The 1998 film “Sliding Doors” uses parallel time-lines to explore the different paths that a woman’s life might take after she does, and doesn’t, find her lover in bed with another woman. The summer of 2018 feels a little like it has been a movie set and to be honest the infidelity in world politics and ensuing trade wars has certainly added to the drama.
Let’s set the scene: The Bright Side: Gareth Southgate was hailed for his leadership and motivation of a young and inexperienced England football team and taking them, along with 26 million of the rest of us, to the semi-final of the world cup. Some parts of the UK have had 54 consecutive dry days with the hottest day of the year hitting 33.3c. Sales of BBQs, paddling pools, ice cream and party foods rocketed with Tesco reporting sales of 50m bottles/cans of beer and 1m bottles of wine. At Iceland stores sales of ice lollies were up by 340% and we indulged ourselves in a £90m spending spree on new TVs (to maximise enjoyment of football and a royal wedding) and outdoor cooking appliances. The weather meant that it’s been a bumper harvest for lentils and lavender. The second being useful as we ward off ants and horseflies that have thrived in the heat. Oh….and waistcoat sales up 35% at M&S. The Gareth Southgate effect certainly brought the waistcoat back in to fashion.
‘Some things in life are bad, they can really make you mad’ – The unlikely stars of this summer’s blockbuster must be Boris Johnson and Donald Trump. Almost daily we hear reports of their latest turn of phrase – all fake news of course. The heatwave was bad news for household retail goods with John Lewis recording a drop in weekly sales of 2.2% year on year. Others suffering include caterpillars, hedgehogs and the humble marrowfat pea as they struggle to thrive in the desert like conditions. Young fir trees with roots near the surface are being killed off because of the sweltering hot weather and lack of rain. Fellow humans lost 471 million hours of sleep due to high night time temperatures the result being bad brain function, which might start to explain how the main story line developed:
It has been said that the expectation of a ‘no deal’ Brexit may have more impact than the event itself. Big companies are increasing their cash balance by holding on to cash so SME’s are suffering. In order to maintain consumption levels, when prices are rising and income isn’t, personal saving is down and debt, up. The poorest 10% are now spending two and a half times their disposable income leaving them unable to react to unplanned events such as less contracted hours and layoffs. The Northern Ireland border issue remains unsolved and UK banking T&Cs will need to be reviewed if they want to continue to operate in the same way in Europe. On 23rd August 2018 the government published 25 technical notices to tell businesses and citizens what they should do to prepare for a no deal situation. If the intent was to show ‘the EU enemy’ that we can manage without them then what has actually resulted is a terrified home nation. The interesting notice for me was the one entitled ‘How medicines, medical devices and clinical trials would be regulated if there’s no Brexit deal’ To summarise the paper all responsibility that previously sat with the European Medical Association (EMA), who incidentally have had to relocate from London to Amsterdam as they have to be in a member state, will transfer to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), our national regulator for human medicines. The current plan is that existing EU rules will be converted to UK law at the point of exit with any necessary changes to ensure the rules work to be made at this time. So little change at least temporarily for existing medicines that are available in the UK. What’s the fuss about, how could millions of patients be effected by a ‘no deal’ Brexit? – let’s take the specific example of insulin. There are 3.5 million people currently diagnosed with diabetes in the UK, including our Prime Minister, Theresa May. According to the MHRA chairman Sir Michael Rawlins ‘We import every drop of it’ The Independent 28Jul2018 . What we don’t yet know is the effect that no deal will have on the transportation of goods and this is why we have requested that the pharmaceutical industry stockpile 6 weeks’ supply in case of disruption at UK boarders. The challenge will come with products that have a short shelf life and where there is a need for them to be transported and stored in a temperature controlled environment. The UK has also been seen as a major player in drug discovery, how submission and licencing will work post Brexit has not yet been discussed. We also currently export 45 million packets of medicine from the UK every month making pharmaceutical manufacturing a significant source of revenue generation.
Further consultation to discuss these challenges is planned by the MHRA early autumn and a more comprehensive notice will follow this consultation.
At the time of writing, it’s still 7 months until 11pm GMT on 29th March 2019. Currently there are 7000 civil servants allocated as Brexit resource and with no option to play extra time in this game an estimated 9000 more will be needed to get to the final whistle.
As we fall into Autumn my advice to you all is to ‘always look on the bright side of life’ and start saving for your Christmas tree! Unless you choose to replace your traditional Christmas turkey for lentil loaf? I hear there’s a stockpile of lentils.