The economics of a hung parliament

I know that it will come as a huge shock to everyone but you can’t believe all that you hear and read about the impact of a hung parliament. Whilst Gordon Brown drags himself and his insincere smile (how can we be sure that is what it is?) around UK and “slip up” by slagging off punters voters AT LEAST HE DID NOT AUTHORISE THAT APPALLING AND CRINGE-WORTHY PARTY POLITICAL BROADCAST THAT THE TORIES INFLICTED UPON US LAST WEEK!

The Tory shadow chancellor, George Osborne, unveiled the cynical film that portrays a “hung parliament party”, offering nothing but behind-closed-doors deals and “killing the economy”. The Tories are also reiterating their highly contestable claim that a hung parliament will result in economic meltdown — a claim that many independent financial experts dispute.

George travels to workDo I trust George Osborne more than I do A Darling Esq? Simple truth…NO!!! There are lepers who are more comfortable in their own skin. He speaks with very little confidence, less conviction and zero authority. I felt sick FOR him as he spoke at his own Party conference and wished that his mother or carer had just reached out and held his hand as descended the steps from the auditorium. How could I (we/anybody) trust someone who walks with all the co-ordination of a Thunderbirds puppet and looks understandably concerned that his leader or any others in the orderly queue behind him may cut the strings at any moment.

Moody’s – one of those ratings agencies who were once thought to be about to plunge Gordon Brown into the abyss my slashing Britain’s credit rating – said this:

“We do not think that a hung parliament will have a direct impact on the UK credit rating. If you had a fiscal plan agreed by a coalition, that could actually be quite positive, because it would imply broad popular support.”

What the markets fear is a “chaotic hung parliament” – as one market participant put it to me – with “the DUP, Plaid, SNP – and maybe one each of Respect, BNP or the Greens holding the balance of power”.

BBC – Newsnight: Paul Mason: The economics of a hung parliament

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No Material Impact on Insurance Industry from Icelandic Volcanic Eruption

Extracted from "Moody’s Weekly Credit Outlook", dated April 26, 2010.

A cloud of ash and steam rises from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano behind a family farm in IcelandOn 15 April, the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland erupted, sent a cloud of ash to Europe, and caused a significant disruption for those individuals and businesses reliant on air travel. However, the extent to which the insurance industry will cover losses incurred from this disruption is expected to be limited because business-interruption claims will not be generally covered.

From an aviation perspective, business-interruption insurance claims are only valid for airlines and airports if there has been physical damage to their property. This has not been the case since the rapid closure of so many airports prevented any aircraft losses that might have occurred.
This physical damage prerequisite in fact extends to other commercial lines’ insurance. Munich Re, for example, has publicly stated that business-interruption claims arising from the non-delivery of air-freight shipments are also expected to be extremely limited for the insurance industry as covers are generally triggered only if an interruption results from material damage. It added that other claims, for instance in agriculture or property damage caused by corrosion or dust deposits, are not expected either, as the concentration of ash in the cloud is too low.

An area from which claims will certainly emanate is travel insurance. Again, the impact on the industry should be relatively muted for three reasons.

1) Travel insurance is typically a small business line for medium- and large-sized insurers and therefore for the industry as a whole.


2) It is not clear that all travel policies for individuals will be triggered. As the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has clarified, a volcanic eruption is not a specific insured event that is covered in policies, although depending on how comprehensive the cover is and the terms and conditions, delay and abandonment may be covered by the insurer.

3) If travel policies do respond, the limits are usually fixed and relatively small. In turn, any ex gratia payments made by insurers for reputational reasons are likely to be small.

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Detecting the “big C” – saving lives

pink ribbon

Advancements in medical science are saving lives and we should all be grateful. If you have been “touched” by cancer, particularly bowel cancer, you will already know that early detection is vital because the growths can often be removed, painlessly, before they have the chance to develop into cancer. IF YOU DON’T TEST FOR IT YOU DO NOT KNOW IT IS THERE.

Detecting the “big C” – saving business

In no way am I attempting to trivialise this “breakthrough” but I cannot help but to draw a comparison to illustrate the point in relation to business. A fast-growing cancer is affecting business across the globe…COMPLEXITY. It is not something that is currently tested for…because, until recently, there was no test. Complexity exists within every dynamic system (business) and can grow rapidly attacking the structure and robustness of the business until its impact manifests itself in, for example, the financial data. Every system has a current and critical complexity threshold BUT you do not know where you stand or what your tolerance is until to test for it.

As someone whose partner has recently undergone surgery and chemotherapy for breast cancer (and another family member with lymphoma) the threat of this awful disease has been, very much, on my mind. We consider ourselves very lucky that the disease was spotted so early and have spent a lot of time alerting others to the dangers of assuming that, because all appears well on the surface, that it is necessarily so. Read more of this post

Insurers to get more than their fingers burnt!

I have previously referred to “high level” concerns expressed regarding the lack of accurately underwritten risks on the books of UK commercial insurers. This was something highlighted in research from Mactavish Consulting, in January 2010.  The future ain’t bright until WE see the light!

Somewhat alarmingly there has been very little open discussion on the subject and word has not reached my, well-trained, ears of any insurers indulging in a thorough cleansing or even a review. Perhaps this IS happening but is just low key!!! Read more of this post

Who do you trust?

I have been banging on about this for a long time but I make no apologies! Please think about it. How many times are YOU actually “sold to”?

Now I‘m not suggesting that, just because you are reading this blog (for which I thank you) that this makes you smarter than the average bear. But most people I know, irrespective of age, location or income, tend not to be sold to but to BUY. Making informed purchasing decisions. Reading reviews, taking recommendations. Increasingly this is the procedure for business and personal purchases EVEN involving amounts that, in more stable economic times, MAY not have merited a little bit of investigation.    


That’s the way it is and, with access to more information that you could shake a sizeable stick at, freely available 24/7 and from just about anywhere in the world why should anyone believe it will ever go back to the way it was!? I would love to hear a convincing argument.

There are still plenty of outbound sales operations around the Globe and I really don’t see that changing much but I can envisage a shift of emphasis. Away from selling and toward serving. Delivering on the promises made by strong brands who have earned the trust of their customers, are engaged with them. Who are committed to retain their custom and to secure the custom of their peer network.

Brands who understand how the (near) future looks want to build their tribe and are prepared to invest in winning the hearts and minds of their “followers”. But it ain’t ever quite so simple…is it?

Because “window dressing” to appeal to customers is just another sales technique so to execute the change requires total commitment. BUY-IN FROM INSIDE TO OUT.

How many understand that is a tough one. How many are “fit” enough is another. It really depends upon the quality of the leadership because without that it is extremely unlikely that you will have the quality of employee, product or service to compete with the “smart” businesses who are unburdened by an outdated business model &/or an appetite for profit at the expense of delivering sustainable stakeholder value.

Properly structured social media enables a business to attract, retain and grow its market.



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