LETTERS FROM LONDON
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
25 November 2016
A Fool and His Money

Is it all smoke and mirrors, a dark cloud or a shadow cast over the Autumn
Statement delivered by Chancellor Philip “I love money” Hammond (said as a 15
years-old)
? I add (I know) he is surely struggling on his eight million. Brexit
Britain faces a £1,621,448,968,480 UK government debt, a £122 billion budget
black hole, dwindling growth, slow trade, lower pay and austerity stretching into
the late 2020s.  Warming to him yet?

If you really need an example of Philip’s ‘caring Conservative’ deception, it could
be the £200m for grammar school
s - with more social care cuts to come. No one
wants grammar schools. No one voted for grammar schools. People have
petitioned and protested against grammar schools. Teachers don’t want
grammar schools. Do I really need to continue? I thought not. But Theresa wants
them.

Let’s spend that (un)available extra £200m, but let’s not put another pound of it
towards saving the NHS. Here we are again. Privatising the NHS by stealth? Not
so secret is it? Oh I just can’t deal with Teflon-Tory duplicity at the minute. A
plague on all their second homes.

The IFS has decided that this has been the worst decade for living standards
since the 1920’s. More cuts, more borrowing, more debt. The OBR (Office for
Budget Responsibility) claim our man with the money Philip could easily fail to
balance the books by as late as 2025, meaning further potential spending cuts
and tax rises for the next decade. Ah. We do love the Tories. Living standards
sliding into the abyss. Don’t despair; Theresa loves you and wants only the best
for you. If you are a CEO of a multinational corporation that is. So let’s go
shopping.

Your favourite latest US import? No, it’s not Halloween, but surely that even
surpasses Christmas. It’s Black Friday of course. Black Friday that seems to
continue for a week. Isn’t it meant to be termed Rip-off Friday? Prices on that
wall-covering telly cost less a few days before. Have you fallen for all the hype?
All those emails you’ve been receiving for the last month counting the days for
you? Have you been a Black Friday fool? Hopefully not.

Hmmm. You must be splashing the cash because £2bn had been spent by
Friday with another £2bn forecast for Monday. Cyber-Monday? Remember that?

Instead surely you would rather go bankrupt supporting pointless millionaire
celebrities. I’m thinking Gwennie (Paltrow) if you have been ignoring her of late.
Well, she has been missing for all of five nanoseconds.

Not only can you wish you were just like her, but now you can smell like her. Is
that an “ew” I hear? Gwennie tells us: “Fragrance which I’ve used up to this point
is actually really at best not transparent at all, and at worst very toxic.” Verrrry
toxic! Yikes!!! Not dead yet then, Gwennie?

So you’re going to die if you use Chanel, Dior, Cartier, Tom Ford, Guerlain,
Hugo Boss! Oh. Oops. Didn’t she endorse Hugo’s perfume? For at least $2m?
You know she did. Oh. All that deadly toxicity. At least you will smell lovely as
you lay dying, unless you would rather smell like Gwennie: “a scent of cypress
smoke, snow, sensual quiet.” I’m thinking gardenias rather than snow personally.

But Gwennie’s perfume has “healing and even mystical powers” don’t you know.
Is that a collective in-take of breath I hear? I swear to God I am not making this
up. Do you reckon she writes her own copy? No need to answer. How much
you ask? Hopefully you didn’t. $165. Perfect stocking filler.

I’m sorry, but I just can’t stop. It might be that $956 “gold standard” toilet paper
available on her site or $125,000 gold dumbbells. Let’s not forget bespoke yacht
chartering services or what about her friend, Stella’s (McCartney of course)
must have $1,375 handbag or a Valentino coat, or a Mud Australian serving bowl
– porcelain (huh?) at $458, don’t miss a “short oxidised bronze candlestick at a
mere $360 – and – “inner Beauty” powder at $70. Oh that sounds persuasive.
Hide those debit cards.

Gwennie tells her devoted fans (fools): “I find as a consumer, that the price
points of some of my favourite designer clothing is so exorbitantly expensive”.
Oh dear. With her $60m, that can be deeply disheartening. Poor poor Gwennie.
To alienate anyone left, she tells us the political situation in America is “exciting”.
I just have to quote her here: “It’s such an exciting time to be an American
because we are at this amazing inflection point (“inflection point” – oh Gwennie.
You are trying terribly hard to impress us) and everything is kind of (kind of?)
up in the air...such an amazing time for entrepreneurship.” I’m beginning to
think all that “very toxic” perfume Gwennie has been using has affected her
(small) brain.

If you haven’t run out of the room, Gwennie has a special message for you: “It’s
very important for me, personally, now more than ever, to create a community
and to remember the humanity of everybody and to create love and
understanding.” Not a commune then. Ahhhh. Thanks, Gwennie. What we need
a community willing to spend $956 on toilet paper. Do you think Gwennie will
surprise herself with her own perfume this Christmas?

Back to retail reality. A few figures in regards to Black Friday. Curry’s PC World
has reported its “highest ever” number of orders. Blimey! Up 40 per cent from
last year. Carphone Warehouse orders have increased 480 per cent compared
with last year. Blimey! Repeated. Very.co.uk customers placed orders 1.7 every
second, Argos processed 15,000 items an hour, H&M offered a pathetic 20% on
everything, Zara offered 20% on ‘selected items’ (we always love those ‘selected
items’) and lest we forget, Zara’s mark-up is 23% for all their British stores – you
can do the maths. Shopping records have been broken in Central London. Five
orders a second for online John Lewis orders with Mark Jacobs perfume its best
seller. Oh dear. Get Gwennie smelling salts.
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