Happy days here again?

Posted on: 03 August 2010 by Editor at Large

The recovery seems to be starting. Yesterday the pound rallied and rose to $1.59. Better than a few weeks ago when it was languishing at $1.46. What has happened to cause such a dramatic shift?

Firstly, the US recovery is going so badly that currency investors are moving to the pound from the dollar. Secondly, you had those outstanding results from HSBC yesterday (its profits doubled in the first half of the year to £7bn). Thirdly we had the news that manufacturing output in the UK is rising steadily. Finally, the budget cuts have created an upsurge in confidence in the money and stock markets.

All this is positive and so long as America stays in the doldrums, the pound will prosper. Good news if you’re going abroad on holiday. It’s bad news, though, if you are in the business of exporting goods.

HSBC’s results were amazing and point to another boom year for the only bank apart from Barclays that didn’t have to be bailed out by the government when the crisis hit. It’s proof that a well-run business will always prosper.

Now that the banks are getting back on their feet, the government is calling on them to lend more money to business. If I ran a bank, I’d tell them to get stuffed! Business is still very vulnerable and any recovery is tenuous. I think the banks are wise to go easy on lending. Look what a mess it got us into before.

Overall, though, things look just a little better. However, the economy has yet to feel the shock of the public service cuts and redundancies. It will be a couple of years before we feel the full impact.

In the meantime stay lean and stay mean. Careful with your spending, you may still need the cash.

Does it look like justice to you?

Two stories in the paper today. In the first, a man was sent to prison for eight years for stealing a valuable Shakespeare folio (a rare 1623 published collection of William Shakespeare's plays) from Durham University 10 years ago. In another story, a 22 year old drug addict was given only five years for attacking a young couple for no reason. The husband died and the young wife was traumatized.

Is this justice? Like hell it is.

What world do we live in when we put greater value on a book than on a human life? I think both of the judges should be fired and kicked off the judicial bench. They are a disgrace to the legal profession and society as a whole.

Manchester booze blues

Manchester City Council intends to pass a bylaw preventing retailers selling alcohol at less than 50p a unit. This will mean a large bottle of cider will cost £5.50 (now £2.50) and a 75cl bottle of whiskey will sell for at least £15. This is a price hike of 50 per cent.

The reason for this Draconian action is the terrible problems they have in Manchester with young drinkers. It seems wrong, however, that everyone has to pay for the behaviour of a few.

Why not simply increase the PAYE tax code of anyone found guilty of being drunk and disorderly? Hit them in the pay packet and only punish the offenders.

I hope this policy doesn’t catch on. I don’t want my ‘little tipple’ to rise by 50 per cent because of some local drunken louts in London.

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