C’est vrai.  Soon the Ocado person can bring you undies as well as sundries.  Plus the news that sales of suits and ties have been replaced by those of T-Shirt bras suggests the nation is truly embracing diversity under lockdown.


Michel ma belle, these words are words that go together well


Not like your draft proposals, mon ami.  David Frost wrote to Micky Barnier yesterday to spell out how far apart the two sides are in the Brexit negotiations.  Enjoy this particularly delicious passage:


“Your text contains novel and unbalanced proposals which would bind this country to EU law or standards, and would prescribe the institutions which we would need to establish to deliver on these provisions. To take a particularly egregious example, your text would require the UK simply to accept EU state aid rules; would enable the EU, and only the EU, to put tariffs on trade with the UK if we breached those rules; and would require us to accept an enforcement mechanism which gives a specific role to the European Court of Justice.  You must see that this is simply not a provision any democratic country could sign.”


So keep it up your sleeve for when Hungary leaves, MB.


We have discussed already over the last week or so how badly the talks are going – and how Covid-19 provides a cover for Brexit zealots to pursue a no deal exit and cloud the cause of any economic impact.  That strikes me now as the likely outcome and firms should plan accordingly.  But this column has an at best questionable record on predictions.


Laying down the J-Law


I am finding that lockdown is very much reaffirming my opinion of many so called celebrities.  Piers Morgan, despite his admirable footballing choices, has shown himself to be the bit of a **** that prior behaviour had hinted at.  The Donald started the virus as a hot mess and is now a boiling one.  And Jennifer Lawrence, of whom I was already a massive fan (Winter’s Bone – great film, great performance), has cemented that position in her interaction with Amy Shumer.  Slightly edgy judgement of white wine drinkers, granted.  But the concept of the “pre-emptive beer at 5” is the greatest contribution to society since the Great John Muir invented a round of drinks that precedes preprandials.  All that remains is for Jen to be introduced to the concept of the “loosener” and a star will truly be born.


Start me up and never stop


HM Treasury has today launched the Future Fund which will match private investments of up to £5m in start-up firms.  This recognises that a feature of recessions is that they tend to focus both business and customer minds on what is really important and thus the list of firms founded during economic down turns that went on to great success is lengthy.  A focus on the necessities best exemplified by the fact that one of the products of the financial crisis twelve years ago was Tinder.


Va va V-Room


It is worth you knowing that discussion is underway about how the virtual underwriting room of the future might look.  Whilst remote trading is working well, I think everybody realises that we have yet to replace the tacit knowledge exchange (the posh expression for “gossip”) that takes place with physical interactions.  This is a process our sister wholesale financial markets went through as they digitised and which became the foundation for the wealth of Michael Bloomberg amongst others.  Some interesting ideas are emerging but it is very early days.  LIIBA’s Operations Committee will be the vanguard of our community’s input to the debate.


Alright, you didn’t really need to know that.  I just liked the heading.


Zoom, you chased my life away


I think we have all had mixed experiences with online video meetings.  Some pleasurable like the ability to nose round people’s houses in the background or drown out dismal discussion with a strategically placed snoring dog.  Others less so as people drone on and sometimes create echo effects so you have to listen to the dirge twice.  But I am not sure any of us can claim to have had an experience as unsettling as Punithan Genesan – who became amongst the first people in the world to be sentenced to death via Zoom.  Although presumably, at the crucial moment, he held his expression, stayed perfectly still and waited for 15 seconds or so before announcing “sorry, I missed that, I am having some connection problems”, swiftly signing off and making a run for it.


Still, should do wonders for Zoom sales in Texas.



Hot today, isn’t it?