The Garrulous Jay

The Garrulous Jay – Means-tested State Pension

This week’s back-and-forth in Prime Minister’s Questions made me think it’s time to consider giving up the universal State Pension for a means-tested replacement. The current system has the kind of unquestioned ‘sacred cow’ status which makes most politicians put it...
The Garrulous Jay – All Time High

The Garrulous Jay – All Time High

Yesterday the FTSE 100 index of the UK’s largest stocks closed at an all-time high of 8,078.86. This continues a remarkable four year run since the Covid trough of the 23rd March 2020, which has...

The Garrulous Jay – Fink For A Minute

The Garrulous Jay – Fink For A Minute

When Larry Fink, Chairman of the world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock, leads his annual letter to shareholders with the heading "Time to rethink retirement", it’s probably worth reading… Given...

The Garrulous Jay – What Failure Looks Like

The Garrulous Jay – What Failure Looks Like

If you want to know what failure looks like you need search no further than Thames Water. There are many ways to define failure. One would be a situation in which there are only losers. The eventual...

The Garrulous Jay – Billionaires

The Garrulous Jay – Billionaires

On Tuesday this week Forbes released its 38th Annual World’s Billionaires List. It provides a fascinating insight into the planet’s mega-rich whilst also giving pause for thought. The media made...

The Garrulous Jay – Lenny, Kenny & Leo

The Garrulous Jay – Lenny, Kenny & Leo

The last week has seen three high profile individuals from very different walks of life announce their ‘retirements’. All had the opportunity to carry on in their roles but took the difficult...

The Garrulous Jay – Graphic Effluent

The Garrulous Jay – Graphic Effluent

Thames Water is the UK’s largest water utility. As their website proudly boasts, they “take care of water for 16 million people”. That’s around 24% of the UK population. This concerns me, but not...

The Garrulous Jay – Brit Awards

The Garrulous Jay – Brit Awards

Last Saturday singer-songwriter RAYE took the Brit Awards by storm, winning a record six gongs over the course of the evening, including Album of the Year. Not wanting to be upstaged, three days...

The Garrulous Jay – Impunity

The Garrulous Jay – Impunity

Last night I was privileged to attend a lecture by Tom Little KC, a barrister who has prosecuted some of the highest profile criminal cases of recent times, including those of Sarah Everard and Jo...

The Garrulous Jay – Body Shock

The Garrulous Jay – Body Shock

When I was a youngster I remember walking down East Street in Chichester, passing the doors of The Body Shop, and being rather alarmed at the idea of people purchasing ‘bodies’. More recently the...

The Garrulous Jay – Great Expectations

The Garrulous Jay – Great Expectations

It’s not every day that pensions make the BBC 10 O’clock News, so you can imagine my excitement when Dharshini David popped up on Wednesday evening with a piece about the cost of retirement. She was...

The Garrulous Jay – Securonomics

The Garrulous Jay – Securonomics

Remember where you heard it first… My first encounter with the word “securonomics” was this week in the foreword of Financing Growth – Labour’s Plan For Financial Services. But what did I learn from...

The Garrulous Jay – The Opposite Of A Good Idea

The Garrulous Jay – The Opposite Of A Good Idea

Despite some of my wilder adolescent dreams I will never be a music producer: I lack both the ear for a tune and the technical know-how. But if I was, and I was asked to produce a record that was...

The Garrulous Jay – Horizontally Challenged

The Garrulous Jay – Horizontally Challenged

Every now and then throughout our working lives we screw up, or become aware of somebody else’s screw-up. We get that prickly feeling on the back of our necks and start to wonder if anyone is...

The Garrulous Jay – A Pot Is For Life…

The Garrulous Jay – A Pot Is For Life…

“A dog is for life not just for Christmas”. So runs the phrase coined in 1978 by Clarissa Baldwin, the then CEO of the National Canine Defence League (source: Zigzag.dog). At the time pet rescue...

The Garrulous Jay – Munger Games

The Garrulous Jay – Munger Games

On the 28th November the world of finance lost one of its investment Titans. The passing of Charlie Munger, at the age of 99, brought to an end the double act, with his business partner Warren...

The Garrulous Jay – Tumble Bee

The Garrulous Jay – Tumble Bee

It could have been a fairytale. Perhaps not a story of girl-meets-boy, they fall in love, settle down and live happily ever after, like the dreams they try to create for their clients. But for...

The Garrulous Jay – Fiscal Drag Queen

The Garrulous Jay – Fiscal Drag Queen

This week it fell to Jeremy Hunt as Chancellor to give the Autumn Statement one year on from Kwasi Kwarteng’s economic suicide note. Two words you won’t find in the Statement are ‘fiscal’ and...

The Garrulous Jay – The Good Shop

The Garrulous Jay – The Good Shop

Some of my earliest shopping memories are of trips to Marks & Spencer in Chichester with my mother. I can remember the car park, the shopping trolley ramp, the smell entering the store and the...

The Garrulous Jay – Boxing Clever

The Garrulous Jay – Boxing Clever

Sometimes, on a wet Wednesday evening in winter I fancy a warming glass of red wine. This presents me with a First World problem: do I open a bottle and end up finishing it, or do I find myself...

The Garrulous Jay – Costa Living Crisis

The Garrulous Jay – Costa Living Crisis

I read a fascinating article last weekend, recounting the success of the Costa Express coffee machine. These 12,000 big burgundy boxes now deliver a profit that is eight times greater than the 2,500...

The Garrulous Jay – EV Or Not EV?

The Garrulous Jay – EV Or Not EV?

Over the last few years the outlook for electric vehicles has improved in leaps and bounds, supported by government interventions and rising consumer demand. Surely the only way is up for this...

The Garrulous Jay – Curve Ball

The Garrulous Jay – Curve Ball

Over the last week I’ve had a couple of press articles drawn to my attention about the inversion of the US yield curve, and been asked whether investors should be worried about this as a harbinger...

The Garrulous Jay – End Of The Line

The Garrulous Jay – End Of The Line

This week saw the end of the on-going speculation about the HS2 rail project as Rishi Sunak called time on the Birmingham to Manchester section of the line. Are there any lessons to be learnt by...

The Garrulous Jay – Bloody Fraud

The Garrulous Jay – Bloody Fraud

I have just finished reading John Carreyrou’s gripping book, Bad Blood, which documents the rise and fall of blood-testing company Theranos. It has much in common with its predecessor, The Smartest...

The Garrulous Jay – Cash Trapped

The Garrulous Jay – Cash Trapped

Question – when is/was the more attractive time to leave funds on deposit: (a) today when the bank might give you 5%, or (b) eight years a go when you probably would have received about 0%? Answer –...

The Garrulous Jay – Lock Stop…

The Garrulous Jay – Lock Stop…

Are the days to the State Pension ‘Triple Lock’ coming to an end? And if so, why might this be the case? As a reminder, the so-called Triple Lock is the mechanism by which the State Pension...

The Garrulous Jay – Chief Excessive Officers?

The Garrulous Jay – Chief Excessive Officers?

Whichever way you cut it the headlines from the High Pay Centre’s most recent report on the pay of Chief Executive Officers don’t read well… FTSE 100 CEOs get half a million pound pay rise… FTSE 100...

The Garrulous Jay – Degradation

The Garrulous Jay – Degradation

Are A levels, and exams more widely, fit for purpose in the 21st century? Thursday last week saw the publication of this year’s A level results. As had been widely expected, grades were down...

The Garrulous Jay – Logic Versus Magic

The Garrulous Jay – Logic Versus Magic

In his excellent book Alchemy the columnist and erstwhile advertising executive, Rory Sutherland, draws a distinction between ‘logic’ and ‘magic’. He argues that too many Board Rooms are driven by a...

The Garrulous Jay – How Much Is Enough?

The Garrulous Jay – How Much Is Enough?

To say that James Watt, the co-founder and CEO of Brewdog, is “a bit Marmite” would be an understatement. Some view him as a rabid self-publicist hellbent of virtue-signalling his way out of the...

The Garrulous Jay – Bazball

The Garrulous Jay – Bazball

I’m no cricket aficionado but I’ve been intrigued by this year’s Ashes series, and the constant references I’ve heard throughout to something called “Bazball”. The contest concluded on Monday and...

The Garrulous Jay – The £75 Billion Win-Win-Win

The Garrulous Jay – The £75 Billion Win-Win-Win

On the 10th July most of the UK’s media was facing west in the direction of Windsor, where Prince Charles was chowing down with President Biden. Had they turned their gaze eastwards to the City they...

The Garrulous Jay – Label Babel

The Garrulous Jay – Label Babel

The story of the Tower of Babel in the Bible is intended in part to explain why people across the world speak different languages. It may also be interpreted as a punishment for mankind’s hubris in...

The Garrulous Jay – Plus Ça Change…

The Garrulous Jay – Plus Ça Change…

This week I finished reading a book that deals with many of the key issues facing us in the UK today. It provides food for thought and carries potentially important lessons for us all. Among the...

The Garrulous Jay – Victims Of Success

The Garrulous Jay – Victims Of Success

On Wednesday the NHS celebrated its 75th birthday. It is one of the country’s most cherished institutions, providing “healthcare services that are free for all at the point of delivery”. But this...

The Garrulous Jay – Identity Farce

The Garrulous Jay – Identity Farce

About three weeks ago I was contacted by one of the so-called High Street banks. They informed me they needed proof of my identity for a business account to which I’m a signatory. What followed was...

The Garrulous Jay – No Pain No Gain

The Garrulous Jay – No Pain No Gain

When I was about 10 years old I played Margaret Thatcher in a school play. In the improbable scene in question, I’m found at the back of my house emptying my bin next to The Queen. “What’s that?”...

The Garrulous Jay – The Death Of IHT?

The Garrulous Jay – The Death Of IHT?

The Daily Telegraph has launched a campaign in support of the abolition of Inheritance Tax (IHT). I could be proven wrong but I think flocks of pigs will be circling Westminster before this happens....

The Garrulous Jay – Accidental Opportunities

The Garrulous Jay – Accidental Opportunities

This week I was introduced to the work of American psychologist, John D Krumboltdz, and his Planned Happenstance Learning Theory. At last, I felt, I had found some form of academic justification for...

The Garrulous Jay – Brand And Deliver

The Garrulous Jay – Brand And Deliver

The concept of branding is nothing new, but when we talk about it today the etymology of the word is often overlooked. Might this have lessons for businesses in general and service companies in...

The Garrulous Jay – Off Sick

The Garrulous Jay – Off Sick

The number of people off work due to long-term sickness in the UK has reached a record high. In its latest Labour Market Overview, published this week, the ONS reported the figure for January to...

The Garrulous Jay – Potter Training

The Garrulous Jay – Potter Training

On paper Graham Potter looked like the perfect candidate to take over the job of Chelsea manager after the dismissal of Thomas Tuchel last September. In the event he presided over one of the worst...

The Garrulous Jay – The Dialogue Deficit

The Garrulous Jay – The Dialogue Deficit

I attended a Later Life Planning Conference this week. At it I was reminded of the appalling deficiencies in the later life social care systems across the UK. But there is a potentially greater sin...

The Garrulous Jay – Mars In Their Eyes

The Garrulous Jay – Mars In Their Eyes

“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome back to Mars In Their Eyes, the reality TV show in which nation states, oligarchs and billionaires battle it out to see who can be the first to send a manned mission...