Charlotte Street Partners

VIEW FROM THE STREET

VIEW FROM THE STREET

Our new weekly briefing

Written by Kyle Macintyre, senior client manager
Column by Malcolm Robertson, founding partner
Edited by David Gaffney, senior partner
25 April 2022

Good morning,

Welcome to our new weekly briefing, View from the Street, in which we will discuss what’s coming up in the working week ahead, as well as ruminating on what’s been going on in the worlds of business, politics, and more generally. 

This morning, leaders across much of Europe will be breathing a sigh of relief as Emmanuel Macron begins a second term as French president; Oliver Dowden warns of a tricky local election for the Conservatives; and Amazon raises prices.
 
Plus, in a new weekly feature bringing you the musings of our partner team, founding partner Malcolm Robertson gives his reflections from a week on Iona.

So welcome, enjoy, and have a great week. 

Malcolm Robertson on Hebridean inspiration

Malcolm Robertson on Hebridean inspiration

I spent last week on Iona – for those who don’t know, it’s a tiny island off another island (Mull) off another one (the UK).
 
I go there for the white sandy beaches, a turquoise sea that numbs the legs and friendships formed over years, the liquidity of which now require more stamina than was once the case. Pilgrims go there in large numbers, following in the footsteps of Saint Columba, who took Christianity there in AD 563.
 
Whatever it is to me, Iona is one of the most industrious and productive places I know. Beneath the almost constant low hum of the old ferry that plies back and forth across the water to Fionnphort on Mull, there is the less discernible sound of hard work.
 
Nobody it seems has just one job. The fisherman finding his sea legs after a season of lambing on the family croft; the craft shop pioneer wondering how to take his Iona Wool business to a global market; the campsite owner, crofter and gin producer; the farmers, hoteliers, artists, small business owners; themen and women who take thousands of people to see the geological wonder of Staffa year in year out, who have helped rebuild the Iona Village Hall and now turn their determined minds to using the ground on which they live to heat homes and businesses.
 
This beautiful little island, and others like it, should serve as an inspiration – a microcosm of what a small society and economy can achieve, largely from theendeavours of its people, but with some help from local and central government. Instead, the people of Iona – in common with many more of our island communities – are forced to endure hundreds of inefficient hours battling unimaginative politicians and administrators who sit, miles away, deciding what’s best for islanders or just not deciding anything at all.
 
As I get older, and time feels shorter, I feel an air of depression as I sail away from the islands and back to the mainland. But I am determined to be inspired not just by the aesthetic beauty of them but by the work ethic, pure entrepreneurialism, and a love of where you live and what you do. We should all want to be like that.

News round-up

Emmanuel Macron will serve a second term as French president after securing 58.5% of the vote in yesterday’s election, beating Marine Le Pen by a higher margin than expected. There will have been great sighs of relief in Brussels and around Europe as Macron held off the challenge from his Eurosceptic opponent, though many report this morning on the divided France he must now attempt to unite. More from Politico here.
 
On this side of the channel, Tory party chairman Oliver Dowden was out yesterday to defend the prime minister after another tricky week dominated by discussion of the various lockdown parties in Number 10. The affair shows no sign of having run its course, after MPs voted on Thursday to launch a probe into whether Boris Johnson misled parliament. The Evening Standardhas a summary, with Dowden admitting ‘partygate’ will make for potentially tricky council elections. Remember, we’re expecting more fines to be issued and, at some point, the publication of Sue Gray’s report which,  according to a source of The Times, is so damning that Johnson will have to resign.
 
News is emerging this morning of US secretary of state Antony Blinken’s secret visit to Kyiv over the weekend. It is the first visit by a senior US official since Russia invaded Ukraine and he pledged more than £250m in new financing for Ukraine as well as confirming that US diplomats will slowly begin to return to the country. More from Sky News here.
 
Finally, The Times reports that prices on many Amazon products are expected to go up after the company increased charges for Marketplace sellers who use their storage and shipping facilities. It’s yet another price rise to add to the growing cost-of-living challenge and comes despite Amazon’s profits having trebled during the pandemic.

The week ahead

Monday

  • Economy: ONS publishes the Scottish natural capital ecosystem service accounts, highlighting the relative importance of services provided by Scottish natural assets

Tuesday 

  • Scottish parliament: John Swinney is in front of the Finance and Public Administration Committee to give evidence on the government’s continuous improvement programme
  • Economy: March tax receipts data showing the state of the public finances
  • Results: HSBC Q1
  • World Intellectual Property Day

Wednesday 

  • Scottish parliament: Portfolio Questions on Covid-19 Recovery and Parliamentary Business; and Net Zero, Energy and Transport
  • Results: GlaxoSmithKline Q1, Lloyds Banking Group Q1 interim management statement
  • Westminster: Liz Truss gives her Mansion House speech

Thursday

  • Scottish parliament: Portfolio Questions on Rural Affairs and Islands
  • Results: Sainsbury’s Final results; Standard Chartered, Schroders and Barclays Q1; Unilever Q1 trading statement

Friday 

  • Economy: Quarterly estimates of UK government debt and deficit
  • Results: Natwest Group and Astrazeneca Q1

did you know

Nectarines and peaches are essentially the same fruit. They are genetically identical except for one gene that determines whethethe skin is fuzzy or smooth.
 (Source: Buzzfeed)

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