Brave of Boris to go to Scotland. He’ll be about as welcome as the Duke of Cumberland.
Put it to the test
The first week of court hearings in FCA’s test cases over ambiguous business interruption wordings has focussed on “the counterfactual”. A word I hate as I notice a strong correlation between people who use it a lot and people I don’t like. Anyway, FCA argues that were it not for coronavirus, the affected businesses would have carried on making money and thus the pandemic has caused them significant losses. A sound, logical argument that will make sense to the general public. Insurers are arguing that it wasn’t the virus that caused all this, that businesses could have ignored the government and the police and stayed open and, if they had, no one would have turned up and they would have made no money. So they have lost nada. A frankly stark staring mad argument that makes no sense and plays up to every negative opinion the general public has of our industry. Let us see where this one goes.
Now clearly something is desperately wrong with Kanye West. It is very sad and we can only hope he gets the help he needs and soon. But that should not stop us from marvelling at the economic genius he displayed in what must surely be his only rally of a short Presidential campaign. Rishi really needs to urgently consider the idea of giving $1m to every baby. It is audacious and breathtaking in its brilliance. Think about it. What better way to stimulate aggregate demand and thus getting the engine of the economy moving again than getting public funds directly into the hands of society’s most profligate spenders. Because, armed with a million pounds, babies are basically going to buy anything they can point at. Now, admittedly, that will be a disproportionate boost for the rusk and squeaky toy sectors. But Farley’s was a great west country business and deserves the love. Plus an uptick in sales of bounce and tickle me Elmos could go a long way to re-ingratiating ourselves with the Chinese. And I got the impression from their ambassador on the telly at the weekend that they are slightly peeved over the whole Huawei thing. There is just nothing not to like about this whole plan. In babies we trust.
To flounce or not to flounce…?
Depending on who you believe, the UK/EU trade negotiations are either going to run to the wire in the autumn, or are on the verge of collapse now. The two sides remain far apart on fish and the role of the ECJ. And Steve Baker has been flexing the ERG muscle over the latter this week and Bozzer daren’t take them on, 80 seat majority or no.
Meanwhile, despite Mike Pompeo pitching up in Westminster to say a quick Huawei the lads over the 5G thing, hopes are fading of getting what would be a largely symbolic trade deal with US over the line this year. The talks are also not helped by our ongoing threat to tax the pants off Amazon and Facebook. So it’s all going a bit pear shaped for Global Britain. Maybe it was a bit of a mistake p*****g off the Chinese…
Just because you would complain if I didn’t make this point for the 9 millionth time, deal or no deal things change at the end of the year for insurance intermediation on contracts where there is an EU policyholder with an EU risk. If you do not have a reverse branch model in place, you will not be able to service this business. Make sure you are Brexit ready (and come and have a chat if you are not).
Incidentally, if we could get Huawei somehow involved in Honey G, we could remove two blights to society in one fell swoop. Just sayin’.
It is sometimes suggested that the nation’s cultural institutions can be too high brow and fail to appeal to ordinary people. So it is good to see that museums have comprehensively bucked this trend with their contest to find the statue with the best bum. This innovative reworking of Rear of the Year is bound to bring the punters flocking in. As you will see from the link, the Guardian has really gone to town with its thesaurus. But in a very lazy way. I think we can do better. So let us look forward to this bun fight which promises to be a rump-acious contest with no hind quarter asked nor given. Clearly the finals must be televised and we will need an appropriate theme tune for the coverage. For some reason I am feeling that a lilting Northern Irish ditty may be appropriate. A jolly intro to what should be a light hearted yet competitive booty war. The sort of thing the Daily Mail might describe as a perky Derry air.
Pan Re, not Pan PM
Feedback from the various working groups engaged with trying to design a public/private solution to insuring future pandemics is positive. The belief is that there will be a proposal to put to HM Treasury by the end of this month. The liaison with government will be led by former Home Secretary Amber Rudd. So it was good to see her laying the groundwork for this negotiation in FT yesterday by comprehensively slagging off the Prime Minister and all his friends. Because nothing works better in this sort of negotiation than starting off by calling your counterpart a ****. Perhaps this initiative would go better if it was Rudderless?
Also, on a point of order, I think history shows us that the idea that “the Prime Minister is clearly more comfortable with men” is patently ridiculous…
Cine lengths to go to
A couple of weeks ago we marked the passing of Eden Pastora, the man who led the Sandinista raid on the National Palace. A proper piece of 1970s terrorism with the standard demands of release of political prisoners; a huge wad of cash; and a flight to Cuba. Today’s hijackers seem to have altogether lower ambitions. I mean there are several films I am quite fond of that I am not sure get the recognition they deserve – like Winter’s Bone, or that Bill Forsyth one about the Glasgow ice cream wars that is so much better than Gregory’s Girl, or Top Secret!. But I have never thought of taking it this far. Some other observations. Presumably Maksym didn’t just tell police he had rigged the bus with explosives. He must, must, must have also told them the bomb would go off if the bus dropped below 50mph. Otherwise he is a charlatan to his art. And throwing a grenade at a police drone is a really stupid idea. Because unless you are Michael Van Gerwen, you are probably going to miss and it is going to plop down on your head. Still, presumably good news for Joaquin Phoenix who I imagine has points on Earthlings which is surely due a bounce in viewings if someone loves it this much. A whole new stream of income for him which he can no doubt use to fund the writing of more cloying, supercilious, virtue signalling speeches to berate us all with. Joy.
You will have seen the announcement yesterday that Lloyd’s has delayed its Part VII transfer of liabilities to its new Belgian insurance company. We will be having more detailed discussions with the Lloyd’s team in the next few days as to the reasons behind this and any implications for brokers. So watch this space.
I am off to eat McDonalds through a mask.