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.