‘Blindfold Brexit’, hugging culture and rich YouTubers

Planet Business: Christmas cheer is in short supply everywhere except Ryan’s house

Ray Kelvin, under-fire founder and chief executive of Ted Baker, never shows his face in photographs. Photograph: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

Ray Kelvin, under-fire founder and chief executive of Ted Baker, never shows his face in photographs. Photograph: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

 

Image of the week: May’s Christmas

Each bauble on this Downing Street tree represents one of the logical impossibilities at the heart of the Brexit project, while each pine cone symbolises a parliamentary defeat suffered either this week or next by the British government.

This year’s tree has Scottish roots, according to the Daily Mail, which amusingly suggests this is perhaps “a bid to appease the Scots over the turbulent Brexit negotiations”. But if MPs think Theresa May looks a little weary at the sight of the oversized tree plonked outside her front door, just wait until she cancels Christmas by recalling parliament before the new year. In fairness, mass heartburn, indigestion and turkey comas are unlikely to worsen the quality of the debate so far.

Categorically not rocking around the Christmas tree: Theresa May leaves Downing Street on Tuesday. Photograph: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg.
Categorically not rocking around the Christmas tree: Theresa May leaves Downing Street on Tuesday. Photograph: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg.

In numbers: sober season

23,000 Drinks industry truck movements across the Irish Border each year, according to the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland, which was busy in the Oireachtas this week highlighting just how critical is the whole frictionless trade post-Brexit thing.

130 million Glass bottles imported into the State from the UK every year. In the event of a hard border, a 5 per cent external EU tariff would be less than smashing.

207 million Bottles of Irish whiskey, cream liqueur and poitín sold to 140 different markets last year, a third of them produced in the North. All three spirits are designated cross-Border geographical indications, which the drinks industry wants maintained after Brexit.

The lexicon: blindfold Brexit

“Blindfold Brexit” is the preferred soundbite these days of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who was one of a long line of deal-sceptics to get to his feet in the House of Commons to decry May’s negotiating effort and remind her that, as no one can quite get their heads round what it actually means, MPs won’t vote “for this blindfold Brexit and take a leap in the dark about Britain’s future”. Ah, like voters did, you mean? Corbyn by no means holds exclusivity over the term, however. Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon has lamented the “lots of unicorns taking the place of facts about the future relationship”, adding up to a “blindfold Brexit”, while Green MP Caroline Lucas has added extra alliteration, describing “a bungled, blindfold Brexit” that endangers jobs, the environment and the UK’s standing in the world. Hmm, that last one may already be on the casualty list.

Getting to know: Ray Kelvin

Ray Kelvin, founder and chief executive of fashion chain Ted Baker, doesn’t like showing his face in public. When his picture is taken, he partially covers it with props: a bowler hat, a taxi sign, a shoe. “I’m an ugly bugger,” he explained once. Alas, the parts of his face he doesn’t hide have been making frequent appearances in the media since it emerged that dozens of current or former head office staff have made complaints about his alleged behaviour, which seems to centre on “forced hugs”. A petition signed by more than 1,000 people, thought to include about 200 current or former employees, has called for an end to it all, saying “It is part of a culture that leaves harassment unchallenged”. The company, which Londoner Kelvin started as a shirt shop in Glasgow, said: “Hugs have become part of Ted Baker’s culture, but are absolutely not insisted upon.” Oh dear. New for 2019: a culture of personal space.

The list: highest-earning YouTubers

We’re all going to hell in a handcart, so why not spend a few minutes watching that handcart being unboxed by a millionaire brat? Behold, a new list by Forbes magazine of the best revenue self-generators on Google’s YouTube. (Jacksepticeye, an Irish video gamer from Athlone, came eighth with €14 million over the year to June 2018.)

5. Jeffree Star. Who? What? How? This cosmetics creator hauled in $18 million from make-up tutorials.

4. Daniel Middleton. The Minecraft gamer fell three places from the top spot, but given he pulled in an estimated $18.5 million, up $2 million, he probably won’t mind.

3. Dude Perfect. The five dudes behind the US sport and stunts channel retained third spot with $20 million.

2. Jake Paul. The Paul brother who didn’t show the body of an apparent suicide victim in a wood on one of his videos earned $21.5 million, while the one who did (Logan) fell six places to $14.5 million.

1. Ryan ToysReview. The seven-year-old daily toy critic has generated $22 million on a YouTube channel set up by his parents. That US college education must almost be paid for by now.

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