Shocks & Stares » London Riots H&K\'s Financial & Professional Services Team Blog Tue, 19 Mar 2013 08:00:56 +0000 en hourly 1 FPS’ Friday Fiver Fri, 19 Aug 2011 15:39:30 +0000 David Chambers Hello All! August really isn’t showing any sign of slowing down is it? At the start of the week there was a collective pause for breath, but since Wednesday it’s been a case of deja vu with the world’s markets continuing to do their best impression of the Pepsi Max Big One. The focus of the Friday Fiver this week is understandably on these events, but we also find time for a bit of sporting action too. Thanks to Ed, Ross, Jonathan and new writer Helen this week.

Wither Angela, Woe Nicolas…..Tuesday’s summit between Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy was their latest attempt to tackle the Eurozone’s woes. However, no matter what they do to try and convince markets otherwise, politicians both sides of the Atlantic are still failing to win over investors’ confidence.

It's not all hugs and smiles in the Eurozone anymore - another tough week for Merkel & Sarkozy

Does democracy have any culpability for this? Well yes, it does. Merkel is finding it increasingly difficult to win domestic support for the continued underwriting of Eurozone debt – Germany’s latest growth figures won’t help her cause here either. She knows that the electorate are less likely to vote for a Chancellor who uses German money to bail out other nations, than one who does not. Despite this, the Eurozone’s survival largely depends on German financial commitment.

The recent debacle in the US over their debt ceiling and subsequent ratings downgrade was another prime example of politics trumping the good of the nation. Make no mistake, this episode was driven primarily by party political point scoring with the Presidential election around the corner – the Republican’s are already calling it the ‘Obama downgrade’.

With politicians at the helm the economic situation seems to be worsening. However, what they seem to ignore is that voters often reward politicians who show strong leadership and make bold decisions that solve difficult problems. The current status quo – a lack of leadership and an unwillingness to meet the problem head on – means that no-one wins, including politicians seeking re-election and investors craving market stability.

Big retailers in small communities…..According to the BRC, over the past week in particular we’ve seen how closely retailers are connected to their neighbourhoods. Really? This seems a curious statement given it was precisely those in the neighbourhood who smashed in their windows. For Ed, the lasting image of the riots were people walking out of JD Sports with a new pair of trainers. This is a nationwide retail outfit with a turnover of £770m. That’s a different proposition to an independent butchers or clothes store, which we’d associate much more with community.

Independent retailers face a tough task rebuilding from the riots

As neatly summarised in the Independent on Sunday: “Supermarkets are cheap and efficient. They stabilise quality and increase choice. They have transformed shopping, but this comes at a cost…The counterpoint to this has been the drastic decline of neighbourhood shops. We have reached a tipping point where the increased expansion of supermarkets will do more harm than good.”

Most agree that our high street retailers need as much help and support as they can get, especially after the riots. They are fundamental to the economy – which is why David Cameron has asked Mary Portas to lead a review into how to revive the high street. But let’s not kid ourselves about the role the big boys play in the local community. Rather, celebrate and revive the independent stores that do.

There’s more than one Olympic Games next Summer…..Awe-inspiring to spend time this week with Paralympics legends past, present and future just ahead of one year to go to the London 2012 Paralympic Games. We were lucky enough to pop into the Paralympic simulation training camp at Bath University with an eager group of national media all clamouring for a word with 11-times Paralympic gold medal winner Tanni Grey-Thompson and other assembled Paralympic royalty, including the inimitable 9 times gold medal-decorated Lee Pearson.

Humbled doesn’t really cover it when you hear stories of bright young talent including Will Bayley, current world number two table tennis player who trains for six hours a day, every day and gave a up a promising acting career after time at the Brit School for his sport; or the Paralympic swimmer Kate Grey who told her story of meeting another athlete with one arm who taught her a great lesson in life: how to put your earrings in one-handed. Helen for one will be among the first in line to bid for tickets come the start of the process on September 9th.

Good Week/Bad Week…..A bad week for US/China relations as chaos erupted in a supposedly friendly basketball match between Georgetown University and the Bayi Rockets. The contest, which was organised to coincide with Vice President Biden’s visit to China saw players brawling on scratchy camcorder replays of the scene.

It would be an inappropriate stretch to link the on-pitch animosity to the tension between the two nations. However, it’s the latest in a string of public spats between the two superpowers. Friction between the two countries is predominantly a result of economic realities – Jonathan insists you click HERE for a better explanation by dancing pandas. Let’s hope they keep the squabbles on the sports field.

No, the Chinese player's foot didn't slip in this picture, he really is going straight for the American's 'in-goal' area (Image:

Our good week award goes to tech entrepreneurs and their shareholders. In a deal likely to have significant repercussions for the mobile industry, cash rich Google snapped up Motorola for $12.5bn in the company’s quest for patents and an edge in mobile. It’s been a busy week and today we have seen one of Britain’s most successful start-ups, Autonomy, acquired by HP in a takeover worth £6.7bn.

And finally, the field of dreams…..or rather, the plastic, indoor sweaty sports hall of dreams. Last night the Financial & Professional Services team took on our arch H&K rivals, the Sports team in a winner takes all 5-a-side match at London Bridge’s T47. The result was convincing – a 13-6 win for us moneyheads. Sitting just round the corner from them today has been an unrivalled joy it has to be said.

On a more serious note, T47 is due to close soon which is a great shame. Finding a good football pitch for hire in central London is already difficult. It just got even harder.

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