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The billion-dollar revenge plot

Written by Katie Armour, senior associate
Edited by Adam Shaw, associate partner

6 December 2021 

Good morning,

“There is no excitement on Twitter anymore… it’s a very boring place”.Or at least that’s what Donald Trump told Nigel Farage last week in a sit-down all-access interview on GB News.The pair met face-to-face at Trump’s famed Florida residence Mar-A-Lago and discussed a range of issues, from the storming of the Capitol, to energy independence and Meghan Markle.When the conversation turned to Twitter, however, it was clear the former president’s expulsion from the site still struck a nerve. Talking in the third person he said they were wrong for excluding  a “popular president” and suggested founder Jack Dorsey had been shown the door in part for letting cancel culture run rife on the platform.But news out yesterday suggests the more bitter, the better when it comes to a new business drive.Trump’s newly established media firm, the aptly named Trump Media & Technology Group, has reportedly attracted $1bn in investment ahead of its planned stock market listing.The company plans to launch social media app, Truth Social, at the start of 2022 and says the funding sends an important message “that censorship and political discrimination must end” as they “fight back against the tyranny of Big Tech”.The site is intended as a fresh platform to “restore” freedom of speech to conservatives, circumventing what they see as restraints and moderations targeting their political ideology.After that, in a move reminiscent of the Murdochs, or perhaps the Roys for the Succession fans, Trump intends to launch a subscription video-on-demand service called TMTG+, which will feature a mix of news and entertainment shows. This is to be listed on Nasdaq.This venture isn’t entirely unexpected. Since he left office, commentators have speculated that Trump was keen on creating a cable channel to rival Fox News. Perhaps in revenge for it recognising Biden as the 47th president or perhaps just because of his love of empires.  Whatever the motivation, it seems the plans for this project span further than originally imagined and are well underway.For many people the events of the last two years feel blurred together under the all-encompassing cloud of covid. In that vein, it caught me by surprise that President Biden is fast approaching a year in office.As you’d expect, political posturing is already underway for the 2022 midterms and recent polling suggests the Republicans have the largest lead in the run up to a set of midterm elections in 40 years.We should eye the developments of a Trump media empire cautiously within this context. A rising Republican party with a renewed vigour on extreme issues and Christmas cards covered in guns might well find solace, or space to grow, in an unregulated and angry new platform.

News

Deputy prime minister and justice secretary Dominic Raab appeared on the Andrew Marr show yesterday and was questioned about reports that a party was held at Downing Street last Christmas in contravention of the coronavirus restrictions. He conceded that any “formal” party would have broken the rules but said that the police did not normally investigate potential crimes that happened a year ago. 

The prime minister has ordered a “wide-ranging investigation” into the death of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes at the hands of his father and step-mother. The review will include police, schools, social services and probation watchdogs. (£) 

The UK is set to be hit by Storm Barra on Tuesday, with snow and high winds forecasted for large swathes of the country. Thousands of households remain without power following storm Arwen.

New reports suggest the prime minister is planning to curtail the power of the courts to overrule decisions by ministers through the process of judicial review by toughening plans to review judges’ power. (£)

Business and economy

Nicola Sturgeon has been put under pressure to explain why the Scottish government has given “the lion’s share” of multi million pound private sector contracts to the consultancy Deloitte. The company has received almost two-thirds of the funds Holyrood has spent on consultants in the last five years. (£)

Department store Selfridges is set to be sold to a Thai conglomerate for £4bn. The current owners, the Weston family, reportedly agreed sale terms in the last few days. 

Columns of note

John Harris writes in The Guardian that the new Tory right is “fanatical and dangerous” and suggests it should be the Labour’s primary target. He notes they have considerable influence on the prime minister, from the Brexit withdrawal agreement to mask policy, but argues public mood is turning against them.

Roger Bootle argues in The Telegraph that Britain has “much to learn” from Singapore’s “staggering economic success”. He argues that the governance of Singapore has been excellent and highlights competition, self-reliance and low taxes as drivers of success. (£)

Markets

The week ahead

Spectators concerned about inflation will be keeping an eye on consumer price index data from the US and China.

The Federal Reserve will enter purdah ahead of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting on 14 December and investors will monitor Brazil, which has entered a recession and is struggling to subdue the rising cost of living.

On Tuesday, British American Tobacco will issue a trading update and Germany will release industrial production figures.

Lululumon Athletics is expected to report strong third quarter results on Thursday.

What’s happening today?

AGMsEmmersonBellwayAmur MineralsVirgin WinesPipeHawk

EGMsCvc Credit GbpMyanmar Strat.

Final Dividend Payment DateJPMorgan Smaller Companies

Interim Dividend Payment DateBalfour BeattyEdge Perf.i

VinaCapital Vietnam Opportunity FundCoca-cola Euro.

Interim ResultsFusion Antibody

Quarterly Dividend Payment DateWheaton Prec.Round Hill Mus.

International Economic Announcements(07:00) Factory Orders (GER)(09:30) PMI Construction

Source: Financial Times

did you know

The month of December gets its name from “decem” the Latin for 10, as December was the 10th month in the ancient Roman calendar. (Source: Express)

Parliamentary highlights

Oral questionsEducation

LegislationArmed Forces Bill: Consideration of Lords amendmentsDormant Assets Bill: Second reading

AdjournmentUN international day of persons with disabilities

Westminster HallFibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva

House of Lords 

Oral questionsMaking misogyny a hate crimeGambling advertsNewport Wafer FabMinisterial code updates

Orders and regulationsElectric vehicles (smart charge points)

LegislationPublic Service Pensions and Judicial Offices BillAnimal Welfare (Sentience) Bill 

Orders and regulationsDrivers’ hours and tachnographs

Scottish parliament 

There is no scheduled business today.

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