Monday, 9 June 2008

Monday Commentary - June 9th 2008

Evening :)

Another dreadful opinion poll for Labour tonight from Populus. The details are here. Over on, Mike Smithson, who is becoming more of a Tory as time passes, now seems to regard a Tory landslide (defined as a majority of over 100) as a real possibility. Labour polled just 28% in 1983 - I find it hard to envisage them doing worse than that but successive polls offer that apocalyptic prospect.

Conservative leader David Cameron has spent the time talking about "the family". I'm a tad cynical to be honest. The Conservatives had a generation under Margaret Thatcher and John Major to change much of what Cameron now cites to be wrong. As is often the case with a Cameron speech, the diagnosis is valid but the treatment unclear. There are many many platitudes and comments about more "flexible working" and "improved transport" that border on the utopian.

That said, I'm well aware how difficult "family" can be at times. I think a lot of the problem comes from consumption, expectation and aspiration. Family life has changed - we are (or were) cash rich and time poor and material improvement has all too often got precedence over the less-tangible aspects of parenthood. I still think in order to achieve the improvement he is advocating, Cameron will have to slaughter some sacred Tory cows surrounding material advancement, the value of work and the accumulation of personal wealth. I doubt he's up to it.

On the economic front, the FTSE 100 slipped back slightly as the Dow stabilised after Friday's slump. However, the Nasdaq index has continued to fall. Of more concern was the report on producer prices which showed an astonishing 8.9% rise in prices. This shows where future inflation is coming from and suggests pressure on wage settlements will be strong in the coming winter.

Oil eased slightly but is still around $136 a barrel. Whether this is a pause or the start of a slow downward curve remains to be seen.

To end, a joke:

"My wife's left me and gone to Thailand"
"Krabi ?"
"Yes, but I've cheered up now she's gone"

Nite, nite.

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