Wry & Dry

Super shambles. Another failed state. French are not girt.

Wry & Dry takes a more ecumenical approach this week, sensitive to readers' need to be nourished with cerebral matters in addition to politics and the sordid matter of money.

But firstly, the news of the week.

The highlight had to be the announcement to a stunned room of economists and reporters from the Central Statistics Office in Dublin that the Irish economy grew at 26% in 2015!  

This is somewhat above the previous estimate of 7.8%.  You can laugh.  Well, W&D did.  But it is true.  

Ireland is a small economy with a very low company tax rate, and it's a magnet for US companies wanting to lower their tax bills.  Large companies bringing their global profits to a small economy can distort statistics. 

The UK Conservative Party has wasted no time in choosing a new leader and Prime Minister, Theresa May.  W&D is not sure that she will be another Margaret Thatcher.  But she certainly seems to have more backbone than many of her peers.  

Her appointment of Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary (i.e Minister for Foreign Affairs) also suggests some bravery: Boris will add a new meaning to the term diplomacy.*

But, but, but, Ms May having a spine doesn't necessarily mean being right wing.  She will relax fiscal austerity and certainly tackle corporate compensation excesses.  The latter will cause some well-deserved splutterings in the leather lounges of some London clubs.

In Paris, it has been unearthed that French President Hollande's hairdresser gets paid €9,885 per month.  Full time job.  That's about A$173,000 p.a.  Bonus: Plus expenses! 

As M. Hollande is, err, follicularly challenged, it's nice work if you can get it.   

Closer to home, Australia's unemployment rate edged up last month, to 5.8%, but gratifyingly there was a solid rise in full-time jobs added to the economy, indicating resilience in Australia’s labour market.

Pokémon Go hit the mobile phones of most people on the planet with nothing else to do with their lives.  An 'augmented reality' game, it has taken off faster than any IT item since the iPhone.  But don't ask W&D to explain, ask his children.

The Coalition eventually won the election, and with a bit of luck, some of the smarter people will understand how and why Chief Sitting Turnbull seemed to make a hash of it.

If those smarter people want W&D's reflective mind:

Firstly, the election was effectively lost before it was called.  Turnbull and Treasurer Morrison spent 6 months faffing around, running every fiscal-austerity measure (no matter how daft) up the flagpole of public opinion.  And then hastily hauling it down again as each fiscally-adversely-affected group hit the media with tales of indescribable woe and misery.  So no-one knew what the government stood for.

Secondly, the massive vote for nutters such as Pauline Hanson does not reflect those parties' headline policies.  No-one can tell W&D that people really had read Xenophon's or Hanson's policies.  Their vote was a demand for stronger leadership from Liberal (or Labor), not a vote for racism or South Australia.

Thirdly, Turnbull should have spent less time on the ABC (especially Q&A) and more time in pubs in regional Australia. 

Fourthly, Assistant Treasurer Kelly O'Dwyer can bleat all she likes about the superannuation changes affecting only 4% of people (which somehow makes it all okay?).  But that is not what people heard.  They heard 'retrospective'.  

And they were, and are, right.

Now that W&D has got that off his chest...

W&D this week revisits the resurfacing superannuation shambles of the government; another failed state, and this one on the verge of either civil war of genocide; a Bastille Day (plus one) diversion into La Marseillaise; and the unsung delights of using Uber.   

Follow The Money updates the odds on the only key election still of interest, that for the US president. 

And, of course, Miscellany, to soothe your troubled mind.

Our sister publication, Investment Matters takes a deeper look at the UK property crisis; analyses the new record high on the US stock market, and why it's not 1995 again.  Plus the markets and stock news (Primary, Paragon and Ausenco). 

* For example, just two months ago Boris penned a limerick about Turkish President Erdogan:

"There was a young fellow from Ankara/ Who was a terrific wankerer / Till he sowed his wild oats / With the help of a goat/ But he didn't even stop to thankerera."