Tim 0 Einstein 1, Taittinger 1 Newcastle Brown 0, Nurofen 1 Consumer 0

British astronaut Tim Peake (I can’t help thinking of him as Twin Peaks) seems a nice enough chap, but he is such an obvious distraction from the bad news at the moment, it’s beginning to get irritating. Tim’s Diary made Mrs Dale seem like a hoody tearaway, and Tim’s explanations of US space jargon (a spacesuit is now an Extra Vehicular Unit) were on an interest level with CNN telling me the sea temperature off Singapore. The lady on Radio 4 yesterday explaining why Tim wasn’t just another astronaut left my mouth open with disbelief, and this morning Twitter is full of more Timtweeting, incuding David Cameron telling us how TP was about to have his breakfast. BBC on Sunday had a ten minute sequence about having a poo in zero gravity.


We are not physically moving out and boldly going anywhere important in Space because that is clearly impossible – as the brilliant BBC4 repeat of the Einsteinian physics revolution explained so elegantly last night. Dan Dare was part of the 1950s, and Britain has been a bystander in the exploration of Extra Earth Space ever since blue streak nakedly affirmed that we were light years behind everyone else.

But right now, Camerlot would rather anything was on the news – just so long as it doesn’t involve UK banking reality and the real economic outlook. Hence the 24/7 distraction of Tim Peake pilot of the future. Sadly, the reality is still there as today’s deflation, producer price index (PPI) and core inflation data showed. Sun headline: everything’s going in the wrong direction.

The YOY and MOM figures show that overall deflation is accelerating, and the PPI is catching the Treasury unawares. It’s just a further sign along with the junk bonds slump, commodities collapse and Beijing headless panic that we are indeed turning the corner from Skid Row….straight into the Gobi Desert.

For more detail, catch up with yesterdays Slogpost on Crash2 and credit.


Major French  Champagne grower Taittinger has apparently bought 47 hectares of growing land in Kent (prime hop-growing terrain) in a move that makes one wonder about things ranging from climate change to whether any bit of Britain will, in the end, remain out of the hands of foreigners. This isn’t an outburst of warmism or xenophobia on my part, but rather a sort of vaguely amused look at how English producers could turn the tables.
For example, a decade ago I gave a French chum here a bottle of Newcastle Brown ale. His reaction was to ask how he could get further supplies. It was, he insisted, far superior to the copycat French product, Pelforth Brun. But thus far, Newky’s owners have not made any land purchases over here.
There are vast areas of north west France to the south of Normandy and the north of  the Loire where brown ale would grow in profusion. And there are millions of French, Belgians and Germans who would pay a premium for it.
But financially blinkered Camerlot doesn’t get this kind of real export marketing insight….and Labour doesn’t get either version of capitalism. Even more worrying, Corbynist Labour thinks the answer is a command economy that ignores social anthropology entirely. It’s all rather depressing.



Nurofen has – after what must be the best part of thirty years – been caught out in the Australian pharmacy trade and convicted of segmenting its pain relief products when they are in fact, um, one product. So the migraine and period pain variants cost twice the price of the ‘original’ product, but were exactly the same formulation. This was the profoundly muddled and amoral statement put out by the company after being found guilty:
‘We accept that what we did was illegal, but there was never at any time an intention on the part of the company to mislead the public….our sole aim was to help consumers navigate their way through a complex product offer, and find the right product for them…we want to make it clear that this anomaly does not exist in other markets.”
It’s enough to make one weep for a more innocent, honest Age. It particularly makes an ex adman like me cry buckets, because “in my day” (cue yawns as old fart rewrites history, allegedly) there is no way I would’ve wanted a client on board pulling a Carny coconut-shy stunt like this one.
The truly sad part of this story (the outcome of which I  applaud wildly) is that even at the death, Nurofen’s owners were still lying their brainless heads off. So much so that – were I a pharmco regulator in the EU – I’d be analysing Nurofen ‘variant’ formulations in double-quick marching time.


 Yesterday at The Slog: Cameron and the re thing in renegotiation