Sunday, 25 May 2008

Sunday's news

There are a few interesting bits of bobs in the papers today. Over on the front page of the Torygraph there is news that despite the credit crunch, the City is still living high on hog. According to this report bonuses are going to hit almost £13bn this year.

Still on pay, The Observer reports that HSBC is facing a shareholder revolt over pay, with the ABI amber-topping the company. That's not actually a big deal (they can red-top them if they really don't like what is going on). But as the Observer says, this is in the wake of Shell's near miss (just under 50% didn't back the rem report) and signs that, for the first time in a few years, fund managers are getting a little bit more stroppy about pay.

Two other bits from The Observer are worth pointing out, for the wrong reasons. Check out this news story from page 3. Are you any wiser about anything after reading it? I can only assume it has been heavily edited, because all it says is "some things that should be working aren't working". I have no idea what the hedging strategies are, why they aren't working, or what the direct consequences are. It rather fails as a news story therefore!

Meanwhile in the main paper check out the line below, in this piece by Catherine Bennett.

Events in Crewe and Nantwich illustrate the difficulties of politicians intent on doing anything, such as carbon-taxing to avert catastrophe since a) no one really believes it's coming, b) they'll be dead anyway, c) the recession has left them much too fearful and poor to care, and d) they won't vote for anyone who tries to make them.

It's point c) I'm bothered about. Errr... we aren't in a recession. Not yet anyway. It may well happen to the UK, as Mr Soros predicted last week, but we aren't there yet, and surely we shouldn't chuck these terms around lightly. Just because you can't fill the car up for the same price as before, or your gas bill has gone up does not equal a recession. That requires negative growth. I guess the fact that people think we are in a recession because bill are going up shows you how much we have taken for granted in recent years. It's also more evidence that we are talking ourselves into a very negative view of how things are.

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