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Come on, feel the noise

Thank heavens that’s almost over. Even the isn’t-this-election-campaign-dull articles are getting duller – and this one may not prove any exception. Mind you, the interesting thing – at least for me – is I’m writing this in southern France and I can still feel it dragging on.

I say feel because, where I am, there’s only a handful of channels of purely French telly, limited access to the interweb and I haven’t seen an English newspaper in a week – all of which, some might argue, makes me overqualified as a columnist. Whatever – I know it’s out there.

I know three less than leader-like leaders are still vying for our electoral affections. I know the TV debates are supposed to have energised this campaign but seem as well to have led the main parties to prize style over substance yet more highly – if such a thing were possible. I know those debates have also stimulated in the wider British public whatever it is in them that both adores reality TV and can’t help backing a less than deserving winner.

I know the Great British tradition of thumbing its nose at authority could seriously come back to bite us, just as I know my jokes about Vince Cable being ’only’ 8-to-1 to be the next Chancellor are looking even less funny than when I made them a few weeks back. And I know whatever I say on the subject is a mere grain of sand amid the great Sahara of comment that has been written.

Noise is, of course, the technical term for this sort of thing and members of Her Majesty’s financial services industry have to tune out more than their fair share of it, even when there isn’t a political version of Britain’s Not Got Very Much Talent taking place.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure you devoured all those articles on what to do if the Tories or the Lib Dems or Labour or the BNP wins the election, which almost every purveyor of fine financial media has offered up over the last month and a half.

Oh, and all those ones dissecting the prospect of a hung Parliament with the same degree of confidence they were analysing the likely aftermath of a Conservative victory before Nick Clegg taught us to love our inner Liberal.

But what use has any of it been? Certainly, I’ve seen very little – before I left the country, I mean – to compare favourably with an offering from The Co-operative Asset Management, a company about whom I must confess I have not always been as kind as I might in this space.

Full marks to head of research, Paul Mcginnis, however, who instead of speculating about the result of the closest-run election in almost 40 years, offers his thoughts on the sort of investment sectors most likely to prosper whether Cameron, Clegg, Brown or any combination of the three is running the country come the weekend.

With that in mind, Mcginnis picks out public sector outsourcing on the basis that, after the election, the need to cut the nation’s increasing debt burden will drive a rush of public sector back-office functions, providing excellent opportunities for support-services companies such as Serco and Mitie.

He also favours the renewable energy space, arguing urgent action is required to secure the UK’s future energy supply – not to mention to meet European targets on greenhouse gas emissions.

In this regard, he suggests Scottish & Southern Energy and specialist engineering and infrastructure planning consultancies such as RPS should benefit.

Finally, since this year sees the first of the baby-boom generation beginning to retire, Mcginnis focuses on the healthcare sector.

“Increased private sector involvement will grow the size of the market for a number of healthcare companies, including pharmaceutical and medical device suppliers,” he believes, picking out operations such as GlaxoSmithKline and Shire that would enjoy good exposure to this sort of development in both the UK and US.

Now that’s the sort of election comment that wins my vote. Still, as I say, at least it’s nearly over – until of course any sort of hung Parliament collapses and we get to do it all over again in the autumn.

Julian Marr is editorial director of www. marketing-hub.co.uk and www.thoughtleadershiplive. com

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