Blain: The Election, The Pandemic, & Brexit Are All Distractions
Mon, 10/26/2020 – 08:21
“All that glitters is not gold.. ”
What’s the recipe for this week then? All eyes will be focused on the US: What are the polls telling us? How right/wrong are the odds? What are individual states hinting at? Will Trump lose the plebicite in terms of a couple of million votes, but still hold on the presidency via the maths of the electoral college? Who will control the senate? If Trump loses will he go quietly? And then you get to the interesting stuff – what’s likely to happen to the US economy? Taxed into oblivion by a new Biden presidency, take off on new or renewed leadership, or carry on as before down the road to nowhere?
One interesting thing has been the failure to agree a new stimulus package – “moving goal-posts” apparently.. Surprisingly, in the absence of more government largesse, the Economy has not collapsed and markets have not cratered. Is that because the markets think a new package is nailed on post-vote? Worth thinking about perhaps… it could be new year!
Plenty of other stuff to think about… Back on Planet Earth the madness continues…
You can’t buy books or clothes in Welsh Supermarkets – the happiness police say these are non-essential items. I suppose it will stop shoppers lingering in stores thus marginally cutting infection rates. Some government idiot added the bans make it fair on other retail stores that have been forced to close completely. Jeff Bezos will be clapping his hands in extasy as another win is handed to Amazon and high streets are consigned to the dustbin of history.
It’s become increasingly clear the UK is turning anti-Covid. Objections to petty and confusing lockdown rules are multiplying. There is a growing sense of outrage at the petty callousness of the authorities splitting families and the horror of patients dying alone. A compelling series of articles by the Sunday Times Insight Team told us what we all suspected: the protect itself the NHS stopped doing its’ job – around the country thousands of elderly Covid sufferers were “triaged”, given limited treatment and allowed to die even as ICU wards had places. The much-lauded Nightingale hospitals sit unused and un-staffable. GP (local doctors) were apparently instructed to draw up lists of frail, infirm and elderly patients who would not be prioritised – many of them refused.
There will be a political reckoning…
As pandemic infections rise, Spain has declared a state of Emergency that could last through to May 2021. The whole of Europe is plunging towards a deeper second Covid crash. Confidence is in scarce supply.
I read the drugs so favoured by President Trump have been dismissed as ineffective – but it’s not all bad news: new therapies, oxygen and other simple drug treatments to stem the virus are clearly improving outcomes. Deaths are rising on a far flatter curve than had been feared. The news on vaccines is promising. The big risk remains hospitals being swamped as the infection wave peaks – if that can be avoided maybe we still have Christmas? The latest numbers suggest that wave may have peaked – and that could prove a massive positive in coming weeks for markets.
And there is also the positive news the UK and EU are still talking about the access rules following the divorce agreement. It’s all about fish. Both sides are screaming “more for us – less for them”, but the fish have voted and are on our side of the Channel!
BUT! By and large, the US Election, the Pandemic and the Brexit game of chicken are all distractions.
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