Who else is expecting a ‘quiet’ summer?
Not me, I can tell you. If the recent news of Rebekah Vardy’s impending lawsuit against Coleen Rooney for libel (remember Wagatha Christie?) is anything to go by, H2 is going to be quite the experience for us all.
I think we can all agree H1 was a rollercoaster to say the least. Six months’ worth of extraordinary events that no-one could have predicted, from Australian bush fires and a confrontation between the US and Iran in January, to mass protests in June, and everything else in between. Does all this take a break for the summer holidays?
This question seems to have started floating around the MRM (virtual) Towers Zoom calls of late. Just how busy do we think things will be in summer? Typically it’s the time when families book time off for school holidays, journalists turn the coverage dial down to “press release copy & paste” mode and the City decamps for a break.
But I doubt that this year. For a start, many of us are already in our retreats, diligently working from home. The kids have been in quasi-summer-holiday purgatory since March and journalists have more breaking news than they can shake a (very tired) stick at. The rollcall of stuff that’s going to happen in July is impressive.
For starters, the government has announced a sort of Independence Day of our very own this year on 4 July, when many previously too-risky businesses such as pubs, theme parks and hairdressers come open again.
This is good news not just from a freedom-to-do-what-we-want aspect, but it’s good economic news too. A friend recently told me he would happily pay £10 for a cold pint in a pub garden right now. While that’s a bit dear for this penny-pincher, I imagine quite a lot of people probably agree with him.
But the unfortunate side of this is the negative impact that opening the economy back is going to have. Companies will soon start having to make tough choices. While an emergency budget may be on the cards for early July (no confirmed date as of yet), with stimulus measures to boot, this will be temporary as the cost of protecting jobs and the economy becomes clearer later in the year.
Alongside the typical dates for the diary such as inflation (15 July) and employment (16 July) that will hold important economic data on how the UK is coping as it emerges from lockdown, we have the Link Dividend Monitor (20 July) which could provide valuable insights into how companies are handling investors amid significant cashflow issues.
Elsewhere, the appeal against women’s state pension age changes begins its hearing in the High Court on 21 July, the same day the House of Commons rises for recess.
But the message going forward, which is de rigueur for 2020, is expect the unexpected. Every single month, week, and daily news cycle seems to remind us of that. A challenge to overcome, but an opportunity to participate in too.