Despite the London Mayor revealing plans for a ‘London Living Rent’ scheme, Boris Johnson getting slapped down by the Prime Minister and the Lib Dems having a good sing along at their conference Glee Club the main story of the week was that Hollywood stars Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are set to divorce.
The date for the divorce has not yet been set. It is not even clear what the divorce settlement will look like. It has however been reported that friends of Jolie, who urged her to file the papers in the first place, have since regretted that choice and are creating a petition to have another coffee catch-up with her. On the positive side, despite forecasts from numerous experts, the separation has not yet caused the global financial markets to crash. All that we know so far for definite is that divorce definitely means divorce.
The other notable celebrity divorce (not Mary and Paul – the other one) of this year has also not caused the devastation to our way of life, as was predicted by Project Fear.
The Office for National Statistics says that after all the doom-mongering, not a lot has happened. “The referendum result appears, so far, not to have had a major impact on the UK economy.” The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development also announced that it was upping its forecast for growth for the UK. By contrast, confidence among small businesses is at a four-year low.
In the Treasury, all this is making Philip Hammond nervous. The Chancellor thinks this could yet be the calm before the storm. “We’re not out of the woods yet,” is a familiar phrase. Triggering Article 50 early next year is seen as a high-risk moment, as it confirms that we really are leaving. The moment, two years later, when Britain emerges as free and victorious is seen as an even more perilous.
Currently voters seem content. Polling analysis by Prof John Curtice shows there is no sign of “buyer’s remorse“. Asked again how they would vote, the country is still split down the middle. In fact the only group with regrets are the people who didn’t vote, and now wish they had tried to keep the UK in the EU.
It is worth noting however that nothing has yet happened. While Brad and Angelina have presumably moved house and drawn up plans of who gets what, the UK is still very much in bed with the EU; receiving its grants and following its laws. Consumer confidence presumably remains high because, in part, nothing is different from what it was on the 23rd June.
Lib Dem’s back from Brighton
The Lib Dems were able to head home from their party conference in Brighton with a spring in their step with the news of a council by-election victory over in Wales for the party, taking the seat from Labour. The news came after the Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, used his keynote speech to reveal his admiration for Mr Blair as he encouraged disillusioned Labour voters to switch allegiance and stop the Conservatives ruling for a generation.
“Let me be very clear. As we stand on the edge of those two horrific realities, Brexit and a Tory stranglehold on Britain, the biggest risk is that you do not join us. The only movement with the desire and the potential to stop the calamity of Brexit and the tragedy of a generation of Conservative majority rule is the Liberal Democrats. So, you can despair if you want and accept the inevitability of a Tory government for the next quarter of a century.”