Shoppers in Britain shrugged off June’s shock Brexit vote as retail sales jumped by much more than expected last month, adding to signs there has been little immediate hit for consumers. Warm weather boosted clothes sales and the pound’s plunge tempted overseas buyers to splash out on luxury items such as watches and jewellery, official data showed on Thursday. These are the first official figures to shed light on how consumer demand has performed since the unexpected decision by voters to leave the European Union in the June 23 referendum. Data released earlier this week also showed little immediate impact of the Brexit vote on the labour market but there were signs of inflation pressures building after the plunge in sterling, which could eat into the spending power of households going forward.
Britain’s economy will not go anywhere near a recession despite gloomy predictions after the Brexit vote, credit rating agency Moody’s has said. The agency said the impact of Britain leaving the European Union (EU) will be less severe than expected, while the global economy as a whole is stabilising. They predict the UK economy will grow by 1.5 per cent this year and 1.2 per cent next year, still representing a slowdown, but nowhere near the disastrous recession the ‘Remain’ campaign predicted. The weakening of the pound in the wake of the vote has helped support economic growth, Moody’s added, while the government will likely increase spending to boost GDP.
The British Olympic Association has told a leading Brexit campaign group to stop using Team GB images in its social media posts. Leave.EU received a letter from BOA lawyers telling it to stop using logos and images of athletes immediately. The campaign group said it would “continue to publish stories that showcase how Britain is thriving as we Leave the European Union”. Its Twitter feed still features a video congratulating Team GB’s medal winners. Leave.EU, founded by millionaire UKIP donor Arron Banks, played a prominent role in the 23 June referendum despite not being the official Leave campaign.
Oil surges to highest level since Brexit vote Brent crude has surged to its highest level since before the Brexit vote, a day after it charged into bull market territory. It jumped 0.65pc in early trade to $51.22 amid an unexpected fall in US crude stock piles and as the world’s biggest oil producers prepared to discuss a possible output freeze at next month’s Opec meeting in an attempt to curb the global supply glut. Since hitting a nadir of $41.80 on August 2, oil has rallied 22.39pc. The latest leg up in the black stuff is pinned on the hopes that Opec’s meeting in Algeria on September 26 to 28, which takes place on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum, will revive talks on freezing production levels to help bolster prices. It was also lifted by the weak dollar which makes commodities cheaper for other currency holders.
Ethnic minorities face “entrenched and far-reaching” inequality and, combined with a rise in hate crime since Britain voted to leave the European Union, the government must come up with a long-term strategy, an independent report said on Thursday. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), a public body, found that the life chances of young people from ethnic minorities in Britain had deteriorated over the past five years after looking at areas such as education and health. David Isaac, who became EHRC chairman in May, called on the government to develop new targets to reduce race inequality in the criminal justice system, education and employment. “The combination of the post-Brexit rise in hate crime and deep race inequality in Britain is very worrying and must be tackled urgently,” he said in the report.
Black people are more than twice as likely to be murdered in Britain, according to a new report which claims deep-rooted race inequality needs urgent action. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has published its biggest ever review into how ethnic minorities fare in education, employment, housing, health and criminal justice. Its findings suggest the Brexit vote has triggered an increase in racist abuse suffered by British BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) people, now accounting for 82% of all hate crime.
A woman from Belfast has been handed a six-month suspended jail sentence for “joking” about harming Muslims on a Facebook page. Victim Dr. Raied Al-Wazzan, who has previously praised Islamic State terrorists, claimed the comments put his life in danger. Defendant Anne Bothwell denied the messages were harmful and insisted they were written in humour. Ms. Bothwell was found guilty of six counts of improper use of a public electronic communications network, with Belfast Live reporting that she is preparing to appeal the ruling. Dr. Al-Wazzan was also the chief witness behind the attempted prosecution of Christian Pastor James McConnell for making “offensive and disgusting” comments whereby he called Islam a “satanic cult” in a sermon broadcast online.
EUROPE’s three powerbrokers will meet at the ‘birthplace of the European superstate’ as they begin their bid to prevent the EU’s collapse in the wake of Brexit. German chancellor Angela Merkel, French president Francois Hollande and Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi are set to hold talks on the tiny island of Ventotene, off the coast of Naples, on Monday. The trio will discuss how to respond to Britain’s historic vote to quit the EU, which has rocked the rest of the bloc. Their meeting comes less than a month before a larger summit of the remaining 27 EU leaders in Bratislava, Slovakia, to discuss reform and a recalibration of the EU in the face of rising euroscepticism across the continent. The Bratislava summit will be an ‘informal’ EU meeting as Theresa May is not invited, despite Britain remaining an EU member for at least two further years until it has completed Article 50 exit negotiations.
Having spent $6 million influencing the 2014 European Parliament elections, leaked documents show the Open Society Foundations (OSF) hoped the campaign would centre on condemnation of “xenophobic discourse”. Seeking to influence the elections, the OSF planned to “mitigate the feared populist surge” and “limit the damage” they believe is caused by “xenophobic” and anti-EU campaigns. The papers show that billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros’ NGO funded numerous projects to “monitor”, “shame” and “ridicule” what the group calls “hate speech” across the Europe. While attempting to stamp down on identity politics for Europeans, the organisation also sought to “amplify” ethnic minority votes in the elections. The document notes that the EU elections represent a number of “open society issues”. Naming these as “minority empowerment” and migration, the OSF says the democratic process where Europeans elect 751 MEPs “seemed too great an opportunity for us not to get involved”.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday refugees had not brought terrorism to Germany, adding that Islam belonged in the country as long as it was practised in a way that respected the constitution. More than a million people fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere arrived in Germany last year. The mood towards them has soured after a spate of attacks on civilians last month, including three carried out by migrants. Two of those attacks were claimed by the Islamic State militant group. “The phenomenon of Islamist terrorism, of IS, is not a phenomenon that came to us with the refugees,” Merkel said at an election campaign event for her Christian Democrats in the eastern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern ahead of a regional vote on Sept. 4.
GIBRALTAR must remain British for the sake of America’s own national security, a defence expert has claimed. Luke Coffey, a former special adviser at the Ministry of Defence, has told Washington it must do it all it can to defend ‘The Rock’ from renewed Spanish attempts to gain control of the UK territory. In the wake of the Brexit vote on June 23, the Madrid government has signalled it will exploit Britain’s talks on quitting the EU to push its long-running sovereignty claim to the peninsula. Within hours of the EU referendum result, Spain’s acting foreign minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo claimed Brexit “opens up new possibilities” for his country to take control of Gibraltar. He added: “The Spanish flag on the Rock is much closer than before”. Madrid has since vowed to “make clear that Gibraltar does not belong to the UK” during Brexit negotiations.
Greece plans to reduce overcrowding at migrant camps on its islands, a government official said on Wednesday, to ease growing tensions and improve conditions that campaigners have called “disgraceful”. More than 10,700 migrants are now sheltered on five Greek islands which have capacity for 7,450, according to government data. Charity Save the Children said they were living in “dirty, unsafe conditions … with no end in sight.” Greece now plans to build several new facilities with a capacity of about 1,000 people each, to transfer migrants from the islands and other strained or temporary sites. A government official said the slow processing of requests for asylum – without which migrants face being returned to Turkey – was adding to building frustration at the camps. “We are facing a lot of problems on the islands. People feel trapped and disillusion is growing. They came very close to materialising their dream of reaching Europe but it didn’t happen,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Jeremy Corbyn has insisted he can reach out beyond his core supporters as his leadership rival said Labour was not on a “trajectory to win power”. At a hustings event, he said his policies would win over “some people that have been tempted to vote Tory”. He also would not commit the UK to providing military help to a Nato ally, should it be invaded by Russia. Challenger Owen Smith said he did not believe Labour would win power under Mr Corbyn’s “ineffective” leadership. At the hustings in Birmingham, Mr Smith said: “I feel right now we are not about to win in Kingswood and Milton Keynes and Cardiff North and all of the 116 seats we have got to win from the Tories.
The Labour Party Conference could be cancelled over a industrial dispute between a union and the security firm Labour has hired for the event in Liverpool next month. With less than a month to go GMB, the third largest union affiliated to the Labour Party, has demanded the party find an alternative to security firm Showsec, which continues to refuse to recognise GMB. GMB said it was “intolerable” for the Labour Party to work with a service provider which continually refused to recognise trade unions. Showsec had been hired after the Labour Party cancelled its contract with G4S over its links to Israeli prisons.
A coalition of hard-left groups is acting to ensure that Jeremy Corbyn is re-elected and strengthened at the helm of the Labour Party in the first stage of a plan to “pull society to the left”. At least five organisations are bolstering Mr Corbyn’s campaign so that he can pursue left-wing goals against the wishes of Labour moderates. The Socialist Party has called for a convention of the left, which it demands should be “open to all pro- Corbyn left forces” to discuss reconstructing the labour movement. It has previously urged a new federal arrangement for Labour.
A new poll today revealed a potentially damaging split over grammar schools, between Labour and the working class voters it needs to win power. The exclusive survey for The Independent found a majority of manual labourers and unskilled workers believe grammar schools help children from less well-off backgrounds achieve greater success. Almost half the group surveyed by BMG Research also said they thought the selective schools, which Tory Prime Minister Theresa May has pledged to increase in number, improve social mobility. The figures present a challenge for Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner who recently said the grammar schools policy “belongs in the dustbin of history”. She has highlighted research by the Institute of Fiscal Studies suggesting children from disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely to go to a grammar school than better off pupils.
World War III
Sources claim America has started moving its tactical nuclear missiles from the Incirlik Air Base, in southern Turkey, to the Deveselu Air Base, in Romania. Relations between the US and Turkey – which are both NATO members – have plummeted since Turkey accused the CIA of masterminding last month’s coup against its government. Thousands of protesters shouting “Allahu Akbar” gathered outside the Incirlik Air Base , demanding the US leave, last month. Incirlik is thought to house about 50 warheads – which form part of NATO’s nuclear deterrent against Russia. Several hundred RAF airmen are also based there. Power to the base was cut during the failed coup and the US may fear the nukes could fall into the wrong hands if the country becomes unstable.