Big Tech “Wokepropriation” turns to financial malaise
Big Tech, so long the natural bedfellow of Planet Woke may just be starting to see the impact of it’s commitment “to the cause” through a, let’s be generous, “correction” in their stock market capitalisation (numbers of shares in issue x cost per share).
The mighty Apple, the nerve centre of Silicon Valley wokeism became the first company in history to achieve a $3Trn market capitalisation in late 2021. It is currently down just under 12% at $2.65Trn. Still a very fat goose and definitely not a turkey.
Microsoft has seen a similar fall, just over 11% in the last month, to stand at a $2.22Trn market capitalisation. Anything to do with the latest iteration of “Word” (or should that be “Woke”) which nudges the writer if it feels their use of language may not be appropriate for 2022, even in Gatesland.
Netflix’s share price collapsed on Friday 21st January 2022, enduring a single day fall of just under 22% as it disappointed the market by adding subscribers at below forecast expectations.
The current market capitalisation of just over $176Bn is off a whopping 43% against its 12 month high and the share price has fallen by 35% in the past month.
As a subscriber, I have seen a marked uptick in overt woke nudges in Netflix content, not least around documentaries where the same members of the leftist establishment are behind the camera. Might there be a link to a drop off in new subscribers or is it really just a “return to normal” as pandemic turns endemic? Time will tell.
The long term collapse in Twitter’s market capitalisation has been exacerbated by the departure of founder, Jack Dorsey. The share price has fallen by 49.95% in the last 6 months giving a market capitalisation of just $27.84Bn. At this level, new CEO, Parag Agarwal should expect a hostile takeover bid to hit his desk at any time.
Twitter faces an existential crisis. Users are predominantly left leaning and the platform, once the bastion of free speech, has not only cancelled a number of high profile users but almost delighted in doing so. Their crime? Non-compliance with an increasingly narrow, leftist world view.
Twitter’s stance on users’ defiance of COVID-19 “orthodoxy“ and any mention of the National Institute of Virology in Wuhan being the source of the pandemic is draconian. It is descending into a leftist echo chamber that demands compliance through digital authoritarianism without appeal.
With viable alternatives springing up that those who do not wish to subscribe to Twitter’s groupthink world view may join without fear of cancellation or censorship, this bird’s tail spin, largely of it’s own making, may prove impossible to pull out of without it being absorbed into a much larger nest. Watch this space.
The rising cost of living – the squeeze is on
Whilst the UK economy has recovered remarkably well in terms of job creation and unemployment (4.1%) at below pre-pandemic levels, the value of the pound in our pockets looks set to subside throughout 2022.
The latest inflation data released on 19th January 2022 showed a further rise in the Consumer Price Index (“CPI”) to 5.4%.
The Retail Price Index, (“RPI”) pushed conveniently to the margins by Whitehall but more reflective of cost of living increases as it is the index which the cost of many goods and services are linked to (including trains, social housing rents and mobile phone tariffs) has increased to 7.5%.
With average wage increases now running at 3.8%, using either index, Mr & Mrs “Average” are worse off. With house prices increasing by around 10% a year and second hand cars up around 27%, the “true cost of living” increase is nearer 10% for many families. All of which ignores the energy bill crisis, where conservatively increases will start at 50%.
Interest rates are set to increase throughout 2022. For those with variable rate mortgages, including trackers, this is yet another cost to bear, further widening the gap between net income and escalating outgoings.
“Squeezed middle”, “Just about managing”, whatever term you use, the financial squeeze is on.
54? Not anymore
It has been a week of melodrama in the latest instalment of the soap opera that is the Conservative & Unionist Party.
Talk of a “pork pie plot”, so called as the Rutland & Melton MP, Alicia Kearns, one member of the 2019 new intake of Conservative MPs was allegedly pivotal in it, was seized on by the mainstream media whose appetite for the potential scalp of Prime Minister, Boris Johnson is voracious.
After enduring significant pressure after his flaccid apology at the previous week’s PMQs, Johnson was much more dexterous in dealing with Sir Keir Starmer, who whilst laughing at his own jokes, failed to land anything like a knockout blow. Lembit Öpik rightly pointed out that Johnson would have been resigning that day if Tony Blair had been his opponent.
Christian Wakeford, MP for Bury South and another member of the 2019 new intake of Tories, crossed the floor to Labour just minutes before PMQs, which appeared to galvanise both Johnson and the benches behind him.
With a majority of 402, Wakeford has gambled that by switching to Labour, his time in Parliament may be extended at the next General Election. The “irony” of Wakeford being the co sponsor of a bill to ensure that any MP that crosses the floor should automatically trigger a by election was conveniently ignored. By him at least.
Andrew Bridgen, one of a number of MPs to publicly admit that he had submitted a letter to Sir Graham Brady, Chairman of the Tory 1922 Committee of backbenchers, calling for a vote of no confidence in Johnson’s leadership of the party claimed that the 54 signatures needed to trigger such a vote would be reached before the end of the week, with the vote to be held as early as Monday 24th January.
Friday came and went and following the lifting of the majority of pandemic restrictions, rumours swirled in Westminster that some letters were being withdrawn.
Bridgen has form in this respect. Having entered Parliament in 2010, he has been a “prime mover” in the “letters to the ‘22” against David Cameron, Theresa May and now Boris. He asserts he has no ambitions of high office, allegedly turning down a junior ministerial position prior to the Brexit referendum which would have been conditional on him supporting Remain.
So, Boris lives to fight another day at least but allegations from his jilted former Special Adviser, Dominic Cummings that Boris lied to Parliament over his prior knowledge of the Downing Street “bring your own booze” party of 20th May 2020 have led to him being interviewed by the now infamous Sue Gray.
Despite the dearth of alternatives with any political heft, let alone track record of winning elections to Johnson (Rishi Sunak, who walked off set when asked if he gave Johnson his full support and former Lib Dem, adulteress and Remainer, Liz Truss are the two prominent names) if Gray uncovers unequivocal evidence that he lied to Parliament, in breach of the Ministerial Code, Boris will undoubtedly have used up his 9 Prime Ministerial lives.
COVID-19: the end of the beginning or the return to normality?
In the week that the Plan B COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in England (other UK nations predictably broadly following suit), it is telling that there is now a rush to be on the right side of history in relation to restrictions on the nation’s civil liberties.
In one Twitter spat, Liam Halligan and Jeremy Vine had a very public disagreement after Vine’s attempt to evidence his libertarian instincts were dismissed by Halligan, leading to Vine using the ultimate sanction of blocking him.
There are of course virtue signalling exceptions that wish to keep the population living in perpetual fear, instead of returning to pre-pandemic normality. We should be thankful we are not Austrian, whose Parliament voted 137 to 33 in favour of mandatory vaccination for their entire population.
Step forward the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who insisted that passengers on all Transport for London services would be required to remain masked.
Not to be outdone, the National Education Union (“NEU”) will require children to wear face masks whilst at school. To be clear, children, whose risk of contracting COVID-19 is de minimis, will be required to wear a bacteria trap to protect themselves, their friends and their teachers. Even though the latter are presumably all triple vaccinated and wear it as a badge of honour.
The NEU just pips Khan as this week’s virtue signaller in chief, not least given their members preference for activism over teaching. I advise them to buy new hair shirts for all members to celebrate.
The government announced that the overstretched and under resourced Royal Navy will be replacing Border Force and the RNLI in patrolling the English Channel shortly. They will not be authorised to turn the boats around. I predict this will not end well.
The Home Office plan to cease publishing the number of Channel crossing migrants arriving each day. I wonder why?
French Presidential candidate Eric Zemmour said that France was afraid to Frexit as whilst the UK had won all its wars for the last 200 years, France had lost all theirs.
The World Economic Forum met in Davos with President Xi of China & Anthony Fauci early “contributors”. In a stunning act of self indulgent ignorance, with a perfectly straight face, one delegate referenced that with every passing conference, the elite are getting closer, yet in every country polled, ever less popular with their electorate.
© justchrisdavies 2022