Row, row row your boat

David Little, Partner in Bishop & Sewell’s Corporate and Commercial Team

In last weekend’s Sunday Times Agenda column, Oliver Shah looked at why many seem intent on tipping a bucket of ordure over Andrew Bailey and his Monetary Policy Committee colleagues, how they got into this position, and what it means. As one of those who wrote as recently as March, here, that they had one job to do I feel somewhat vindicated, writes David Little, a Partner in solicitors Bishop & Sewell’s Corporate and Commercial department.

“A source close to the Bank,” (i.e. probably Andrew Bailey) says it is trying to “move towards turning the tanker of monetary policy around and getting it heading in the right direction.”

The public perception that it is ploughing straight into the rowing boat of the UK economy by raising rates in the teeth of a recession is unhelpful, even if the direction was ultimately unavoidable. It is difficult to know what either they, or the Chancellor, can do to dampen down potentially 10% inflation without taking the wind out of the sails of the economy.

That’s probably more than enough sailing metaphors.

An even more climatic development this month was Sinn Féin’s success at the ballot box last week in Northern Ireland. It’s hard to describe for a generation whose news agenda was never troubled with daily bulletins as mine was about The Troubles what a seismic societal shift appears to be going on across the Irish Sea.

Following Sinn Féin’s election victory, Liz Truss has told the EU that the Northern Ireland protocol must be ‘fixed’, or else the peace process will be in jeopardy. Under the terms of the Good Friday agreement, power must be shared with the largest Unionist party, however the DUP has said it will not make a deal unless the protocol is overhauled.

Maros Sefcovic, vice-president of the European Commission, is understood to have said to Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, that the EU would never have a mandate to renegotiate the protocol or to go beyond existing proposals.

Inevitably, calls for a united Ireland will only exacerbate the issues around Brexit and border controls. In fairness, the Government only has itself to blame. But I’m sure it will competently resolve this situation of its own making…

What price a balti?

Will he stay or will he go now? The price of staying on as Labour leader apparently now rests on Keir Starmer being found not guilty of breaking Covid rules for having a beer and a curry when he was at work.

It’s great sport, but it’s all terribly badly timed.

Michael Gove has said that Conservative losses in last week’s local elections can be attributed to voters punishing the party for falling rates of home-ownership, and the increase in renting, with the number of people aged 25 to 34 owning their own homes having almost halved since the 1980s. “There are people who are perfectly capable of servicing a mortgage who are paying more in rent than they would for their mortgage. That is wrong,” he said.

Gove also remarked that he doesn’t believe the prime minister should step down over the unlawful lockdown-breaking Downing Street parties.

The UK barely stumbled out of the Covid crisis before Putin went mad and threw BoJo a political lifeline to distract us from his own, many shortcomings.

We need our elected officials to crack on and focus.

Focus on getting inflation down. Focus on reducing the price of energy.

Focus on helping the commercial world generate the earnings needed to get the economy working again.

David Little is a Partner in Bishop and Sewell’s Corporate & Commercial team. Should you require any further advice or assistance, please contact him quoting reference CB313 on +44 (0)20 7079 4143 or email: [email protected]

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