Insights

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NHSX: getting the basix right

General Policy

The UK government has just launched a new joint policy unit for healthcare innovation. Though the new unit’s CEO, Matthew Gould, made his unofficial debut in early April, the strategically named NHSX (X meaning user eXperience), will today begin fully operating. It will integrate control of digital policy currently residing across NHS England, NHS Digital, NHS Improvement…

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A defining green moment for sustainable finance

Energy & Commodities

Something that was easy to miss amidst the headlines of net-zero targets and climate emergency is the release of the EU’s Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance’s taxonomy technical report. The name and the length – more than 400 pages – may be off-putting, but this document holds significant implications for the wider sustainability and climate change agendas,…

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The ECB can't match the Fed

Financial Services

The European Central Bank (ECB) and the Fed are both worried about stubbornly low inflation and a weakening outlook. They are both signalling that they will turn the policy dial back towards a looser monetary stance. But the differences in the political circumstances and the institutional constraints facing each are stark. They suggest the Fed is much better positioned to…

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General Politics

The other leadership race that really matters

General Politics

There is only one cast-iron certainty in British politics. That is that whoever replaces Theresa May in Downing Street this summer will be faced with the same set of problems. Of course, the identity of the prime minister matters. But it is not likely to change the questions facing MPs of all parties come the autumn.

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Price and value: how best to measure a company's performance?

Financial Services

In his 2018 letter to CEOs, Blackrock’s Larry Fink set some serious hares running in his insistence on the related concepts of “purpose” and “profit”. While a company’s purpose is irrelevant if it is not profitable, he argues, the former must always drive the latter: “purpose is not the sole pursuit of profits but the animating force for achieving them”. These sorts of…

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UK-US Trade: Is the NHS 'on the table'?

Trade & Manufacturing

There are few UK political issues like the NHS – beloved, sacrosanct and elaborately celebrated and protected by politicians of almost any stripe. So it is inevitable that political alarm bells ring at the idea that the UK’s national health service would be ‘on the table’ in a possible UK-US trade agreement – an idea that got some airplay during President Trump’s visit to…

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Policy beyond Brexit: important or irrelevant?

General Policy

With a list of candidates longer than your leg, the Conservative leadership contest is now in full swing. Unsurprisingly, many of the candidates’ public statements – and the questions they’re being asked by the media – relate to the looming question of Brexit. You might think in this context that talking about the details of government, like taxation and public spending,…

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General Politics

Can the new prime minister of Britain stop parliament blocking a no-deal Brexit?

General Politics

The UK stepped back from the precipice of a no-deal Brexit in April by requesting and receiving an extension of the Article 50 period up to October 31st this year. This has provided short-term relief from the immediate risk of a no-deal for many businesses on the continent and in the UK. But political turmoil over how to handle Brexit has again engulfed the UK in the last…

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General Politics

Indonesia elections: three observations on Jokowi's victory

General Politics

Although official results of the Indonesian presidential and parliamentary elections have not been released, quick count results suggest that incumbent president, Joko Widodo (Jokowi), has secured a second term. The latest projections show that Jokowi won with around 56% of the votes, while his opponent, Prabowo Subianto, received 44%. As Indonesia awaits official results…

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The EU’s new China strategy: Trumpism à la Bruxelles?

General Policy

Viewed from Brussels, April 2019 marks an inflection point in the EU’s strategic approach to China. By all accounts, EU institutions and member states managed to display unprecedented unity in protracted and difficult negotiations with Beijing ahead of the EU-China summit, confounding expectations to secure a set of important Chinese commitments towards a more reciprocal…

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Is inflation targeting dead?

General Policy

The consensus underpinning monetary policy in advanced economies over the past 30 years is weakening, with challenges from both the left and the right, and from within the central banking community. The implications are potentially far-reaching, including for institutional arrangements and the independence of central banks. Some central banks are more vulnerable to…

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Europe's 5G networks: is Huawei being excluded?

TMT

“No equipment supplier, including Huawei, should, or may, be specifically excluded from 5G roll-out”. These words come from Jochen Homann, the president of the German telecom regulator. This statement was interpreted by many in the media as a concession to Huawei and evidence of Europe’s more measured approach to 5G infrastructure than the US. However, the initiatives…

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General Politics

China in Europe: systemic rival or strategic partner?

General Politics

Last week’s EU-China summit and 17+1 meeting underscored something interesting in how China’s relationships with the EU and individual European states are developing. While a group of influential EU states view Beijing as a “systemic rival promoting alternative models of governance”, several EU and non-EU states increasingly see China as a strategic partner.

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General Politics

Are competition regimes ripe for change?

General Politics

There is a growing body of evidence that suggests corporate market power may be increasing and that this is damaging macroeconomic performance. Moreover, the effects may be strengthening as the market power of some firms becomes more entrenched and capable of exploitation. This, combined with growing political attention in some major economies, means policymakers may come…

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Meat analogues in the EU: A cut above the rest?

Sustainability

First it was tofu, then it was quorn, and now meat derived from a single animal cell and thus the creation of a new term – meat analogue. The meat analogue industry is one of the fastest growing consumer goods segments. It is also one of increasing political volatility and one in which regulation is struggling to keep up in a way that spurs innovation and shifts consumer…

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General Politics

Crimea: lost but not found

General Politics

Last week marked the fifth anniversary of the Russian annexation of Crimea from Ukraine (referred to as “accession” in Russia itself). President Putin descended on to Crimean soil to mark the date by opening new power stations while Moscow staged a three-day street festival to remember the Crimean “homecoming”. However, the public mood both in Crimea and in Moscow is…

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Big Tech, digital competition and the new frontiers of energy policy

Energy & Commodities

Last week, the UK government’s Digital Competition Experts Panel published its report ‘Unlocking digital competition’, addressing the role and economic power of large tech firms. The report, also known as the Furman review after lead author Jason Furman, may not have been obvious reading for the energy sector on a day when the Chancellor announced several climate measures…

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Subprime Earth - who can rate carbon exposures?

Financial Services

I recently listened to a presentation by Al Gore on ‘Sustainable Capitalism and the Climate Crisis’ at Carne and Dechert’s Funds Congress. Gore highlighted the growing risk to financial markets from climate change. Like David Wallace-Wells (in his recent Uninhabitable Earth), he is not afraid of sounding apocalyptic.

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