inequality‘The ice age is coming, the sun’s zooming in 
Meltdown expected, the wheat is growing thin’ 


Joe Strummer penned these lyrics in 1979, 44-yrs on and this is what we are experiencing. Do we care? In a word, NO. 

As the table below shows, almost twice as many people are more concerned with immigration. Perhaps we should be more concerned with having a planet to live rather than who we share it with! 

Priorities have been a theme in recent weeks; government policy is based on their priorities, although they can be derailed by situations, E.G., Covid or the cost-of-living crisis. 

The electorate has priorities too, these are the issues that matter to them, and should form the basis of who, and what we to vote for. 

‘Perhaps we should be more concerned with having a planet to live rather than who we share it with!’

Priorities sometimes require tough decisions. As an example, this week I had a decision to make, what to prioritise; should I buy the mid-90s Armani suit, or, what turned out to be an early-80s Armani raincoat. Decisions, decisions….I bought both! 

On a less frivolous note, a poll last month conducted by Ipsos, demonstrated the electorates current priorities: 

                                                                                                Percentage change 
Inflation/prices                                          39%                                                     +1 
NHS/Hospitals/Healthcare                        33%                                                     +6 
Economy                                                   30%                                                      -1 
Immigration/immigrants                           21%                                                     
Lack of faith in politicians/government     16%                                                   +2 
Housing                                                     15%                                                    +3 
Pollution/environment/climate change     12%                                                     -2 
Poverty/inequality                                      9%                                                       -4 
EU/Brexit                                                    8%                                                       -1



What can we take from this? 

Obviously, the top-3 speak for themselves, and are a reflection of government failures. Whilst the governments flagship race hate immigration policy reflect the priority of  minority of those surveyed. Interestingly, the level of support is consistent suggesting that it’s the same racists people that support the policy. 

I am surprised by the lack of importance given to ‘Pollution/environment/climate change’, which confirms my suspicion that whilst we tut-tut when it comes on the news, we really don’t give a shit!   

In summary, this highlights that the government is out-of-touch with the majority of the electorate. 

To paraphrase Lee Anderson, perhaps the government should fuck off back where it came from! 

‘To paraphrase Lee Anderson, perhaps the government should fuck off back where it came from!’

Ah yes, the ever eloquent Lee Anderson, the deputy chair of the Conservative party, who’s demeanour and every utterance reminds me of a bellicose England football hooligan belting out the national anthem.  

It is desperately sad to see someone holding such a position say this: 

If they don’t like barges then they should fuck off back to France. These people come across the Channel in small boats … if they don’t like the conditions they are housed in here then they should go back to France, or better, not come at all in the first place.’ 

I note he’s a member of the 2019 ‘red wall’ intake, somehow that tells me all I need to know! 

Obviously the party and No.10 were horrified. Not one iota. 

Alex Chalk, who, to my dismay, is the justice secretary and Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, defended Anderson’s right to have said; ‘Lee Anderson expresses the righteous indignation of the British people. Yes, he does it in salty terms, that’s his style, but his indignation is well placed.’ 

Alex, he’s just  a thug, it’s sad to see your party sink so low in its desperation to cling onto power. 

‘every utterance reminds me of a bellicose England football hooligan belting out the national anthem’

There is an interesting moot point here; was Anderson using language that could see him arrested were those words directed, or expressed to an individual on the street within earshot of the police.? Technically, yes, in practise no, the police are racists too. 

What I find especially distasteful of the Tories attitude to migrants is that the PM and Home Secretary are both from migrant families. Perhaps they should be careful what they wish for, or a hard-line fascist might send them packing! 

Continuing with immigration, the government has declared ‘war’ on lawyers falsifying immigration claims. The justice secretary has said he would be comfortable with severe punishment for immigration lawyers who engage in malpractice after the government said they could face life in jail under the terms of the Illegal Migration Act. 

This has led to allegations of ‘lawyer-bashing’ and seeking to distract from their own failures to clear the backlog of asylum claims by pushing a crackdown on lawyers who act improperly. 

David McNeill, the Law Society’s director of public affairs, accepted that such practice could go on in the industry but said: ‘This taskforce which they tout with such aggressive language has been in existence for months now so really from our perspective it just looks like a bit of lawyer-bashing as a distraction from really bad news for the government on the number of asylum seekers now accommodated in hotels – 50,000.’ 

Moving on, in my last article, ‘British Exceptionalism is our Weakness‘, I highlighted how Spain had had greater success in dealing with inflation and the cost-of-living crisis, and how a typical ‘little Englander’, Mussolini, my mother, saw both them and Italy as ‘poor countries‘. 

The Italian government, seemingly as enlightened as their Spanish counterparts, is hitting the country’s banks with a new 40% windfall tax, to help families through the cost of living squeeze. The proceeds are earmarked to help mortgage holders and cut taxes. 

Deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini, someone I have never previously agreed with told a news conference: ‘One only has to look at the banks’ first-half 2023 profits, also the result of the European Central Bank’s rate hikes, to realise that we are not talking about a few millions, but we are talking one can assume of billions.’ 

The one-off levy will tax 40% of banks’ net interest margin, a measure of income banks derive from the gap between lending and deposit rates. 

Much to my disappointment one-day after the levy was announced it was watered down; The government said on Tuesday night that lenders would pay no more than 0.1% of their assets – a fifth of the level the levy was previously predicted to reach. 

‘What goes down will go back up, always has, always will’

Analysts at Jefferies estimated that the cap would limit collective payouts from some of Italy’s largest listed banks – which account for about 50% of Italian deposits – to about €2.5bn (£2.2bn), compared with earlier estimates of up to €4.9bn. 

The reason for the change was the sell-off in Italian banking stocks as a result of the new levy 

I am tired of governments caving into equity markets, dominated by short-termism from fund managers and rentiers not making as much as the wish. What goes down will go back up, always has, always will.  

Campaigners in the UK have also been pushing for a windfall tax too. But, to be effective, and  windfall tax must avoid the loopholes the energy levy contained, which BP and Shell have exploited in recent months. The oil giants have been allowed to avoid paying the tax in full by chucking loads of money into fossil fuel exploration. 

The former Bank of England deputy governor Sir Charlie Bean has supported the plan, suggesting that it could raise tens of billions of pounds. If the government increased the existing surcharge on bank profits from 3% to 35%, in line with the energy profits levy, this would raise £67bn over the next five years. 

‘The oil giants have been allowed to avoid paying the tax in full by chucking loads of money into fossil fuel exploration’

Of course, this is far too socialist for a Tory government, more the sort of the forward looking policy I expect from US Democrats. In ‘British Exceptionalism is our Weakness’ I talked about how ‘Bidenomics’ was restructuring the US economy, and my hopes that a forward-looking Labour government might do the same. 

It would seem that for once I might get what I wished for. 

Whilst many of us were disappointed when Rachel Reeves announced a Labour government would phase in its £28bn green growth plan rather than spending the full amount straight away, the decision now appears to have been based on advice from senior members of President Biden’s administration not to rush the rollout of the scheme. 

The advice was based on problems the Biden administration has had in implementing green subsidies, thanks to complex US planning laws. They advised her she should consider planning reform before announcing how new green incentives would be spent. 

This advice, and meetings with the Treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, and Biden’s economic adviser Lael Brainard, shows a growing closeness between Labour and the Democrats. 

The conversations particularly focus on the economy and trade, with the shadow trade secretary, Nick Thomas-Symonds, telling the Guardian that Labour would be ideally placed to sign a raft of trade agreements with the Biden administration should both win their pushes for power next year. 

What is clear is that should the Democrats retain power, and Labour win a majority in the general election, both will pursue a more interventionist economic policy that could redefine progressive politics and policy for a generation. 

Mathew Lawrence, the director of the leftwing UK thinktank Common Wealth, said: ‘The policy dialogue is stronger than it has been for a while. Bidenomics is setting itself up as a break from the third way economics of Clinton and Blair, with more direct intervention into markets, and a sharper focus on distribution. Labour is learning from that.’ 

Reeves, who had previously worked in Washington as an economist in the British embassy, showed in a recent speech the ties between Labour’s proposed economic policy and Bidenomics: ‘Globalisation as we once knew it is dead,’ she declared as she called for the government to invest heavily in certain industries and help protect workers with greater employment rights. 

We need to stop moaning about the Inflation Reduction Act … Sore loser syndrome won’t win any jobs for Britain.’

Labour’s £28bn green prosperity plan shows great similarities to Biden’s own Inflation Reduction Act, on which Ed Miliband, Shadow Secretary of State of Climate Change and Net Zero, said; ‘We need to stop moaning about the Inflation Reduction Act … Sore loser syndrome won’t win any jobs for Britain.’ 

Thinktanks on both sides of the Atlantic are also cooperating closely. The Institute for Public Policy Research, possibly the most influential thinktank with Keir Starmer’s Labour party, has held regular forums with American counterparts such as Todd Tucker, the director of industrial policy and trade at the Roosevelt Institute. 

There are a lot of opportunities for the UK to join the US in shaping the world, including in things like international trade negotiations,’ Tucker said. 

Labour strategists say they are also looking to other countries for inspiration, including Australia and Germany, where centre-left parties recently won elections after a long period out of power. But the history of UK-US ties, and the recent memory of Blair and Clinton together developing ‘third way’ politics, have persuaded many on the British and American left they can jointly remake their countries once again. 

I remember seeing a high-profile conference with Clinton and Blair and thinking these guys seem intent on shredding the social safety net,’ said Tucker. ‘Politicians on both sides of the Atlantic are only now catching up with the ramifications of that, and looking to do something about it.’ 

Now, all Starmer has to do is win! 

‘The fascist regime 
They made you a moron 
A potential H bomb’ 

Another hard hitting piece from Philip, and a return to another familiar thread – the environment. 

Timing is everything; whilst the ink was drying on his piece, we learned that Theresa Villiers – yes, the former environment secretary – had failed to disclose a shareholding in Shell, valued at more than £70,000.

The optics of someone in such a position owning shares in fossil fuel can be debated, but her defence was that she had not realised their value had topped the £70k threshold that would mean she would need to declare them.

More astute investors may have predicted a price hike when Messrs Sunak and Shapps/Green/Fox/Stockheath started skipping around dispensing oil and gas extraction licences like confetti.

OK, she may be no Jordan Belfort, but Investopedia defines ‘insider trading’ as ‘buying or selling a publicly traded company’s stock by someone with non-public, material information about that company’.

Presumably her defence would be that Sunak’s indifference to tackling the climate crisis is firmly in the public domain.

With both the Tories and Labour unmoved by ‘green crap’ there is apparently a large and widening gap over the environment between politicians and those they purport to serve.

So what was he thinking?

This piece continues the theme of “priorities”, which are really what we all, including governments, base decisions on. Basically, “what’s important to me”.

As I have written numerous times what’s important to the Tories is winning. Everything action, every statement is with that in mind.

In many ways it’s sad to see how the party is evolving. Johnson obviously was a new low, whereas Cameron was simply a disaster. Sunak, he’s competent, but a nasty piece of work.

Lee Anderson is a departure from the norm, even Norman Tebbit had a bit more class, a bit more discretion. To my mind Anderson looks and sounds like a nightclub bouncer.

I deliberately included my own priorities dilemma, as clearly it would rile someone like Anderson, who, I have no doubt, would regard me as the worst kind of southern softie. Naturally, I would regard it as a great compliment!

I wrote two-weeks ago about looking in the mirror, and seeing what is looking back at you. Our overall attitude to climate change reflects what we are; shortsighted and self-centred.

Beyond that, Brits suffer from delusions of grandeur. We need to look at both Spain and Italy, whatever blinkered Brits might think, there are lessons to be learned.

As to America, yes, they have deep seated issues, but when it comes to business and the economy they are simply better. More innovative, more go ahead.

Lyrically, we open with “London Calling” by the Clash. Had we taken global warming seriously back then things would now be very different. Today, it just feels like too little, too late

We play out with “God Save the Queen” by the Pistols, in memory of Jamie Reid who created their wonderful, iconoclastic artwork, who sadly died this week. Also, it’s just the sort of song that Lee Anderson would hate! Enjoy!


Philip Gilbert 2Philip Gilbert is a city-based corporate financier, and former investment banker.

Philip is a great believer in meritocracy, and in the belief that if you want something enough you can make it happen. These beliefs were formed in his formative years, of the late 1970s and 80s

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