John lewis

The arrogance of Apple

Can flexible working get the best out of what a ministerial press release calls ‘hardworking Brits’ – or is it a couch potato’s charter? As of 6 April, employees have had the right to ask for flexibility – including remote working and hours to suit – from their first day in a job; employers can reject unworkable requests, but are obliged to consider and consult. If you’re an optimist, you’ll think workers whose family lives are accommodated by enlightened employers will be happier, more loyal and more productive: ‘5 a.m. will be the new 9 a.m.,’ declares the HR Director, for parents who choose to ‘tackle work before attending to

Rampant unions will embed high inflation

So farewell, Transpennine Express, the northern rail operator whose hapless management were no match for the Aslef union that was determined to see this underperforming franchise renationalised. TPE’s drivers, beneficiaries of the super-luxury conditions I recited last month, have effectively invented a new form of moral hazard: have no fear of crippling your employer with outrageous demands and relentless non-cooperation, because if it goes down, the government will step in and re-employ you on the same terms or better. Aslef has more strikes planned nationally for 31 May and 3 June, and the other rail union RMT – having done its best to disrupt travel to Eurovision in Liverpool –

Will a John Lewis home be up Boris and Carrie’s street?

The Financial Times carried a curious story at the weekend about ‘the secretive process to elect the Lord Mayor of London’ being ‘thrown into disarray’ by ‘objections from some City leaders’ to the candidacy, for 2022, of Nick Lyons — who has just been elected as one of the City’s two sheriffs but who happens to be an Irish citizen. Lyons’s unnamed opposers say City rules have always required the Lord Mayor to be a British citizen. The City Corporation, the Square Mile’s local authority, says it has legal advice to the effect that Lyons is not disqualified, EU citizens being permitted to stand in UK local elections. The FT

The Mozarts of ad music

It’s Christmas 2020 and Kevin the Carrot is on a mission. Snow swirls, ice glistens and roast turkeys and cold cuts wait on the table, bathed in cosy firelight. The visual symbols of Christmas are all present and correct in the big Aldi seasonal advert, but what pulls them together is the music. A hint of John Williams on a solo horn, a burst of swashbuckling rhythm; symphonic strings as our vegetable hero makes it home. It’s all there, sumptuously scored and precisely gauged to make you feel that in 30 seconds, you’ve experienced an epic. And then, of course, to go out and buy parsnips. ‘I was lucky, because