Reflections following some enforced inactivity
As many readers will be aware, I have had ten days of enforced inactivity after a motor accident. It has given me time to reflect on matters near and far.
Nearer to home, I am humbled by the many messages of good wishes and more from so many people. Mankind is a social species, and friends, community, and family are – in Trump-speak – the most important. Thank you all.
The emergency services took two hours to cut me out of my Subaru car, built to old-fashioned strength specifications. I was only conscious for part but I don’t believe I would be alive in a less strong car. They were quite extraordinary throughout and I hope I have the opportunity of thanking them. If I ever drive again, it will be in a Subaru car.
The NHS is an organisation under immense stress. Everybody, whether staff or contract worker, did their best as individuals to care for me, but I hardly saw the same doctor or nurse two days in a row, and the lack of information co-ordination and management led to potentially dangerous situations. I was alert enough to avert them but others might not be. There is an urgent need for a grown-up conversation about taxation, budgets, and prioritisation, as the current path is unsustainable. Meanwhile, if you find yourself in my position, try to avoid Friday evenings.
Meanwhile, while I have been in bed, the country has swung in a different direction. The new Prime Minister is clearly channelling his inner Churchill, but he is doing it from a narrow powerbase instead of a national Government. Parliamentary arithmetic may once again prove his undoing. That said, a ‘no deal’, whether intentional or not, is now clearly a possibility, and it must be right to plan for it.
Markets? At a global level, I remain sanguine, simply because both fiscal and monetary policy is generally supportive. Yes, institutions can flee to cash, and I shan’t be surprised if short to medium bond yields fall further, but the yield gap between equities/property/infrastructure and bonds is a powerful disincentive to selling risk assets. Unless there is a major geo-political shock, I see markets broadly going sideways.