Anyone struggling to make ends meet, trying to survive from one payday to the next, will be amazed to discover the we are now at the “peak of the second Gilded Age”. These words are those of Josef Stadler, the Global Head of the Ultra High Net Worth division at UBS, commenting on a report on the way that the wealth of the rich has risen over the last period.

The decision to jail eight members of the Catalan government, and to issue an arrest warrant for the Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, along with a further four members of his government, is an unprecedented and very serious violation of basic democratic rights that has revived the Catalan independence movement.

After a week of about turns, indecision and last minute attempts to find a negotiated way out, the Catalan Republic was proclaimed on Friday, October 27. Tens of thousands celebrated in the streets of Barcelona and other Catalan towns and cities.

Just when Theresa May and the Tories would have been hoping for some respite after a dismal conference period, the OBR (Office for Budget Responsibility) has sent a shockwave through British political and business circles. In its annual “Forecast Evaluation Report” (FER), published this month, the OBR downgraded the UK’s economic outlook, having revealed that both GDP and productivity growth had consistently fallen short of OBR predictions over the last two years.

Theresa May, having ridden high in the nine months following her coronation as Tory leader and prime minister back in 2016, has now met with a dastardly fall. Since the June general election result - which robbed her of her parliamentary majority - everything seems to have gone belly up.

The Brexit negotiations appear to have ground to a halt. “There was nothing, zero, no progress,” said one official last week. Not surprisingly, there is now a deep sense of frustration, not to mention deep anxiety, about where things are heading. Philip Hammond, the current chancellor, has even warned that a “no deal” scenario would ground all aircraft on day one, clog up all the ports and impose a “hard” border in the North of Ireland.

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