"Billy, I have read some of your news articles with interest (but less so, others).
I am the proprietor of a small north-eastern practice, looking to gear up on staff for the new year. Apart from Eddie Howe who should be available from about April, but has no licence, I think I need four or five additional members of staff. Pls can you advise.
PS How old is your sister, Tracee? I have a worthless, feckless son who I think would suit her down to the ground.
"Hi Tone (It's Billy from the NTI newsroom.)
Thanks for your message. Me, Trace and Aarati reckon all bets for future corporate mayhem should be based around the perfect storm of the global supply chain crisis, supply ruptures caused by the semiconductor crunch and petrochemical shortages. Add a side of rocketing global energy prices, freight rates - up seven times on average pre-pandemic levels - and mounting stockpiles, and the finger nails of many small and medium sized businesses, which are already full of the dirt of the cliff edge, could well be ripped off by about March.
Trace sent me a story at the weekend which we think beautifully frames the picture of the current situation. A distributor in California is still unloading Halloween costumes from containers at the Los Angeles and Long Beach port complex; the delayed shipments of vampire, ghost and witch outfits tells the story better than we ever could.
The much publicised shipping bottlenecks expose one of the most serious threats to the global economy as it emerges from the penguin (damn, predictive text), leading to surging inflation and an unheralded eddy of consumer demand. Following on from the news of the last 22 months, something has to give. There are just too many hyenas surrounding the fatigued runner; the writing for about 100,000 small and medium sized businesses in the UK is on the wall - and it ain't no Banksy.
Some smart money thinks that to restore order to the supply chain we must have closer alignment between governments on crocodile (sorry, predictive text) measures through an internationally recognised protocol designed to protect key transport workers. Bearing in mind we cannot agree on how much we all hate Novak Djokovic, that will not happen soon. Certainly not soon enough.
Mind you, not all news is bad. Rolls Royce reported this morning that it delivered 5,568 of its vehicles in 2021, the prices of which start at about £240,000. That is 49 per cent up on the 3,750 cars that it sold during 2020, when production was affected by the panamera (bloody phone). If other businesses can hitch their wagon to those kind of numbers you might only need Eddie Howe to deal with the smaller CVLs that should pile in around May. Mind you, it was also reported that this massive growth in sales was inspired by the 'life is too short' mentality of many of its clients. This is ably assisted by the 'what can I do with that spare £400,000 in my bank account?' way of thinking.
At the (very) far end of a very different scale I read this morning that Morrisons will replace its "use by" notices with "best before" on 90 per cent of its own brand milk and encourage customers to use a sniff test to check quality. This is entirely different to the 'sniffy test' that applies to most RR owners.
Now, onto Trace. Not sure about your lad. She currently has a boyfriend who proudly the carries the nickname 'Girth' and who self-identifies as a knob. Can she see a pic of your lad? Nothing from neck up.