Father Christmas, in full PPE, is coming to a doorstep near you.
I’m going to start this monthly column with something a little different this time. I noticed (as you do) on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Instagram page the other day a remarkable post.
Whoever runs the account (it may actually be Boris for all I know) posted a letter from one eight-year-old named Monti. It was to ask the PM a question about Father Christmas.
Monti gamely inquired: “If we leave hand sanitiser by the cookies can he [Santa] come? Or will he wash his hands?”
To which Boris replied: “The Chief Medical Officer has asked me to tell you that, provided Father Christmas behaves in his usual responsible way and works quickly and safely, there are no risks to your health or his.”
These kinds of letters usually stoke social media troll screams of ‘fake’, but I think that’s the least of our worries this year.
Imagine if I had given this letter to you to read 12 months ago. Frankly, it would have been beyond comprehension. Not only was Boris’s ‘stonking’ election victory not yet even guaranteed, but coronavirus was but a twinkle in the eye of SARS.
And now we’re all totally desensitised to the idea that, assuming Santa doesn’t mistake the hand-san for a beverage, he’ll be “responsible” enough to don his full (red velvet?) PPE. Then, like a good socially-distanced DPD driver, leave the presents on the doorstep for the kids to pick up (and maybe forget to ring the doorbell like my local delivery guy does).
The mental imagery and implications of all this are just breathtakingly weird.
But here we are now a year later. Boris is looking at the first anniversary of his big win on 12 December, and the world is a tremendously different place. For instance, who might have thought that the impending end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December, in which there is still no deal to speak of at the time of writing, would be only a secondary concern amid many?
Elsewhere in the month we have another quarterly FTSE review to look forward to on 2 December, with the update taking effect on 21 December. The indicators that we once wholly ignored but now are fixated on for a barometer of the UK’s economy fall mid-month as usual, with employment and wages on 15 December and inflation on 16 December.
Meanwhile the Bank of England gives its final interest rate decision of the year on 17 December, one which I would expect to come with little Christmas cheer.
Later in the month, just after Christmas, the CEBR is publishing its annual World Economic League Table on 26 December, which could have some notable swings as a result of this year’s machinations.
And finally, 11 December is Christmas Jumper day, so I expect to see you all in finest woollen regalia over Zoom please. Jokes aside though, the day is run by Save the Children so take a screenshot of your morning meeting in all your teammates’ jumper-covered glory, post it on social and maybe make a donation too.
All the very best from MRM and Capital City Media, wishing you a very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.