No it wasn’t

The housing market was halted on Thursday night by the Government after financial institutions said they could no longer operate properly.

Ministers are discouraging buyers from going ahead with house sales and purchases unless they have ­already exchanged contracts as part of wider efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus, saying no one should move unless absolutely necessary. ­

The effect of the government saying “we strongly advise you not to do it” might well be to slow the housing market down to a near halt. But it’s still not true that the government has halted it. We didn’t actually elect Ritchie you know.


Retail stalwart Primark has refused to pay its rent bill as it seeks more support from its landlords in a sign of the chaos sweeping the high street.

The firm is scrambling to save cash after being forced to shut all of its stores at a cost of £650m a month in lost sales.

A host of firms are thought to have refused to pay rent on Wednesday, the day when quarterly bills are due for a huge number of retail players. That Primark is among them despite being one of the most resilient names in the industry shows the huge pressure firms are under.

That’s not a sign of the pressure Primark is under. It’s a sign of the pressure Primark can apply, given that it has market power in these extreme times.

So, imagine that you’re one of the leading and most profitable clothes retailers in the country. And everyone around you is going bust. So, they get rent reductions and you don’t. That isn’t going to make you happy. So, you scweam and scweam until you’re sick and you too get rent reductions.

True, the landlords are so screwed. But that makes who unhappy?


An investigation into NMC Health has discovered another $1.6 billion of debt, including $50 million of cheques that may have benefited unnamed third parties.

The latest findings at NMC, the FTSE 100 private hospitals group mired in an accounting and governance scandal, increases its debt to about $6.6 billion from an estimated $5 billion identified earlier this month. That figure was itself an increase of $2.7 billion.

Amazin‘ what can get lost down the back of the sofa.

Well, no Professor Reich, not really

But the airlines are big enough to get their own loans from banks at rock-bottom interest rates. Their planes and landing slots are more than adequate collateral.

Remarkable how little he knows about business, isn’t it?

Given that no one’s flying at present the planes and slots aren’t worth all that much. Not because they won’t have long term value, but because no one has any money to buy them today. This their value as collateral is pretty low.

Note the usual casuistry:

Senate Republican relief package, giving airlines $58bn

Lending, not giving.

the Republican bill is absurdly stingy toward people, stipulating a one-time payment of up to $1,200 for every adult

Giving not lending. And stating it per person rather obscures that it’s $300 billion or so, very much more than the *loans* to the airlines.

The more I hear from Reich the more I despise him.

This is Murphyesque

We can’t allow hedge funds to grow fat on virus crisis
In these troubled times there is one industry laughing all the way to the bank. It has all the tools and expertise to make a killing at the expense of many others, to absolutely no one else’s benefit.

I refer, of course, to hedge funds and their associates. This is equivalent to racketeering during a war. The only appropriate and fair response is to immediately tax shorting profits at 90%.
Ian Templeton, chief executive, Acorn Capital, Buxton

From the Desk of Rishi
Number 11

Dear Ian,

When you can come up with a workable differentiation between a hedge and a short then come back to us. Until then please bugger off.


The Bloke In Charge.

This one’s going to be for aficionados

Embattled currency exchange firm Finablr has uncovered $100m (£81m) of secret finance deals and warned it could go bust, forcing trading in its shares to be suspended.

In an announcement rushed out on Monday morning, the Travelex owner said it is running increasingly short of cash and can no longer provide some payment processing services. Boss Promoth Manghat has quit.

The discovery comes just weeks after NMC Health – another company set up by Finablr’s founder BR Shetty – was plunged into a similar crisis.

Finablr also said its board has been informed of cheques dating from before its flotation last year – believed to total about $100m – written by the company as security for loans which benefit third parties….

I shall look forward to the full report on this with just as much relish as I’ll read the Will Hutton and Work Foundation report if they ever release it.

Working out the split between villainy and idiocy will be so much fun.

Gee, Ya Think?

This is seriously stupid:

More women aged 60-64 in work than not for first time in UK – ONS
Experts describe increase as ‘seismic’ but some warn it may be linked to changes to state pension age

Whadda ya mean “some warn”?

Crippled JC on a pogo stick that’s a stupid subhead.

Character will out

Chaotic scenes were also reported across shops in Merseyside as toilet roll, eggs, bread and milk disappeared off the shelves.

None of which was paid for – there being a certain cultural innateness to certain practices.

I could imagine this is true but they’re not helping themselves

Multiple studies show the company’s dumping practices have resulted in widespread contamination of natural watercourses that contain unsafe levels of heavy metals such as chloride, barium, hexavalent chromium, cadmium and lead.

Given that chloride ain’t an element, ain’t a metal and ain’t heavy (nor even my brother) they’re not managing to make it clear that they know what they’re talking about.

I’m also not sure why oil drilling, however carelessly done, should lead to such pollution anyway. They’re not particularly known as components of crude are they?

A technical question for the beancounters


Flybe, Europe’s largest regional airline, has collapsed into administration less than two months after the government announced a rescue deal.

OK, shrug.


However, the airline’s owners Connect Airways – a consortium of Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Air and hedge fund Cyrus Capital – have pulled the plug, a little over a year after buying it.

Ah, but. So, rather famously they transferred the Heathrow landing slots – worth, apparently, £65 million – out and into Virgin. Or summat like that. Those landing slots being one of the very few things in there that had any value. They also paid only £2 million for the equity.

Sure, they apparently put more capital in but that was aided by having charges over absolutely everything else that was of any value at all.

So, there is something along the lines of fraudulent transfer. No, of course, not, I am not alleging that here. But if the administrator or receiver or whatever things that assets were transferred out, unrighteously, of the soon to be bust organisation there can be a certain “Ahem” and can we have it back please. For the creditors, you unnerstan.

So, how far back can that go? And is it, by chance, 12 months and no more?

Rather fun

Stock exchange announcement:

Outside the challenges caused by tenant CVAs and administrations, intu delivered a robust operational performance in 2019

Apart from the way all our tenants keep going bust and not paying us we’re doing just great!

Seems a fair enough claim to me

The leftwing ideology poses a bigger threat to the economy than the rampant coronavirus, Larry Kudlow, the economic adviser to Donald Trump, told the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

“The virus is not going to sink the American economy,” he said at the National Harbor near Washington. “What is, or could, sink the American economy is the socialism coming from our friends on the other side of the aisle. That’s the biggest fear that I have today.”

Current best guesses are that coronavirus will shave a couple of percentage points off US GP – maybe – and what, 10 to 15%, short term, off share prices?

At least one reasonably sensible estimation of Bernie’s policy choices says 25% off US GDP (no, not a counter factual, rather 25% off today’s) and a 50% fall in the stock market.

One, t’is bigger than t’other.

There’s a possible answer here

Her situation has highlighted the stresses faced by many farmers, often working alone in extremely isolated locations. For years mental health in the farming sector has been an important topic – but now it is in the spotlight.

Stop farming the isolated areas. The high moors and all that. Do the Monbiot thing and rewild. After all, those areas only survive on subsidy. That is, they produce, on net, no value. So why bother anyway?

Oh ho

Britain’s sickest corporate patient has taken another turn for the worse. In a series of quick-fire announcements after the markets closed, NMC Health sacked its boss, suspended a member of its treasury team and granted “extended leave” to its finance chief after uncovering a series of financial discrepancies.

The FTSE 100 Middle East hospital operator entered the sick bay in December after its value halved in one day following a short-selling attack by Wall Street raider Muddy Waters.

Short sellers would appear to have some value then. Flushing out – to the profit of the short sellers – the admission that there’s dodginess going on.

Even if you’re not prepared to admit that a 2 months heads up on it is useful, no?

Err, yes?

Frank Field, the former Labour MP for Birkenhead, where many of his former constituents work for Shop Direct, said that the Commons business committee should consider looking at how such huge private business empires are run. He said that while public companies could be called to account by shareholders and by City investors, many large private companies were controlled by wealthy individuals.

Bugger the farmers

Tough mammary gland mateys:

Farmers fear they will face a flood of cheap imports undercutting high-standard British produce, and the potential for the EU to ban UK-produced food if standards were relaxed.

We ought, should, be regulating for the benefit of consumers. If no consumers want this cheap shit then they’ll not buy it if available. Therefore it’s not a problem. If consumers do buy it that means they want it. Therefore, given that they want it, it should be available.

That you want to ban it is proof that you think consumers want it. And so, well, why should you be allowed to ban what people want?


Ullmann, 55, announced in 2017 that all executive pay would be capped at £400,000 — 20 times that of the lowest-paid worker — and that the group would cap dividends to its family owners at £3m a year.

Ullmann, a father of four, said in 2018 that “capitalism isn’t working any more”. “I had an epiphany and realised business can’t all be about profit. It has to be about creating an environment where people thrive,” he said.

Hey, cool or what?

One of Britain’s biggest recruitment agencies is racing to raise new investment after the family-owned business came close to collapse because of a clash with its lenders.

Cordant Group, which finds jobs for 125,000 people a year at more than 5,000 clients, including Amazon and Tesco, is rushing to secure a deal with new investors — a move that would end the majority-ownership of the Ullmann family.

Go woke, go broke.

Or, as we might put it, that’ll be what then.

Current Odds for the 2020 Presidential Election – Things to Know

Right now, the world is a very serious place that is seemingly dominated by politics. Now, you could argue that that has been the case for hundreds of years, but just recently, the political landscape has shifted. Brexit is close to being done and dusted. We had our own general election not too long ago, and now it’s the turn of our friends across the Atlantic. 2020 is the year of the presidential election, which is why today, we’re looking at the current odds for the 2020 presidential election, as well as a few other relevant facts that you might wish to know. If you’re thinking of betting on the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, here’s what you need to know.

Hold on, you can bet on politics?!

Yes, in fact you can bet on virtually anything these days from reality TV, to the weather. Betting on politics, particularly general elections, is nothing new. In fact, we’ve been doing it for quite some time on betting sites like If you know your politics and know what to look out for, you can actually win yourself some serious money. In the US, every 4 years the United States of America hold a general election to determine who will be the president for the next 4 years.

Things to know about the 2020 presidential election

AS mentioned, every 4 years in the US, an election is held where citizens of the US can cast their votes to determine whom they would like to preside over them for the next several years. 2020 is no different, yet this year, the stakes couldn’t be higher. Here are some things you need to know.

The Trump Administration – Since 2017, the Trump Administration has been in power, which is why many consider this election to be one of the most exciting, and important, elections in recent history.

More candidates – Another thing to consider about this presidential election is the fact that there are more candidates running for the Democrats than there have been in a number of decades. To make matters more historic, 2020 is the year where a record number of women will be running.

Who are the favourites? – Despite there being a record number of candidates with their names in the hat, realistically, there are only a few names who are in the running. Obviously the POTUS himself, Donald. J Trump is up there, but who are his closest rivals. Well, currently, Bernie Sanders is the 2nd favourite, after The Donald, though Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg, and Pete Buttigieg are all snapping at his heels. Don’t count out the women, as although Hilary Clinton is now at 50/1 odds, you have to remember she came very close to being named president instead of Donald. Elizabeth Warren is also a contender as she was recently at 20/1.

What are the odds for the 2020 presidential election?

By the time you read this, the odds will likely have changed, but as of right now, betting odds look like this:

Donald Trump – 4/6

Bernie Sanders – 5/1

Michael Bloomberg – 8/1

Joe Biden – 15/1

Pete Buttigieg – 18/1 – 19/1

Elizabeth Warren – 59/1

Someone better at maths than me should have a look at this

FTSE 100 firms including Tui, British Airways owner IAG and the London Stock Exchange Group have been accused of dragging their feet on diversity targets ahead of a looming 2021 deadline.

Only 53 of Britain’s largest listed firms on the London Stock Exchange have at least one director from an ethnic minority, according to figures compiled for the second annual update on the Parker review. That is a small increase from the 49 companies that had met the target since the review was launched in 2017.

So, perhaps someone would like to do the numbers here.

The average large company board is 10 people or so.

The not white portion of the population is about 14%. Lower for the working population, lower again for that in the median age for directors, around 60.

From this we should be able to work out a statistical distribution. Mebbe?

How many diverse directors would we expect there to be given this? What’s the over and under if it is just a pure statistical distribution? So, if allocation were purely random from the population, we’d expect x% of firms to have more than 1 diverse, y% to have none etc.

Lordy, it’s a long time since A Level stats class.

In the end the question is, well, how much is this demand insisting upon greater than stats based representation?