Life would be dull if all our friends thought the same.
We live in an age of echo chambers and self-selecting online feeds. In our digital lives it’s easy to filter out those with different (or annoying) opinions, but real life is, thankfully, a more satisfying and stimulating mix of people, perspectives and attitudes. Unless of course you’re the Labour MP Laura Pidcock - who this week revealed that she could “never be friends with a Tory.”
It will come as no surprise that Pidcock is a diehard Corbyn supporter, as the hard left tend to view political opponents as enemies rather than people with whom they disagree on matters of policy. Her confession sparked a debate over at the Guardian, with Sonia Sodha making the case for friendships that stretch the political spectrum, and the paper’s deputy comment editor, Joseph Harker, agreeing with Pidcock and saying he’d go one step further and avoid all contact with Blairites and Lib Dems, too. What a miserable man. Of course politics can be tribal, but most MPs will tell you of friendships formed across the aisle. Apart from anything else, MPs often come together to raise a debate or campaign for change on matters that don’t fall into a simple left-right category. My advice to Pidcock? Lighten up.
Lidl by Lidl
Discount supermarket Lidl continues its march up the retail rankings, having overtaken Waitrose this week as the German chain attracts more middle class shoppers. A while ago, I chaired a breakfast discussion that included some of the biggest names (and highest earners) in the City. Not one of them had stepped foot in a Lidl, but all of them said their kids shopped there and urged their parents to give it a try. Perhaps the message got through, since more and more people are giving the discounter a go. I wish there was one near me, as it could lure me away from the wonderful but undeniably expensive offerings of Borough Market.
FTSE hit by three major fallers
The FTSE has been shaken after several top firms saw their shares tank. Dixons Carphone shares yesterday plummeted 20 per cent on the open, following Carillion’s nightmare on Wednesday and Provident Financial’s epic fall on Tuesday that saw nearly £2bn wiped off the company’s value. Provident’s chief exec, Peter Crook, stood down with immediate effect. When I spoke to him a couple of weeks ago he was boasting about strong fundamentals and a turnaround plan. Fund manager Neil Woodford, who along with Invesco owned 40 per cent of the firm’s stock, wins the optimism award, describing the shares as “undervalued” after they fell 67 per cent.
Uber's bumpy ride to an uncertain destination
Uber continues its bumpy ride toward the point at which it may actually turn a profit. The tech giant’s losses were this week revealed to be 9 per cent down on the previous quarter, to $645m. Nevertheless, the firm is still battling with the fallout from a number of scandals and there are currently around half a dozen empty seats at its top table as it looks for a new chief executive, among other senior roles. Several mutual funds have slashed their valuations in recent days, though the ride-hailing app still boasts a tag of around $68bn. Investors seem to be in it for the long haul, which means Uber needs to flesh out its long term strategy - and fast.