Our fund managers’ most useful tool No. 8: A briefcase
Over the past year, we personally interviewed the management of over 1,000 companies across the UK.
Dunedin Income Growth Investment Trust Stocks and Shares ISA and Share Plan
No matter how well-known a company is, there’s no substitute for getting to know it on your own terms. So when we are selecting leading UK companies for Dunedin Income Growth – we go and scrutinise every company ourselves. We interview the management, talk to its competitors and take the time to determine if this is really the sort of company we are looking for. We seek companies with talented people, a powerful business and a commitment to shareholders. Companies that can deliver strong and rising dividends – not just today but well into the future. It’s this focus on first-hand knowledge that has allowed Dunedin Income Growth to pay a rising income every year for the last 15 years†. So if you are looking to the UK stock market for a healthy income, leave the legwork to us – and Dunedin Income Growth. The trust is available through the Share Plan, tax-efficient ISA or ISA transfer.
Do remember that the value of shares and the income from them can go down as well as up. Past performance is not a guide to the future. You may not get back the amount invested. No recommendation is made, positive or otherwise, regarding the ISA or Share Plan.
The value of tax benefits depends on individual circumstances and the favourable tax treatment for ISAs may not be maintained.
If you have any doubts about the suitability of any investment for your needs, please consult an independent financial adviser.
To find out more: Request a brochure: 0500 00 40 00 www.invtrusts.co.uk
Issued and approved by Aberdeen Asset Managers Limited, 10 Queen’s Terrace, Aberdeen AB10 1YG. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority in the UK. Telephone calls may be recorded. † Source: Aberdeen Asset Managers.
Please quote DIGIT S 03 The Spectator, 22 Old Queen Street, London SW1H 9HP Telephone 020 7961 0200; Fax 020 7961 0250; www.spectator.co.uk
EU power grab
No Prime Minister wants to do battle with the European Union, which is why it has accrued so much power in such a short space of time. When preparing for government, David Cameron was warned by the Civil Service that if he wanted to wrestle powers back from Brussels — as he has promised to do in party conference speeches — then it would absorb at least a year of his time in Downing Street. Since then, his approach has been to spend as little time as he can on the subject, hoping it will not appear on his political radar. While he may well have no interest in Brussels, but Brussels has all too much interest in Britain. For years, the European Commission has envied the way that financiers from across the Continent gravitate towards London — and are, even now, generating billions in tax revenues to help close the deficit. The upside of Goldman Sachs giving an average £180,000 bonus to staff is that half of this sum will be handed to HM Treasury. Finding a way of making London less attractive to the financiers remains one of the European Commission’s main priorities.
All it needs from the British government is no resistance — and since Gordon Brown moved into 10 Downing Street, this is what it has had. Mired in his electoral woes, Mr Brown dropped his (previously formidable) opposition to EU meddling. One result was the proposed pan-European financial regulator. Rather than fight it, ministers accepted the sops being offered, such as the idea that the regulator would be in London rather than Frankfurt. What matters, alas, is not where the building is, but what goes on inside it.
Another power grab is looming. Plans are being drawn up for a European order that would mandate British police officers to follow requests lodged from overseas. Given that Britain is home to 1.5 million immigrants from other EU countries (twice as many as Brits living in the EU, according to Eurostat) this will place a disproportional burden on constabularies who are already facing budget cuts of 25 per cent. It is one thing to face a request from a Romanian police service, quite another to be forced to comply with their demands. And yet the British government’s response has been silence. Why? Each nation-state has found its own ways of dealing with Brussels. Many EU directives are ignored in France and Italy. The Germans do it by the book: five emi-
nent academics recently filed a legal action against the proposed eurozone credit facility and aid package. Their complaint plausibly identifies several infractions against the German Constitution and other EU treaties.
Yet from Britain, nothing but acquiescence. The government has adopted a seeno-evil policy — knowing that there can be no such thing as a united Tory-Lib Dem policy on the subject. This coalition is a union of Eurosceptics and Euro-enthusiasts, so it remains mute on issues which demand that Britain has a strong national voice — not least because public opinion is now hardening against the EU. A recent Angus Reid poll shows that 51 per cent of the public says that, on balance, EU membership is bad for Britain.
If ministers will not speak about Europe, MPs must. For example, a study might be conducted into whether Britain would be better off out of the EU given that our net payments have risen by almost a third this year, to £8.3 billion. What do we gain in return for this money? Is it, in this age of austerity, a cost we can afford? It is, surely, a subject of legitimate inquiry for a Select Committee.
Peter Cox was on his way to carry out some landscaping work at a friend’s house in Bridgwater in Somerset when he was pulled over by police on (false) suspicion of driving his BMW without insurance. The officer in question decided that Mr Cox was acting aggressively, and pulled out his Taser gun. Seconds later, Mr Cox had 50,000 volts delivered to his groin. It is a chilling sign of how the British police have changed.
The officer discharged his weapon by accident. But at what point did England license police to draw guns on motorists suspected of traffic offences? For generations, unarmed British police have found various ways of dealing with people whom they regard as aggressive. It is doubtless far easier to point a gun at people, and requires far less training. Our officers do not carry arms because we, as a country, regard it as unacceptable to treat people in such a way. We have seen coverage from America of police behaving appallingly: one policeman shot a pensioner with a Taser gun when he did not like the way he was being spoken to. We should not take a single step down this road. It is not just that the use of Tasers is a lazy option, which leads to bad policing: there are fundamental questions to be asked about the relationship between police and society.
This magazine opposes identity cards in part because there is the world of difference between a policeman asking, ‘Can I have your name?’ and one demanding, ‘Can I see your papers?’ Britain is not a country where it is acceptable to say to a motorist ‘Shut up, or I’ll shoot’ — whether talking about bullets, or electronic darts. With the police facing budget cuts, Tasers should be candidates for the chop.
THE SPECTATOR 24 July 2010 5