Shocks & Stares » Alastair Darling http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares H&K\'s Financial & Professional Services Team Blog Tue, 19 Mar 2013 08:00:56 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.2 en hourly 1 FPS’ Friday Fiver http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2011/09/fps-friday-fiver-19/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2011/09/fps-friday-fiver-19/#comments Fri, 09 Sep 2011 17:17:04 +0000 David Chambers http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/?p=274 Happy Friday peeps! Here is our fiver with a definite sporty feel to it this week. Thanks to KB, DC, CC and newby Sallie Bale, who writes about life as a fresh graduate, for this week’s contributions.

A new virtual team member….First of all, a quick welcome to our new virtual team member, DR DOOM, who we anticipate making more appearances on this blog over the coming months. We may yet recruit an alternative superhero breeding confidence into our markets, but for the time being we provide you with a depressing reminder that:

  • German, Italian and French markets were all down this week
  • Gold is reached a record value of $1,900/oz
  • And the all important services sector recorded its weakest growth in a year this August according to the Markit and our client CIPS’ (Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply) services index this week

International Paralympics Day….This week all eyes have been on the Paralympics with a huge event being held in Trafalgar Square to mark the occasion of International Paralympic Day yesterday. The event drew an impressive crowd, unsurprising considering there was a lot on offer: David Cameron and Boris Johnson taking on a (rather competitive looking) friendly doubles tennis match and Paralympic stars such as Oscar Pistorius and Ellie Simmonds were also in attendance.

Boris and Dave faced off over the net this week - it could be a sign of things to come (Image: Daily Mail)

The event took place ahead of Paralympic tickets going on sale this morning at 9am – so now all that remains to be seen is how much demand there will be for the Paralympic events. Organisers have been working hard to raise the profile of the Paralympics and ensure full stadiums during Games time, so fingers crossed all this activity pays off and our athletes – both Olympic and Paralympic – will have plenty of support and cheers from the crowds when competing in 2012.

The hottest ticket in town?….The Rugby World Cup is off to a great start for the hosts, New Zealand, as they commence their bid to lift the William Webb Ellis Cup again for the first time in 24 years. The big question is whether all the stadia will be full in the world’s most rugby obsessed country?

According to press reports, only three of the tournament’s games have sold out so far. Earlier this week organisers claimed that 63% of available tickets had been sold, with some 100,000 tickets being sold in the past three days. Yet fears persist about whether teams will be playing in front of less than capacity crowds in scenes reminiscent of the 2007 Cricket World Cup. Some commentators have claimed that tickets prices are too high which is impeding sales – and New Zealand’s sole source of income from the tournament.

Whilst a spike in sales is anticipated once the tournament begins, it does make you wonder why countries take on these sporting events given the risks involved, be they financial, reputational or security related. Perhaps the joy of the game outweigh the risks and the prospect of being World Cup winners. We shall see.

Uni blues….Having just returned from my graduation ceremony it is sad to see even more headlines shouting about people being put off university by the hike in tuition fees and the cuts in funding for low income families. I do think everyone should have the chance to enjoy three years of study (and fun) that I have had, and especially the chance to don the age old cap and gown for the ceremony.

But I think it is about expectation setting. Most of the people in my class were able to afford a pretty decent standard of living whilst at university. Long gone are the days of baked beans and re-heated microwave meals. Most went out 2/3 times a week, ate out for lunch at least as many times and had an iPod or smartphone and laptop; of course with varying levels of funding from various sources. But all (except one) had a part time job, and none of whom received a lower final grade than they expected.

So please if you are reading this and considering going to university, don’t be put off by higher tuition fees or lower funding. If you want to make it happen you will be able to. And you won’t regret it.

Good Week/Bad Week….Undoubtedly a star of the media week has been Alastair Darling. Hot on the heels of Blair, Brown and Mandelson, Ally D added his memories of time in Downing Street to the ever growing list of 21st century political memoirs. As Chancellor at the time of the financial crisis, it’s certainly sure to make an interesting read. He learnt a trick or two off Mandelson as well, offering the Sunday Times the chance to serialise the book ahead of publication. Or at least that was the plan, until someone leaked a draft to political website Labour Uncut.

Gordon Brown's death ray super stare is likely to intensify after Alastair Darling's revelations this week

Still, the former Chancellor had a fine week enjoying his moment in the spotlight. The same can’t be said for just about everyone mentioned in his book though. His former boss and once close friend, Gordon Brown got it. Mervyn King got it. Bankers got it (although they’re pretty used to it). And as Steve Richards pointed out, Ed Miliband might get it in the future.

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