The Spectator

Barometer | 20 June 2019

Barometer | 20 June 2019
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History of hustings

Why are hustings called by that name?

— The word ‘hustings’ is derived from an old Norse word for ‘house of assembly’. In English it was applied to the court held by the Lord Mayor of London in Guildhall, and also to the wooden platform on which the court was held. It was later applied to the meetings at which election candidates used to be publicly nominated.

— The process involved a show of hands which gave candidates an idea of the support they might expect were a poll to be held. Candidates with little visible support would often withdraw, with the result that a candidate would be elected unopposed, rather as some Conservatives have been hoping might happen in the case of Boris Johnson. The public nomination process was abolished in 1872.

Beside the seaside

Residents of Bognor and Clacton complained after Which? magazine declared them to be Britain’s worst seaside resorts. Which are the most popular seaside towns in Britain, judged by the number who chose to go there on holiday in 2017?

Scarborough

1.28m

Blackpool

1.05m

Skegness

633,000

Torbay

574,000

Newquay

521,000

Brighton

477,000

Bournemouth

469,000

Great Yarmouth

430,000

Source: VisitBritain

Theresa’s totals

What is Theresa May’s economic legacy?

July 2016

GDP (quarterly)

£429bn

Unemployment rate

4.9%

CPI inflation

0.6%

FTSE 100

6670

Now

GDP (quarterly)

£514bn

Unemployment rate

3.8%

CPI inflation

2.1%

FTSE 100

7360

Funds and games

Investors have been blocked from withdrawing money from funds run by Neil Woodford, following poor performance. How many funds outperform the market? In 2016, Standard & Poors found that in US investment funds over a 15-year period:

92% of funds which invested in the S&P 500 Index underperformed that index.

95% of funds which invested in mid-cap stocks failed to outperform their own benchmark index.

93% of funds which invested in small cap stock did the same.

—The least-worst performance was by fund managers who invested in global equities, where a mere 83% underperformed their benchmark index.