Wry & Dry

Wry & Dry MMXV Winner & Loser of the Year

Wry & Dry MMXV Winner of the Year

Previous winners:

2012:  Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank

2013:  George Osborne, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer

2014:  Andrew Robb, Australian Minister for Trade and Investment

and in 2015...

Alan Joyce, CEO of Qantas. 

Joyce inflamed unions, the political and elite left and not least passengers when he shut down Qantas and locked out its workforce in 2011, so as to bring the unlistening unions to their senses about the dire financial condition of the airline.  He took very difficult decisions: pay freezes, redundancies and removal of some restrictive workplace practices.  The complexity of the restructuring was amazing.  Without such action Qantas would almost certainly have gone broke.

Qantas returned to profitability in 2015, to an underlying $975m profit from a loss of $646m in 2014.  It is fair to note that a decline in the price of jet fuel also assisted in the profit increase. 

Two key matters for W&D: Firstly, the taxpayer wasn't going to put any money into the airline, so difficult decisions had to be made.  Secondly, Joyce had the cojones to make it all happen, with a view to the long-term.  Turning around an airline is more difficult than turning around the Queen Mary 2.  And W&D hastens to add that W&D is no fan of Qantas as an airline on which to fly.  

W&D wishes that Australia's politicians had the same cojones.  The pallid, do-nothing response earlier this week of Napoleon Turnbull and Jim Morrison to Australia's exploding budget deficit and government debt is a case-in-point.

Wry & Dry MMXV Loser of the Year

Previous losers:

2012:  Tony Abbott, Leader of the Australian Opposition

2013:  Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia

2014:  Vladimir Putin, President of Russia

and 2015...

Yanis Varoufakis, former Greek Finance Minister (i.e. Treasurer), pushed Tony Abbott into second place.

Varoufakis was an academic, a professor of economics with a specialty in 'game theory' and a self-described 'libertarian Marxist.'  He was elected to the Greek parliament in January 2015, his first elected position, and was immediately appointed Finance Minister by the new government.  His brief was to reconcile the new government's contradictory election policies of staying in the euro and curtailing the debtor imposed austerity measures.  He spent the next six months trying to match his game theory with the Realpolitik of Anglela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany.  

He lost.

Varoufakis' intransigence, reality-denial and delaying tactics eventually led to a run on Greek banks and a worse fiscal, economic and psychological outcome than would have otherwise occurred.  Greece remains in the eurozone, but its people remain in denial of the problems.

Congratulations, Yanis, on allowing your ego to almost single handedly destroy a modern economy.  But, more importantly to inflame the sense among Greeks that their predicament is somehow not their fault.