Bitcoin clawed back its losses from the previous day to trade near the $40,000 mark, fuelling renewed appetite for cryptocurrency.
 
In company news:
 
Card Factory has announced successful completion of a £225m refinancing deal with its existing commercial bank syndicate.
 
Trainline shares fell almost a third yesterday after the government unveiled plans for a new ticketing platform as part of major rail reforms.
 
Chief executive of Apple Tim Cook is set to testify today as the chief witness in a case against Epic Games that could overturn Apple’s business model.

What’s happening today?

Finals
Investec

Interims
Electra Private Equity

Trading announcements
Close Bros
Electra Private Equity

AGMs
Central Asia
Circassia
Croda International
Fair Oaks Inc21
Headlam
Old Mutual Lim.
Premier African Minerals
Pjsc Sev. Regs

UK economic announcements
(00:01) GFK Consumer Confidence
(07:00) Retail Sales

Int. economic announcements
(15:00) Existing Home Sales (US)

Source: Financial Times

did you know

In the 1950s, fish fingers were just one of a variety of newly introduced rectangular foods which included ham sticks, veal sticks and dried butter bean sticks. (@qikipedia)

Parliamentary highlights

House of Commons

The House of Commons is not sitting. The House will next sit on 24 May 2021.

House of Lords 

The House of Lords is not sitting. The House will next sit on 24 May 2021.

Scottish parliament 

No business scheduled

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