Events in the Middle East since November 2017 have taken some dramatic steps even for this politically volatile region.
Wars in Syria and Iraq grind on against now a much reduced ISIS threat however the Syrian Defence Force/Kurdish (YPG led and US supported) coalition are now vying for land and political control in regained territories. Libya’s civil strife continues with little notice given by the rest of the world until something dramatic happens.
In light of Britain’s Brexit struggles with the EU negotiators in Brussels embattled Prime Minister Theresa May faces continued dissonance within her party and subsequent dearth ineffective policies for her new minority government. The Conservatives remain as split over the EU and its Brexit outcome as they have ever been since the Maastricht treaty in 1992. Read more
Barcelona was battered, bruised and reeling from a weekend of civil unrest after an emotionally charged independence referendum for Catalonia, unsanctioned by the Madrid-based Spanish government, ensued into what appears as extremely heavy-handed treatment by riot police towards voters at polling stations. Read more
While Brexit negotiations trundle along economic warnings are building up. Former Labour Chancellor during the financial crisis of 10 years ago Lord Darling and former deputy BoE governor Charlie Bean have both recently shared concerns over debt remaining high since the 2008 crisis and an economic slowdown in the UK economy continuing into 2018. The latest construction purchasing managers’ index survey recorded a fall in activity from June-July 2017 and a reduction in new business since August 2016. Read more
The spring time terrorist attacks in both London and Manchester along with the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy in London’s Borough of Kensington and Chelsea have left a painful and fearful legacy in the UK at present. While the new diminished government barely copes. Read more
Just 35 days before the UK General Election the Conservative had their best local government election’s result in years. They recorded 558 gains with labour losing 328 and UKIP being almost annihilated to 1 seat from 114. UKIP claimed to be a victim of their own success after last year’s Brexit Referendum. This was cited as one of the main reasons for holding a General Election to provide a stronger mandate to negotiate for the EU exit deal. Surely the domestic economy’s tax and spending plans should be a higher priority manifesto consideration as Brexit is now only for the negotiators as it’s over as a concern for voters (Irish Mirror, 2017). Read more
I’m looking forward to seeing the back of 2016.
However it’s not particularly as an investor that I’ll be glad to see the start of 2017 but as a voter. I have voted 5 times since 2014 in elections for EU, UK and Scottish parliaments, 1 Scottish referendum and in June 2016 the Brexit referendum. It has been the latter that has seemed to matter the most and it has caused all the political upset although markets have been benign about the result so far except with currency markets against Sterling. Unfortunately that does matter as prices are rising and inflation will creep back in to the UK RPI figures as 2017 progresses.
Before the UK’s referendum on leaving the EU in June 2016 plenty of world politicians advised the British to remain most prominently was the current US President Barack Obama warning the UK would be, “at the back of the queue,” in any future trade negotiations with the US if it choose to leave.
Harvest thanksgiving services in many rural parish churches were for centuries well attended events in the church calendar which celebrated the harvest had been successfully gathered in for another year and the prospect of famine and poverty avoided.
The cliches maybe old and tired but they usually contain an element of truth this time on what happens now in UK politics – it’s anyone’s game, all is possible, the cat is out of the bag and who knows what tomorrow brings or the worst possible outcome of all would be cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war as Europe has often witnessed, and recently too with Bosnia in 1990’s and Ukraine now although on the EU periphery it’s geographically part of Europe.