It has been 50 years to the day since Enoch Powell delivered his famous ‘rivers of blood’ speech criticising mass immigration.
The intervention was polemic at the time and still is half a century later, with the BBC coming under fire this week for its decision
to air the speech in full. Powell’s authoritarian conservativism was a precursor to 21st century nationalists such as UKIP.
But I digress - warmer climes call for lighter news. The King of Swaziland has renamed
the country ‘the Kingdom of eSwatini’. “Whenever we go abroad, people refer to us as Switzerland”, he said.
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Made to measure
The UK has set out
its demands for a bespoke relationship with the EU post-Brexit.
The British side says there should be a substantive and detailed agreement with “breadth and depth” that sets out the future trade and economic partnership.
The two sides must agree on a deal by October so that the text can be ratified by exit day in March 2019.
Downing Street Brexit advisor Olly Robbins and EU Deputy Negotiator Sabine Weyand met this week in what marked the first meeting between the sides to discuss trade and the future relationship.
The UK is reportedly prepared to negotiate on a labour mobility and immigration regime. Other areas includes a customs partnership and level playing field provisions to ensure regulatory alignment in areas such as agriculture.
Robbins’ suggestions mean the agreement would be a preamble setting out the principles of the new relationship, a chapter on an economic partnership, security and defence, governance and rules of engagement for trade talks.
Outlets have suggested
there are different attitudes amongst the EU27 as to how detailed the agreement should be.
Germany would like a detailed and legally precise text in order to avoid surprises later on, whereas Scandinavian and Benelux countries would prefer to keep the document vague so that the UK has room to change its mind.
Speaking of Brexit, come check out the IoD's Brexit event
next Wednesday on data flows and the regulatory regimes that might emerge in this area in future.
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has suggested
interest rates may not rise next month.
He said an interest rate rise is “likely” this year, but any increases will be gradual. "Prepare for a few interest rate rises over the next few years […] I don't want to get too focused on the precise timing, it is more about the general path.”
Carney explained that major decisions on Brexit would have an impact on how soon the interest rate rise occurs. The details of the implementation period, the shape of the final deal and the parliamentary vote on the Withdrawal Bill would all be important factors.
Another consideration is the performance of the economy, including the impact on wages, business confidence and inflation.
Last month the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee voted 7-2 to hold interest rates, but suggested a rise could happen in May.
Many economists and investors in the markets believe that the MPC will vote for a 0.25% rate rise at its May meeting.
Heirs and graces
Commonwealth leaders are set to have a closed-door discussion on who should succeed
the Queen as Head of the Commonwealth.
It follows after the Queen said it was her “sincere wish” that Prince Charles should take over the role “one day”. Theresa May and Justin Trudeau have also showed their support for the Queen’s son.
Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, the Commonwealth’s outgoing chair-in-office, said "We are certain that, when he will be called upon to do so, he will provide solid and passionate leadership for our Commonwealth."
The role is not hereditary and as such there have been some suggestions that the position should be rotated around member states.
It is thought leaders will approve the role when they meet at Windsor Castle today, but there has been no confirmation about whether there will be an announcement after the meeting.
Other topics up for discussion at the Commonwealth summit in London are marine conservation, cyber security and international trade.
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