Monthly Archives: January 2014

In less than nine months, the Scottish people will vote in a referendum which could see the country break away from the rest of the United Kingdom.

A recent poll conducted by ICM for the Scotland on Sunday newspaper suggests support for independence is on the rise. Should the pro-union Better Together campaign be worried?

Probably not.

No matter what politicians claim regarding the closeness of the race, an FT analysis of the existing polling data shows that the “Yes” and “No” vote have remained relatively constant over the last year, with just over 30 per cent of Scots favouring independence, and 50 per cent wishing to remain within the union. Around 15 per cent are undecided.

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By Henry Mance

BSkyB and BT have both committed billions of pounds to sports rights over the past two years – as they seek to protect their positions as the UK’s biggest pay-TV provider and biggest broadband operator respectively.

So has either taken a lead?

The long view starts in July 2006, when Sky entered the broadband market.
It was slowly closing the gap on BT, adding about 400,000 more customers that its rival.

However, since the launch of BT Sport last summer, BT has added more broadband users than Sky – the first time in a half-year period since 2007. Read more

On Thursday Eric Schmidt gave a fascinating talk on technological innovation, in which he warned that broad range of jobs that once seemed beyond the reach of automation are in danger of being wiped out by technological advances.

I raised two questions to neither of which in my view did I receive a good answer. Read more

The government’s decision to axe the collection of land price statistics threatens ministers’ ability to understand the effects of their radical housing policies, senior economists and policy analysts have warned.

Land prices are a significant component of new-build costs and the rapid housing market recovery in Britain – fired by the government-backed Help to Buy scheme – has already sparked a scramble for land, particularly in the southeast.

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By Roger Blitz, Leisure Industries Correspondent

Should we praise European football clubs for creating an international labour market or criticise them for failing to nurture homegrown talent?

Take your pick. According to the Swiss-based CIES Football Observatory, the proportion of players playing at clubs where they trained is at an all-time low of 21.2 per cent. Five years, ago, it was at 23.1 per cent.

Among the top five countries – England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France – the proportion is even lower, at 16.5 per cent. All charts are from the CIES’ latest report.


No surprise, therefore, that the percentage of expatriate players is at a record high of 36.8 per cent, as the transfer market continues to flourish. Many of them are Brazilians, with 471, though in 2009 there were 538 plying their trade in Europe.

The most likely place to find a club-trained player is Sweden, Slovakia and Finland. The least likely is Italy, Turkey and Russia. English clubs are producing only 13.6 per cent of club-trained players, Germany’s proportion is not much better and they are both well behind Spain and France. Read more

Kate Allen

Aberdeen’s economy is booming. The gateway to Britain’s offshore oil and gas reserves, it has long helped to buoy up Scotland’s economy. And now with a wider economic recovery kicking in, it’s acting like Viagra on the area’s house prices.

Property values in Aberdeen and the surrounding area grew faster than anywhere else in the UK in 2013, according to new data produced by estate agents Savills exclusively for the FT.

Aberdeen has even outpaced last year’s hotspot, Elmbridge in Surrey. Read more

“I haven’t achieved impact. I’ve got fame but no impact. My son tells me I have the [worst] fame-impact ratio in the world.”

It’s a little odd to hear Hans Rosling complain about a lack of influence. Can a man who is invited to speak to world leaders, bosses of some of the biggest companies on the planet and organisations such as the IMF – and who, in 2012, was included in Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world – really feel insignificant? Read more

Martin Stabe

Surprisingly strong Christmas period retail sales data out today showed that UK shoppers spent 7.1 per cent more than in December 2012. Read more

London is getting younger. In contrast, the UK as a whole is getting older.

At least since Michael Goldfarb’s incendiary op-ed in the New York Times, there has been discussion about a “great exodus” from London. This chart shows that there is nothing new in recent history about net internal emigration from the capital. …

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Valentina Romei

Chinese exports increased by 4.3 per cent in December compared to the same month last year, while imports rose by 8.3 per cent. That gave China a total of $4.16tn in combined exports and imports in 2013, a figure that the US will find difficult to match. This leaves no doubt that China, the world’s second-biggest economy, is now the world’s biggest trading nation on an annual basis.

Chinese and US trade values were similar in 2012, slightly larger for China according to their respective national data but slightly bigger for the US according to the World Trade Organisation and the International and Monetary Fund. Read more

Martin Stabe

Will your area of London be affected by the closure of ten fire stations today?

This map divides London into regions around each existing fire station. In areas shaded dark red, the nearest fire station will be closed. In regions shaded lighter red, the local station will lose a fire engine or specialist rescue unit. In blue-shaded regions, the nearest fire station will gain an additional fire engine.

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Emily Cadman

If you follow a certain section of the internet, over the last day your news feed has probably been buzzing with obscure clues to cryptography, William Blake’s poetry, transcendentalism and of course Cicada images.

If not, you’d be forgiven for wondering what this is all about.

So what is it this all about?

Back in January 2012, on one the biggest websites you’ve probably never heard of, there was a clue. The /x/ (paranormal) board of 4chan, an anarchic image posting forum, featured an image, with simple white on black text declaring:

And so the first trail began. An elaborate rabbit warren of a hunt using codes and ciphers and requiring knowledge of philosophy and, cyber punk among much else to follow the clues – which included posters stuck to telegraph poles around the globe. Read more