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Out of context

“I might not sound upmarket but I do have a silk hanky.”
Positive Solutions executive chairman David Harrison

“I am rather nervous. Last time I addressed a group of schoolgirls, I asked one of them what her plans were after she left school. She told me: ‘I was planning to go home until you arrived, big boy’.”
Former Conservative MP Michael Portillo

“I once made a programme on meerkats. They are not cute, they are dictatorial, scheming bastards.”
Portillo again

“If anyone is suggesting the current pension system is working, then I am a one-legged, ballroom-dancing Dutchman called Gladys.”
Life insurance analyst Ned Cazalet

“I hate cheese. It is the food of the devil.”
Scottish Life head of corporate business Mark Poison

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Japan Economic Insight

James Dowey, Chief Economist, and Paul Caruana-Galizia, Economist

The conventional wisdom is that following a roughly 50 per cent rise in the stock market in 2013 in Yen terms, the Japan trade is over and done*. So the story goes, those big gains were due to a one-off boost from quantitative easing (QE) and a depreciation of the Yen — policies that one should think of as a palliative to Japan’s economic weakness, but not a cure. Rather the cure, and by implication the necessary condition for a longer-term investment case, is deep structural reforms — a painstaking re-weaving of Japan’s economic and social fabric, no less. The story continues: this is a much tougher test than launching a blast of QE, and one that prime minister Shinzo Abe, although well intentioned and well supported by the public thus far, is likely to fail. Stick a fork in Japan, it’s done…continue reading

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