Jonah's Pharmaceutical Omnishambles

The Curse of the One-Eyed Son of the Manse will not go away. Pharma big boys AstraZeneca were very chuffed when Gordon welcomed their chairman as one of Britain’s Business Ambassadors three months ago. This was never going to go well. The smile was soon wiped off their faces when Mr Ambassador fired 2,200 of his staff this week.

The curse was particularly powerful north of the border. Last Thursday Gordon shared the top table at a Labour Party fund-raiser in Glasgow with the leader of the council, the flamboyant “high-flyer” Steven Purcell. Colleagues say he was buzzing at the party.  The next morning his career was over.  Purcell mysteriously cancelled meetings before eventually clearing his whole diary and promptly resigned citing “stress“.

Purcell then spent the weekend in the Castle Craig rehab centre and brought in a friend’s crisis management company to handle the press.  The spin is that this is all stress related.  When Guido gets over-stressed he goes on a beach holiday, not to a rehab centre. It is rumoured that Purcell’s staff wanted to send out a more honest press release about his “chemical dependency”.  In any event the cover-up lasted less than 48 hours.  Has he blown his career? Who nose?  His spin team and lawyers are threatening to sue all and sundry. Peter Watson, his lawyer, told Guido that he would invoke Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights against him if the blog crossed the line into Purcell’s privacy.  What a proper charlie…

Downing Street is silent on the issue, perhaps like our high-flyer they need to sort out their line…




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Quote of the Day

The FT’s Wolfgang Munchau on the “fake maths” of economic forecasts:

“The truth is that our ability to forecast the future beyond the current quarter is limited… The curse of our time is fake maths. Think of it as fake news for numerically literate intellectuals: it is the abuse of statistics and economic models to peddle one’s own political prejudice… The fakeness of the maths lies in an exaggerated inference. Economic models have their uses, as do opinion polls. They provide information to policymakers and markets. But nobody can see through the fog of the future.”

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