Charlotte Street Partners

DAILY BRIEFING

DAILY BRIEFING

Shame about the blog

Written by Katie Armour, associate
Edited by Iain Gibson, associate partner
17 June 2021

Good morning,

Jon Ronson of The Pyschopath Test fame has also written a book called So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed.
 
It’s a book about shame as a tool and how people respond to it. It’s also very much about the “cruelty of social media”.
 
Ronson catalogues scandals, smears and cancellations and says that after a 180-year hiatus since public punishment was formally phased out in the UK, social media has prompted a “great renaissance” of the practice.
 
I was reminded of the book and the powers of public shaming yesterday when Dominic Cummings issued his latest government critique in a 7,000 word essay published just ahead of PMQs.
 
In it, he expanded on the issues of pandemic testing and PPE that’d he brought up previously, but the main target of this specific tirade was health secretary Matt Hancock.
 
Cummings published screenshots of private whatsapps from the prime minister describing Hancock’s work as “totally f**king hopeless”, and others which showed them contemplating replacing him with Michael Gove.
 
They were particularly brutal messages that set fire to the claim that Downing Street has had full confidence in the health secretary.
 
Add this to his testimony the former adviser gave to MPs that Hancock should have been sacked 15-20 times and you start to get the impression that Cummings is in it for more than just transparency.
 
Whoever you are, and however poorly you’ve performed, it’s a particularly ruthless display of public HR. Nobody wants to be criticised by their boss or lead the 10 o’clock news being asked if they think they are hopeless. That said, Matt Hancock will have to answer for his failings throughout this pandemic and justify his decisions.
 
Unsurprisingly Downing Street refused to engage with queries on the screenshots but the real question that arises for Boris Johnson is why he left someone he thought was hopeless at the helm of a ship in very stormy waters. Were the other options worse? On that, the public deserves answers.  
 
Ronson said writing his book took him on a journey from “keen shamer” to someone “unsettled by the new zeal to judge and condemn”.
 
This isn’t the last we’ll hear of Dominic Cummings, for the man has stories to share and subscriptions to sell, but a public inquiry would undoubtedly be the best forum for this to continue.

News

The Liberal Democrats have won Chesham and Amersham in a by-election. Previously a Conservative strong-hold, Sarah Green secured 21,517 votes, giving her a majority of more than 8,000 over Peter Fleet, the Conservative candidate. 
 
The leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, Edwin Poots has resigned after just 21 days in the role amid an internal revolt. The news follows the appointment of Paul Given and Michelle O’Neill as Ireland’s first and deputy first ministers. 
 
The UK government is set to steer Channel 4 towards privatisation as soon as 2022. The privatisation of the channel has been explored several times in the past; however, due to the shifting nature of the television market the government has reconsidered its position. The decision will be overseen by Oliver Dowden, culture secretary, and John Whittingdale, minister for media. (£)

Business and economy

Federal Reserve officials have signalled the first rate rise will come in 2023, bringing forward forecasts for tighter monetary policy after boosting inflation projections. The US central bank has maintained its interest rate at the “rock bottom range” of 0 to 0.25% where it has been since the start of the pandemic. Chair Jay Powell said: “There’s every reason to think that we’ll be in a labour market with very attractive numbers, with low unemployment, high participation and rising wages across the spectrum”. (£)
 
24-year-old Londoner, Harry Stebbings who started a podcast on technology investment as a teenager has now raised $140m in new funds to back start-up firms. His investors include those who were early supporters of the apps Spotify and Calm. He originally started his podcast to help pay his mother’s medical fees for multiple sclerosis. (£)
 
New research by The Financial Times has revealed that the Treasury has received a £1bn windfall as a multitude of companies repaid furlough support funds. According to the data obtained via freedom of information requests, companies have repaid £709m that had been claimed under the government’s coronavirus job retention scheme and an additional £319m was recovered from companies that had over-claimed in error. The costs remain dwarfed by the £64bn spent by the Treasury on the furlough scheme so far. (£)

Columns of note

In The Times today Iain Martin maps out Rishi Sunak’s career prospect problems as he queries what the supposed “heir” to Downing Street is to do if Boris Johnson stays in power for up to a decade. He queries whether the prime minister will want to keep a “shiny rival” so close and suggests the best path is for him to implement economic reform to become a “consequential chancellor”. (£)

John Harris and Julian Savulescu debate in The Telegraph the ethical quandaries of making it compulsory for care home staff to be vaccinated. They consider whether vaccination status is comparable to a qualification for health professionals and look at issues of respect around the autonomy of care workers. (£)

Cartoon source: The Times

Markets

What happened yesterday?

London stocks closed in a mixed state on Wednesday, as investors studied the jump in inflation past the Bank of England’s 2% target for May and awaited the newest policy announcement from the Federal Reserve.

The FTSE 100 ended the session up 0.17% at 7,184.95, while the FTSE 250 was up 0.06% at 22,617.66.

Sterling was in a more positive state, trading 0.18% stronger against the dollar at $1.41. It also rose 0.26% against the euro, changing hands at €1.16.

In company news:

Mining stocks were under pressure due to Chinese industrial production and retail sales data missing expectations. Glencore dropped by 1.23%, Anglo American lost 1.18%, Antofagasta fell by 0.99%, and BHP dropped by 0.09%.

Telecommunications company Helios Towers slumped 3.6%.

What’s happening today?

Finals
Halfords
NextEnergy Solar
Open Orphan
Record
Renold
Syncona
Volex

Trading announcements
Brown Group
Whitbread

AGMs
Abdn.new Thai
Anpario
Biopharma Cred
Bluejay Min
Bmo Comm Prop
Ceiba Investment
Ceres Power
Microsaic
Middlefield Prf
Petrofac
Rbh Holdings
Shield Thera
Sumo Group Plc
Whitbread

Final Ex-Dividend Date
3i Infrastructure
Amati Aim Vct
Electrocomponents
Ferrexpo
Fidelity China Special Situations Plc
Forterra
Inspired Energy
Intermediate Capital
Land Securities
Maven Income 1
Pets At Home
S&U
Templeton Emerging Markets
TR Property Investment Trust
Warpaint London
Xpediator Plc

Final Dividend Payment Date
Cenkos Sec

Interim Ex-Dividend Date
3i Group
Blackrock Energy
BMO Managed Portfolio Income Trust
Gabelli Value
Henderson High Income Trust
Jadestone Energy
Renew Holdings
Tharisa
Up Global
Urban Lo
Witan Inv.3.4

Interim Dividend Date
Murray Inc tst

Quarterly Ex-Dividend Date
Aberdeen Di&g
Brunner Inv tst
Twentyfour Sel
Xp Power

Int. economic announcements
(10:00) Consumer Price Index (EU)
(13:30) Continuing Claims (US)
(13:30) Initial Jobless Claims (US)
(13:30) Philadelphia Fed Index (US)

Source: Financial Times

did you know

Finland and North Korea are separated by just one country. (Source: Sporcle)

Parliamentary highlights

House of Commons

Oral questions
Environment, food and rural affairs
Church Commissioners and House of Commons Commission and Parliamentary Works Sponsor Body and Public Accounts Commssion and Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission

Ministerial Statement
Update on Australia FTA negotiations

Business Statement
Business questions 

Select Committee Statement
First report on the future of the planning system in England

 Backbench Business
Misuse of Drugs Act 1971
The UK’s preventing sexual violence in conflict initiative and the G7

Adjournment
Findings of The Lancet’s 2021 series on miscarriage 

Westminster Hall debate
Value of vitamin D as a defence against covid-19 infection
Performance of Royal Mail

House of Lords 

Oral questions
Public support for proposed planning process changes for new housing developments
Permitting local council meetings to take place in hybrid form
Testing for covid-19 before people entered care homes
Report on standards in public life 

Statement
G7 and NATO summits

 Debate
The case for urgent levelling up of opportunities available to UK children which have been affected by the pandemic  

Statement
Response to Ofsted review of sexual abuse in schools and colleges

Scottish parliament 

First Minister’s questions
 
Portfolio questions
Justice
 
Ministerial Statement
Provisional Outturn 2021-21
 
Scottish government debate
Appointment of law officers
Tackling drug related deaths

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