The Prime Minister was either a liar when she claimed only a few months ago that there was no need for an election before 2020, or she was so completely out of touch with the political realities of Westminster that she is completely unfit to govern the country. In those months since the referendum, nothing has changed except that the prime minister has woken up to the fact that the groupings of our elected MP’s, especially in her own party, are going to make it very difficult if not impossible to get approval for even the main features of the Brexit deal. How is it that she has only discovered this over the last few days, when the evidence has been staring her in the face for months.
Had she been CEO or Chairman of a public company, yesterdays announcement that the country (i.e. the PM ) suddenly needs an election in June would have been evidence of such utter incompetence that she would have to either resign or be removed. But this being politics, anything goes and she will get away with it but she has now shown herself to be and to have been, completely out of touch with feelings both in Westminster and in the Tory party. And she is so brazen about it, no hint of an apology, no sign of embarrassment as she admits that she got it completely wrong after the referendum, indeed the complete opposite. She wears her incompetence as a badge of pride, a clear sign of strong leadership, which will enable her, she hopes, to have such a large majority that every tiny clause in the Brexit deal will be able to be steamrollered through a tame House of Commons.
BUNZL BNZL provides an excellent illustration as to how meaningless trading figures are becoming and how headline figures can easily be selected to give a misleading impression and make things look better than they really are. Not that Bunzl has done anything wrong or misled in any way. It is just the way things now have to be done.
Thus group revenue in quarter 1 rose by 18%. Great, fantastic, but that is at actual exchange rates i.e. in real money. At constant exchange rates the 18% falls to a lowly 4% and of that, underlying growth comes out at a not very impressive 2%. Acquisitions produced growth of 3% and a further five acquisitions have been announced so far this year.
Aveva Group AVEVA expects that results for the year to the end of March will show a return to growth in both revenue and profits but only because of “positive currency translation effects”. Pity the board and the management could not have claimed a bigger hand in the success.
Bonmarche Holdings BON had a tough time with its stores in the year to the 1st April but trading in quarter 4 improved somewhat and helped the annual figures look a bit less gloomy. In the 14 weeks to 1st April online sales rose by 15.2%, store sales were down by only 0.5% and total sales actually rose by 2.7%. Despite this full year figures were still less than impressive, with store like for like sales down by 4.3%, online up by only 2.2% and total sales still showing a loss of 0.5%. Trading since Christmas has been challenging despite an improvement over the last two months.