Wednesday, 3 November 2010

US Elections - Meg-a-Bucks Gets Beaten By Crazy Jerry

The California Governor's Race - Meg of eBay spent £800m and lost. Jerry Brown spent his pocket money and won.
Why? They liked crazy Jerry, and didn't connect with Meg.
'The Political Brain' by Drew Westen explains, empirically, why this is - emotional response.
Emotion vs. Reason - emotion wins, and a brain scan shows why.
Marketing, the same.
You don't need Meg's money, you need Jerry's smile and empathy.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

C'Mon Cameron, If Only The UK Was As Efficient As The EU

It's own worst ambassador, as always, the European Union failed to make the case for asking for more money. Instead, it feeds the right-wing intent on demolishing the very many positives the UK gains from the EU.

Not a single spokesperson could be heard advocating the merits of the EU, or the massive achievements enacted from the European civil service, a service which remains tiny, effective and efficient by comparison with the lumbering mammoths found in many of Europe's capitals.

The problem with talking to yourself is that nobody else listens. The European Union must stop talking about democratic deficits and consider the consequences of its own public relations deficiencies.

Score Card: 3 / 10. Could do better Snr Barroso.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Europe's Trade Deficit Widens

The first estimate for the euro area (EA16) trade balance with the rest of the world in August 2010 gave a 4.3 bn euro deficit, compared with -2.8 bn in August 2009. The July 20102 balance was +6.2 bn, compared with +11.9 bn in July 2009. 

In August 2010 compared with July 2010, seasonally adjusted exports rose by 1.0% and imports by 1.8%.

The first estimate for the August 2010 extra-EU271 trade balance was a 17.3 bn euro deficit, compared with -12.4 bn in August 2009. In July 20102 the balance was -6.2 bn, compared with +0.5 bn in July 2009. In August 2010 compared with July 2010, seasonally adjusted exports fell by 0.1%, while imports rose by 1.3%.

Source: Eurostat

Friday, 24 September 2010

Monday, 23 August 2010

Lisbon - The Experience

Just back from Lisbon. Watch out for 'Lisbon, The Experience' a special EBX supplement early next year.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

IMF Frowns On Hungarian Monetary Poilcy

Listen to this week's FT Beyond BRICS podcast: The IMF's thumbs down for Hungary; the surprisingly small rate hike in Brazil; Indonesia's potential bubble; Apple's iPhone 4 exchanging hands in China for inflated rates

Click Here To Listen

Friday, 23 July 2010

UK Economy Grows Most in Four Years... but

Here are the reasons why caution is the word today, despite encouraging results - Stephanie Flanders BBC blog: Economy Caution

Thursday, 24 June 2010

UK Budget Stealth Tax

The four-year freeze on Inheritance Tax allowance confirmed in the United Kingdom's June Budget represents a major tax increase in real terms on thousands of families in Northern Ireland.

Describing the move as a ‘stealth tax’, NI independent financial advisor Stephen Hill said that the move would seriously impact on the money passed from family members.

He believes that the freeze on the nil rate band, first mooted in the emergency March budget, has slipped under the radar and that local people here do not fully appreciate the potential impact. “This freeze is tantamount to a huge increase in inheritance tax,” said Mr Hill, of S Hill & Co Investment Advisors.

Read More

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

DC Seals The Deal

So, that's that then. David Cameron is the newly, and finally elected, Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. As opposed to his election as one might have been, just might have been, it is time to wish him well. His boldness and determination will be needed to maintain Britain's fragile coaltion with Nick Clegg's Liberal Democrats.

If the coalition lasts, it will be the Liberal Democrats which take the harsh edge off insensitive Tory policies. Unchecked, Cameron and Osborne would likely push too hard, too soon in what they see as the national interest, not noticing the trail of public destruction they would leave in their wake. The brutal excellence of capitalism and market renewal is less easily applied to families, to the young and the old. Losing your job is losing your job.

So, that's that then, David Cameron. We wish you well. Walk steady, walk tall, tread gently.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Near Miss

There was a crucial moment when Nick Clegg was missing from the political radar, but when he popped up at the debates, the political police, the FBI of policy, nabbed him, and suddenly he just wasn't Mr Popular.

Weeks of scrutiny are putting Clegg's Liberal Democrats back where they belong, in a vaguely relevant position.

With this election too close to call, Labour and the Conservatives are playing the roles of big banker and small business. Dave 'The Banker' Cameron, pretends to be offering the best deal on the High Street, but really, it's only for those with big fat wallets. Gordon 'I'm not sure I agree with Nick anymore' Brown, is the MD of a business which did well in the good times, but just can't catch a break when the squeeze is squeezing.

Dave pretends he really, really understands the plight of the British people, and feels a little sorry they didn't get bailed out, like him, in life's fiscal lottery. Gordon 'gets it', though what every MD will tell you; when your back's against the wall, telling consumers their service levels will improve next year just doesn't cut it.

Gordon has turned a profit into a loss. Dave has one lesson left to lend to Gordon - what every big bank will tell you - some businesses are too big to fail. Labour may be politically insolvent, but they are still in the game, and with a little luck, a little pleading, and stone cold plausability, they may yet win the largest number of seats. If not, Cameron will call in the nation's overdraft, and we will feel a squeeze that will make many squeal.

Friday, 30 April 2010

"I'm sorry, oh, so sorry..."

The ghost of Major past is lurking.

Former British Prime Minister John Major's monumental ransacking of political polls in the final week of campaigning is keeping alive the hopes of Labour Party diehards.

Major defied the settled political wisdom of the time to squeak home with a narrow majority. A softening of the Liberal Democrat's inflated poll figures would help ensure Labour retains the majority of seats, and if Labour finishes no worse than second, the opportunity to form a coalition government will remain.

By his own admission, he's a bit biased, but worth a read:

Friday, 8 January 2010

EU27 Unemployment Rate Reaches 9.5%

The euro area (EA16) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 10.0% in November 2009, compared with 9.9% in October. It was 8.0% in November 2008. The EU27 unemployment rate was 9.5% in November 2009, compared with 9.4% in October. It was 7.5% in November 2008. For the euro area this is the highest rate since August 1998 and for the EU27 since the start of the series (January 2000).

Eurostat estimates that 22.899 million men and women in the EU27, of whom 15.712 million were in the euro area, were unemployed in November 2009. Compared with October, the number of persons unemployed increased by 185 000 in the EU27 and by 102 000 in the euro area. Compared with November 2008, unemployment went up by 4.978 million in the EU27 and by 3.041 million in the euro area.

Among the Member States, the lowest unemployment rates were recorded in the Netherlands (3.9%) and Austria (5.5%), and the highest rates in Latvia (22.3%) and Spain (19.4%).

Compared with a year ago, all Member States recorded an increase in their unemployment rate. The smallest increases were observed in Germany (7.1% to 7.6%), Luxemburg (5.2% to 6.0%) and Malta (6.2% to 7.0%). The highest increases were registered in Latvia (10.2% to 22.3%), Estonia (6.5% to 15.2% between the third quarters of 2008 and 2009) and Lithuania (6.4% to 14.6% between the third quarters of 2008 and 2009).

Source: Eurostat