Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras has good reason to be thankful for Brexit. Normally at this time of year, as Greece’s latest debt repayments to creditors fall due, the country is enveloped in crisis.
Yield on Greek bonds soar, bank shares plunge and extremists take to the streets and burn cars in blind fury.
But the 2017 talks with its masters in Brussels and Frankfurt have passed off almost without hitch.
With so much political effort going into embarrassing Britain over Article 50, Grexit has become unthinkable.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has won support for a £72.9bn bailout package
On Tuesday, Athens won continuing support for its £72.9billion bailout package by agreeing to a broadening of the tax base, further cuts in pensions and legal changes so businesses can write-down debts.
Athens looks to have won assurances that its burden of £269billion of debt, 181 per cent of output according to International Monetary Fund data, will be rescheduled.
The IMF has been at odds with the EU about the best way of dealing with Greece. It has argued that the debt will never be repaid and Greece can never fully recover unless some means of easing debt repayments is reached.
Brussels, having held out against any debt forgiveness, fearing other Club Med nations might demand the same, has changed its mind.
The remaining obstacle is Angela Merkel, who may not want to sign off on a longer term Greek bailout until she is safely through elections in September.
German taxpayers have never been too happy about bailing out profligate Greeks, although in better days they were not so reticent about flogging its citizens BMWs.
Greece has been punished severely by the EU. As a result of austerity, output has shrunk by 25 per cent, unemployment reached 23.1 per cent of the workforce and the jobless rate among youth 45.2 per cent.
Greek banks are weighed down by 45 per cent bad loans which means business finds it hard to get the credit it needs to invest.
Recent improvements in unemployment are put at risk by output shrinkage in the final quarter of 2016.
A nasty process has been avoided with the next £6billion loan repayment set to be forthcoming from creditors. Finally, the bungling bureaucrats of Brussels are starting to see the political error of past harshness.
Brexiteers can take some credit for that.
There can be few complaints about Adam Crozier’s seven-year record at ITV.
He took a bombed-out terrestrial broadcaster, forever moaning about restrictions on advertising revenues, and refocused on production which drove up revenues.
The result was a quadrupling of the shares and a rate of return of 24 per cent against 7 per cent for the FTSE 100.
ITV has made great dramas for the UK, such as Downton Abbey and Broadchurch, and ITV Studios’ hits, including Hell’s Kitchen, have gone worldwide.
The answers to ITV’s past problems was to close studios. Crozier moved in the opposite direction, focusing on high production values. That’s been good for investors and for Britain’s reputation as a hub for creativity.
The big question Crozier leaves behind is whether the ITV model of mass UK market advertising and British production values is durable.
Bears would say that, in the digital era, it is outdated and ITV cannot possibly compete with the production budgets available to Amazon, Netflix and the like.
Wrong. Fast-moving consumer goods companies need large-scale audiences, and ITV has shown it can deliver them directly to the sofa.
The skills necessary for good programmes are built up over generations and are not easily replicated. Money, as Hollywood producers of epic flops could testify, does not guarantee a hit for general viewing.
Would an overseas bid be welcome? Regulator Ofcom’s answer should be ‘no’. Does Crozier deserve a ‘golden goodbye’?
The answer to that is also ‘no’. He already has been rewarded handsomely for his efforts, including a peak earning year when he took home £8million. Enough is enough.
There was some stock market disappointment in Sainsbury’s third profits decline in as many years.
Investors (including this writer) shouldn’t despair. Sainsbury’s switch to online through Argos and its grocery service are significant steps in the right direction.
And, encouragingly, it is working to make sure the supposed squeeze on household incomes is mitigated by being robust with its supply chain. The direction is sensible, but patience will be required.