House of Commons
The House of Commons is not sitting. The House will next sit on 11 May 2021.
The young Bravehearts
Written by Maria Julia Pieraccioni, associate
Edited by David Gaffney, partner
4 May 2021
From Academy-award winning Braveheart to Netflix original Outlaw King, pop culture never misses a beat when depicting Scotland as the mutineering sibling nation—the one who didn’t really want to be at the party and is constantly planning its Irish exit.
Over the weekend, Bloomberg published an article about the Scottish youth’s sentiment about independence and how young voters are most likely to be key in any future independence referendum.
A YouGov poll for The Times found that when excluding the “unknowns” 70% of people aged between 18 and 24 would vote “yes” in an independence referendum . Polls by Ipsos Mori, Survation, Panelbase, ComRes, and Opinium all place the 16 to 34 cohort at a 66% to 75% likelihood to vote yes to an independence referendum. This is a stark departure from the 2014 referendum, which saw the same cohort vote to remain in the UK, according to The Scottish Referendum Study.
Young people’s personal experience of the tension between Westminster and Holyrood doesn’t extend to before 1999, when Scotland was run from London. Yet, that same perception was also moulded by two historic referendums, which gave the young a glimpse of an independent future. Between 2014 and 2021, Brexit changed the favourability of Scottish Independence among young voters. Not only did most vote to remain in the EU in 2016, but Brexit showed Scotland the constitutional possibility to leave the United Kingdom as well as a glimpse of what a post-UK future could look like.
“The support for independence is entwined with the attitude toward Brexit”, suggests Professor John Curtice, Britain’s most prominent psephologist.
The rebel youth of Scotland are gradually eroding the foundations of support for the union, seemingly uncaring of the warnings of economic and political malaise that some warn could follow independence. Overreliance on being admitted to the EU automatically post-indyref2 is misplaced. Scotland’s route to EU membership would be treated as any non-member state, as previously stated by then European Commission President Barroso in a letter to Lord Tugendhat in 2012. Furthermore, Brexit has now complicated one of the three criteria applicant states need to be admitted: administrative and institutional capacity to effectively implement the obligations of membership.
However, the youth have an advantage: time is on their side. Whether independence happens in the near or long-term future, it is a cause worth voting for. Like William Wallace, Robert Bruce, and the sung heroes of old, Scotland’s youth is fanning the flames of a rebellious reputation. All that awaits now, is to see whether this will be enough at the polls on Thursday.
The EU will reopen its borders to tourists from countries with low Covid infection rates and anyone fully vaccinated by the start of June, according to a new plan set out by the European Commission. The UK could be added to the green list, but senior Commission officials have said it depends on a reciprocal willingness to allow European holidaymakers in. The UK’s “traffic light” system for non-essential travel is due to be unveiled later this week.
London mayor Sadiq Khan is expected to explore the possibility of bringing the Olympics to London in the next 20 years if he is re-elected mayor on Thursday. Backed by former Olympic medallists, the anticipated pledge aims to be a demonstration of Khan’s plans to build a future for London after the pandemic and rekindle memories of the successful 2012 Games.
France’s top prosecutor stated to journalists that there are no grounds to pursue legal claims that France was complicit in the Rwandan 1994 genocide. This comes at the heels of new allegations against then French president Francois Miterrand’s failure to prevent the massacre and his support for the Hutu-led government. Furthermore, a report published last month has revealed that France was aware the genocide was being prepared in Rwanda ahead of the killings.
Business and economy
Repayments of loans through the Bounce Back Loan Scheme are due to begin this month, yet at least 42,000 companies have already applied for extensions or repayment holidays, according to bankers and Financial Times calculations. Banks are preparing for an influx of hundreds of thousands of requests from small businesses to renegotiate their loan repayments. (£)
American telecoms giant Verizon is selling Yahoo and AOL to private equity firm Apollo Global Management, for a combined deal worth £3.6 billion. Acquired in 2017, Yahoo and AOL were pioneers of early forms of social media but were subsequently overshadowed by giants like Google and Facebook. Apollo intends to build the two brands into digital media and online advertising powerhouses.
Energy giant British Petroleum is preparing to bid for the rights to build wind farms off the coast of Scotland, after a successful bid for the seabed leases in England and Wales. BP’s expansion into wind energy is part of the British giant’s commitment to cut emissions to net zero by 2050. However, BP faces competition from Danish multinational Orsted and SSE, both of which will likely submit bids before the 16 July close. (£)
Columns of note
As restrictions begin easing in the United States, the Covid pandemic continues to ravage India, leaving Indian Americans stuck dealing with the emotional weight the stark difference carries, writes Prachi Gupta in The Atlantic. India is currently facing one of the world’s worst coronavirus surges: its hospitals are running out of beds and oxygen and its crematoria overcrowded with the dead. At the same time, the United States has started easing restrictions thanks to its rapid vaccination rollout, allowing people to return to a semblance of normality. For Indian Americans, “the widely divergent realities unfolding in India versus the U.S. are disorienting and even guilt-inducing,” she writes.
“The east is rising; the west is declining” was a buzz phrase used as propaganda by Beijing officials during Donald Trump’s last days in the White House, but its meaning has seemingly intensified since President Biden took office, writes Richard McGregor in The Guardian. Biden’s speech to a joint session of Congress last week revealed that both China and the United States share a similar goal: dominance. The only question is who gets there first.
The week ahead
The UK has a host of elections on Thursday, with votes at the Scottish and Welsh Parliaments, more than 140 English councils, a by-election in Hartlepool and more than a dozen metropolitan mayoral elections, including London. At the same time on Thursday, analysts are expecting the Bank of England to announce a significant change in its bond-buying programme, and its Monetary Policy Committee is in preparation to scale back its support.
On the other side of the Atlantic, the US Department of Labour will release its non-farm payroll data for April on Friday. The report will contain the number of new jobs created during the month of April as well as the unemployment rate in the United States.
Across both markets, analysts and investors continue to eye ongoing quarterly earnings reports.
What happened yesterday?
While markets in London paused for the early May bank holiday, robust growth in factory sectors, coupled with a strong growth in corporate earnings, sent positive shockwaves across American and eurozone markets.
The S&P 500 index closed up 0.3%, while the Dow Jones Industrial rose 0.7% at closing, hauled upwards by gains in the energy, materials and industrials sectors. In the eurozone, both the German Dax and the French CAC 40 indices closed in positive territory, up 0.7% and 0.6% respectively, thanks to booming eurozone manufacturing and a PMI index record set at 62.9 for the month.
Simultaneously, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite lost 0.5% at closing bell.
In company news
Companies listed on the S&P 500 that have disclosed quarterly figures so far have on average gained a year-on-year growth of 53%, with the majority exceeding expectations. A similar situation unfolded in the eurozone yesterday when companies listed on the Stoxx 600 reported a growth of almost 75% year-on-year. Analysts at Goldman Sachs commented on this growth as exceeding their expectations by 15%, the strongest sign of economic recovery in the eurozone since the financial crisis a decade ago.
Listed companies continue to report their quarterly earnings this week, and investors are looking with particular attention to US drug maker Pfizer and biotech Moderna. Pfizer has forecasted an expected $15 billion in revenue from Covid-19 vaccine development. Moderna’s forecast in February was higher, at $18.4 billion.
Other highly-anticipated quarterly earnings for this week are Estée Lauder, Warner Music Group, Axa, General Motors, Volkswagen, UniCredit, Enel, and more.
What’s happening today?
Final dividend payment rate
Interim dividend payment rate
VinaCapital Vietnam Opportunity Fund
Volution Group PLS
Quarterly payment date
Yew Grove Reit
UK economic announcements
(09:30) Mortgage Approvals
(09:30) PMI Manufacturing
(09:30) M4 Money Supply
(09:30) Consumer Credit
International economic announcements
(15:00) Factory Orders (US)
Pakistan’s name is an altered form of the name ‘PAKSTAN’, which was coined in 1933 as a combination of the names of the five regions it was thought to include: Punjab, Afghan province, Kashmir, Sindh, and Balochistan. [Source: QI Twitter]
House of Commons
The House of Commons is not sitting. The House will next sit on 11 May 2021.
House of Lords
The House of Lords is not sitting. The House will sit next on 11 May 2021.
The Scottish parliament is in recess ahead of the election on 6 May.
Share this post