Luke's Columns

So the rebuilding begins. The total lost output from lockdowns globally is forecast to be about $9 trillion (£7.2 trillion) over 2020 and 2021. Given such epic damage to economies, there is no time to be lost. The recovery must start right now. Despite the dreams of those who…

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For good or ill, the broadcast news agenda in this country is dominated by the public sector. Politicians, civil servants, academics, doctors, union bosses and other figures from the state and non-profit sector constitute the vast majority of voices one hears on the Today programme, Newsnight, Question Time and…

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Life is a risky enterprise that always ends badly. But if we allow fear to crowd out living, existence becomes pointless. I’m concerned that Covid-19 — and, in particular, the authorities’ reaction to it — is undermining our reasons for being on Earth. I’m fortunate because I did a…

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The coronavirus crisis is likely to mark a defining moment in the relationship between commercial landlords and their tenants. Historically, in this crowded country, property owners have held the upper hand, and their dysfunctional connection with tenants has resembled a master/servant arrangement. For example, no other supplier of a…

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What is a reputation worth? These desperate times are providing interesting case studies. I know about reputational damage because the Patisserie Valerie fraud in 2018 did mine much harm. A prominent example is Sir Richard Branson and his Virgin brand. He has asked for £500m from the government to…

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Who are the heroes and zeroes in the leadership stakes in this crisis? It is pretty straightforward to select the real failures: those running the Chinese Communist Party, who misled the world about the unleashing of the virus; the bosses at the World Health Organisation, who swallowed the lies…

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This week I intend to be more optimistic. Readers have complained that my recent columns have been too pessimistic, and I suspect they are right. We all need cheering up in these dark times. So I shall attempt to shrug off the fear and suspicion that surrounds us and…

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With at least half the nation idle, sitting at home all day, people have plenty of time to think. This can be dangerous. Most of us are built for action rather than lengthy reflection — particularly in a time of universal fear about illness, death and a collapsing economy….

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What is anything worth any more? What value should investors ascribe to companies, property or bonds? The ease with which seemingly solid businesses have come close to collapse in a matter of days is a vicious reminder that projections of future earnings are merely well-informed guesses. Investors suddenly find…

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Our way of life is more fragile than we thought. So much we used to take for granted is no longer possible. Perhaps most of us were too complacent. Now every sinew is being stretched in a battle to stay healthy and afloat. Whole industries are on life support,…

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