Charlotte Street Partners

DAILY BRIEFING

DAILY BRIEFING

Uncommon ground

Written by Sam Buckley, associate
Edited by Kevin Pringle, senior partner
28 March 2022

Good morning,

Yesterday, the duke and duchess of Cambridge returned from their Caribbean Commonwealth tour to report their experience to the Queen. In perhaps a challenging discussion, they will have recounted a tour that started with protestors cancelling their first destination, to then finish with questions being raised over the future of the Commonwealth itself. 

How did a tour meant to build support for the Queen’s platinum jubilee go so wrong? More importantly, does this really indicate future problems for the monarchy and the Commonwealth? 

The royal pair were beset by unusually poor PR failures early on. Belize’s Q’eqehi Maya people protested at their helicopter landing due to land disputes with a charity that William is a patron of. After leaving, a Belize government minister then announced a new commission to begin the country’s “decolonisation process”. 

Jamaica did not start well either. A photo op with Rahim Sterling, likely to show racial solidarity after the world cup controversies, backfired due to poor photo angles. The couple did later join walking tours amongst the public, though unfortunate photos of young black children reaching out through the pitch’s wire fences smacked of white saviourism. That trip ended with the Jamaican prime minister stating, to their faces, on national television, that Jamaica would now be moving towards a republic. 

In an unprecedented break in royal protocol, William finished the trip with a speech openly addressing the issues faced along the way. Backdropped by calls for Bahama slavery reparations, William stated that it is for the Commonwealth’s people to decide their future, and that he is content to not head the Commonwealth as long as it can “create a better future for the people who form it”. 

How did the future king come to end a publicity trip by conceding his family’s sole right to lead the Commonwealth? 

Royal aides have stated that host nations led the PR events and that these would be thoroughly scrutinised in future. Poor PR aside, you cannot ignore the contentious political context which leads some to suggest the trip should have been cancelled. 

There are ongoing global debates about racism and colonialism; Meghan Markle’s unresolved claims to royal family racism are still fresh; the UK’s recent immigration policy failings did directly affect legal Caribbean migrants; and we cannot ignore how accusations of  Prince Andrew’s sexual misconduct have potentially primed support for republican movements. 

However, these points would not excuse royalty from uncomfortable questions about their purpose if they were merely to cancel publicity events. If they wish to reverse the tide of Caribbean republican movements, it is upon the royal family to develop a new narrative. They must address past injustices whilst creating an authentically diverse and inclusive common cause once more.  

Ultimately, while the monarchy only represents the Commonwealth brand, its success will be determined by the UK government’s ability to produce policies that demonstrate commitment to the Commonwealth. 

News

NHS England has developed artificial intelligence that will track accident and emergency footfall, alongside other departments’ bedspace. They intend to use the data to better plan staff and bedspace resource in a bid to reduce the backlog. (£) 

Ukrainian refugees are being taken and sold by human traffickers posing as aid organisations. The BBC explores the experiences of those affected, and how desperate people are far more vulnerable to exploitation. 

With 4.3m children now displaced, UNICEF has developed a range of initiatives to support the Ukraine Crisis. To help fundraise it arranged last week’s Scottish match against Poland at Hampden, though it stresses that the primary way to support is still via further funding. 

Business and economy

Now that sales have bounced back with pandemic restrictions easing, Starbucks UK intends to open another 140 shops. Half of these will be drive through stores. (£) 

Audit Scotland found that the Scottish government decided to approve two CalMac ferries against expert advice. There is fresh pressure for the first minister establish her role in the decision, though the Scottish government has reaffirmed collective responsibility, stating that it was key to saving jobs. 

The UK government is seeking to impose national minimum wage legislation upon ferry companies. Its hope is that this will make P&O decide that it is better to re-employ the workers it sacked. Unions are instead pushing for workers to be re-employed on their old contracts. 

Columns of note

Given the scandals and struggling economy, John Harris of The Guardian believes that Labour should be posing a bigger challenge to Conservatism than it currently is. He reflects on the messaging of Labour campaigns that successfully challenged Conservative governments, with the 2024 election in mind. He laments a current lack of “bite” in Keir Starmer’s approach. 

Writing for the New Statesman Ailbhe Rea notes a discord between Conservative MPs’ support for Rishi Sunak’s spring statement and Conservative voters’ disproval of it. Alongside cabinet power struggles, she considers whether Sunak’s future chances of becoming party leader will decline as Tory voters pressure their MPs against Sunak’s policies. (£) 

Markets

The week ahead

With a rather bleak forecast, this week is set to be dominated by increasing concern about the cost of living, alongside diplomatic discussions relating to supporting Ukrainian refugees. 

The EU interior ministers are set to meet on Monday to discuss the coming refugee crisis. In the UK, the treasury committee will be questioning chancellor Rishi Sunak and the Office for Budget Responsibility about last week’s spring statement. 

On Tuesday, the UK will host a service of thanksgiving for the late Duke of Edinburgh, just one day before the 20 year anniversary of the Queen Mother’s death. 

Wednesday will see the release of the Office of National Statistics report on the cost of living crisis. Meanwhile, the deputy governor of the Bank of England Ben Broadbent will deliver a speech on the bank’s Monetary Policy Committee, hosted by the NIESR think tank.  

On Thursdays, Nato’s secretary general will present its annual report 

It may be April fools on Friday, though the higher energy price caps coming into effect are no joke. This will also be when corporate and government financial statements are released, exposing the extent of inflationary pressures. 

What’s happening today?

Final results  
Dialight 
Tandem Group 
Rtc Grp. 
Globaltrans S 
Octopus S 
Octopus Renew. 

Interim dividend payment 
Mountview Est. 
Shell Plc 
Astrazeneca 
BHP Group  

Quaterly dividend payment date 
Diversified En 
Special dividend payment date 
Mountview Est.

Source: Financial Times

did you know

The Caribbean was named after the South American Carib tribe. (Source: Britannica)

Parliamentary highlights

House of Commons

Oral questions 
Various 

Consideration of Lords amendments 
Skills and post-16 education bill [Lords] 
Police, crime, sentencing, and courts bill

Backbench business 
Debate on a motion on war pensions and armed forces compensation scheme payments 
Lateral flow tests in health care settings 

House of Lords 

Oral questions 
Various 

Legislation 
Various 

Debate 
Code of practice for private parking – motion to regret

Scottish parliament 

General questions 
Various 

First minister’s questions 
Various 

Scottish parliamentary corporate body questions 
Various 

Portfolio questions 
Various 

Net zero, energy and transport committee debate:  
The road to COP27 and beyond: tackling the climate emergency in the aftermath of COP26 

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