Wry & Dry

Bulging mailbox. The Movie. Brexit justified.

Invasion Day

Wry & Dry's modest mailbox was full when he opened it on Monday.   In what has been a first, all correspondents agreed with Wry & Dry's view of the inappropriate use of inflammatory language ("Invasion Day") to achieve what might be a laudable objective.  But there the agreement ceased.  Sigh.

The relevance of emails about Lieutenant Cook [1] (he was on a Cook's Tour and didn't even pitch a tent, much less 'invade'); an Aboriginal flag (counter-intuitive to the idea of a uniting Australia Day);  or Donald Trump (but happy to blame anything on him) remain lost on Wry & Dry.

Cartoon cook chinese

Wry & Dry suspects that the whole fuss about Australia Day is not what it represents or misrepresents.  It's just very convenient to have a public holiday in late January.
[1] James Cook held the rank of Lieutenant when he landed in Botany Bay, on his first voyage.  He wasn't made a Captain until his return from his second voyage.  Millions of Australian school children have been incorrectly educated.

Is it over when they make the movie?

Readers will have been reading about the GameStop/ Reddit share market trading phenomenon (retail traders beating up Wall Street hedge funds that 'sold-short').  This is mania akin to the Tulip Mania, or South Sea Bubble [2], each of which ended in tears. 

And any event that combines mania, greed, winners, losers and Wall Street is a sure thing for a movie.  And so it's all happening in Hollywood.

Netflix is in talks with Mark Boal - the Oscar-winning screenwriter of The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty - for a movie.  And MGM has landed rights to a book proposed by Ben Mezrich (whose book The Accidental Billionaires was adapted for the movie The Social Network)

Wry & Dry is wondering how Netflix can turn the GameStop saga into a costume soap-opera of four seasons-each-of-12-episodes, without sex or a murder?  Possible title: The Crown's Short Gambit.

Or how MGM can turn it into a wide-screen epic with Charlton Heston long dead?  Title: The Sound of Money or Three Billboards Outside Wall Street

[2] The Dutch Tulip Mania was when prices for the fashionable tulip reached extraordinarily high levels, and then dramatically collapsed in February 1637.  It is the first recorded speculative bubble in history.  It led to the seminal book: Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, written by Scottish journalist Charles Mackay.
South Sea Bubble was a speculative mania in the South Sea Company. In 1719 its directors offered to take over a large portion of the UK national debt previously managed by the Bank of England. The government supported this takeover. In 1720 South Sea stock was at 120 in January and rose by 730% to 1,000 by August. But in September it fell back to 120. Many landed and mercantile families were ruined. 

Jimmy the Weak

Readers always delight in the antics of idiotic but harmless politicians.  Barnaby Joyce, Pauline Hanson and Bob Katter are some who, if not luxuriating on the comfortable benches in parliament earning some $200,000 p.a. from we-the-taxpayer, would otherwise be accompanied by strong men in white coats and bewhiskered professors with hearing trumpets.

But Craig Kelly, the well-upholstered Liberal member for Hughes, not only falls into the same cage of idiocy as the aforementioned Three Stooges, but also is a menace.  He has been re-sending online articles about unproven Covid cures for weeks and this week sent posts that actually undermine the government's vaccination strategy.

However, it was only yesterday that PM Jimmy Morrison decided to pull the rogue MP into line.  But the damage had been done.

Cartoon craig kelly

Once again, Morrison's judgement can be called into question.  He had previously stated he was not going to censor free speech, even if it were damaging to others, much less his party.  Only when Kelly's media exposure exceeded Morrison's did Morrison awaken to take action.

Brexit justified, EU vilified

Just as Borisconi's head was about to be placed on a spike at the city gates for his fumbling Covid response, his government's rapid approval and equally rapid distribution of Covid vaccines have led to a change in his popularity. 

Meanwhile, across the Channel, the EU's bureaucratic blundering in vaccine approval and distribution has caused dismay across its 27 states. [3] The previous main concern of the agency that was handed the vaccine task was... food labelling.  Err, Brussels, we have a problem.

Cartoon harry lime

And to pour petrol onto the flames, the hapless EC President, Ursula von der Leyen unilaterally decided to impose export controls for vaccines, widely seen as a threat to prevent contracted doses from being sent to the UK. The outworking of this was the imposition of illegal border controls between Ireland and Northern Ireland.  

In typical EU manner, Ms vdL didn't have the courtesy to tell either Ireland or the UK about the controls, choosing just to issue a media release.  But the cat soon left the bag.  After furious calls from Ireland's PM, Northern Ireland's First Minister and Borisconi, Ms vdL was forced into a humiliating backdown.  Which drew even greater attention to the EU's bumbling vaccine programme.

This is another EU disaster that will be air brushed from history.  But sooner or later EU's bureaucracy, tariffs, quotas, farm subsidies and covert dirigisme will prove to be the cement around the feet of European prosperity.

[3] The UK has vaccinated 13% of its population; the Yoo-Ess-Ay 7.3%; Germany 3% and the EU 2.2%.

He would say that, wouldn't he?

Victorian Readers would be familiar with Eddie McGuire, daytime television quiz show host and president of the Collingwood Football Club (a sort of local Manchester United). Not for the first time, McGuire found both feet firmly in his capacious mouth.  The very short story is that he said that the day of the release of an independent report that found systemic racism at his club was a 'proud day' for the club. 

Cartoon eddie

Calls for him to immediately resign were more numerous than Collingwood supporters at a free dental clinic.  McGuire rejected the calls saying he had an obligation to fix the very problem that occurred on his watch.

And then right on cue, Chairman Dan, stepped up to support McGuire, saying he (McGuire) should stay on and fix the problem.

Wry & Dry loves nothing more than to requote the words of Mandy Rice-Davies in the 1963 call girl scandal that was part of the amazing Profumo scandal in the UK.  "Well, he would say that, wouldn't he?" [3].  And so does, for two reasons.  Firstly, Chairman Dan said that he wouldn't himself resign after 801 people were found to have unnecessarily died because of decisions his government made ("I don't cut and run").  Secondly, McGuire is a supporter of Chairman Dan and has been touted as a future Labor MP.  McGuire's brother is the Labor member for Broadmeadows.

[3]  At the trial of Stephen Ward, in the High Court.  In one of the great miscarriages of justice, Ward was found guilty of living off immoral earnings.  He committed suicide.  Readers may wish to read Geoffrey Robinson's book Stephen Ward Was Innocent, OK.    

So long, farewell

Readers with a political interest would not have been surprised that the Liberal MP Kevin Andrews got the DCM (181 votes to 111) from his constituents last weekend. Andrews has held the safe Liberal seat for 30 years, having won the original pre-selection by just one vote from a much worthier rival.  Andrews rose without trace and contributed nothing to the wellbeing of Australia, except the finer arts of local branch stacking.  Some Readers may remember his politically-motivated but disgraceful and false accusations against a Dr Muhamed Haneef.  

Wry & Dry's curiosity is that people were surprised that Andrews was publicly backed by PM Jimmy Morrison and Treasurer Josh.  Let Wry & Dry give Readers the whisper: Each wanted Andrews to go (fresh talent needed), but it would be a short-term political leader who didn't back all of his/her members.

It must be said that Wry & Dry's delight at Andrews' departure is not based on his very conservative views, but at age 65 and without hope of another gig, it was time to make way for a fresh face.  His selfishness in wanting to stay on for another three years tells the story of a man with nothing else to do. 

Women taking over

Women rolling men continues.  Estonia has become the only country to have both a female prime minister and president after, Kaja Kallas, 43, its first female prime minister, took office this week.

Women are heads of government in 13 countries: Estonia; Lithuania; Togo; Gabon; Finland; Denmark; Barbados; Iceland; New Ziland; Serbia; Norway; Bangladesh; and Germany.  It was 14 until Tuesday, when the military in Myanmar decided to give Aung San Suu Kyi the DCM.

Meanwhile, in the Deep West...

...the Premier of the Independent Peoples' State of Far Western Australia gave an exemplar of panic at the top.  It really was a masterclass.  Just one case of Covid and he locks down the entire state for five days.    

Cartoon lock down chickens


And in a Wry & Dry first, Wry & Dry does dip his lid to Chairman Dan for his more measured response to Wednesday's news of a couple of Covid outbreaks in Melbourne.  Well, so far.

Scotland the Brave?

Readers will know that Scotland's Wannabe First Prime Minister is pushing ahead as fast as possible for another independence referendum.  Wry & Dry has written to her, urging caution.  A report from the London School of Economics advises that an independent Scotland would face an economic blow of up to 300% bigger than Brexit and that it could not reverse the economic damage of independence by joining the EU.

It's all moot, however.  Westminster will not allow a referendum.  And if one proceeds it will be ignored.  The trouble is that Scotland's First Minister (Nicola Sturgeon) knows all of this.  So why all the fuss?  To get votes of course.  The next Scottish parliamentary election will be held on 6 May. 

At the 2016 election, the ruling Scottish National Party lost their parliamentary majority but were able to continue governing as a minority government.  At the same election, the Conservatives overtook Labour into second place, whilst the Greens overtook the Liberal Democrats into fourth place.

Ms Sturgeon is keen to regain a majority in parliament.  Hence the independence hoax.

Snippets from all over 

1.  Apple car?

Reports suggest that Apple is close to finalising a deal with Hyundai-Kia to manufacture an Apple-branded autonomous electric vehicle at the Kia assembly plant in West Point, Georgia. The vehicle would go into production in 2024 and would be designed to operate without a driver.

Wry & Dry comments:   Mobile phones are a $500 billion annual TAM (total addressable market). Apple has about one-third of this market. The vehicle market is $10 trillion. So Apple would only need a 2% share of this market to be the size of their iPhone business.  But the profit margin on mobile phones is much more than on cars.       

2.  River of gold...

Amazon had its first ever $100 billion quarter of sales, in the December 2020 quarter.

Wry & Dry comments:  And on that high note, Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos will transition to become Executive Chairman.  This leaves Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg as the surviving founding IT visionary: Bill Gates (Microsoft); Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google); and Steve Jobs (Apple) have all resigned or died.  

3.  Trans-Pacific Partnership

Britain made a formal request to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free-trade agreement that removes 95% of tariffs between its members: Japan, Canada, Australia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Singapore, Mexico, Peru, Brunei, Chile and Malaysia.  

Wry & Dry comments:  Sssshhhh.  It can now be disclosed that the UK now has a border on the Pacific Ocean...

4.  Hi ho Silver

The market moving power of amateur traders is continuing into the new week as the WSB/Reddit crowd turns their sights on silver after pumping up shares of GameStop and other heavily shorted stocks. But the squeeze was short-lived.

Wry & Dry comments:  Older Readers will remember Texan Nelson Bunker Hunt and his brothers William and Lamar, whose fortunes collapsed after they tried to corner the world market in silver but were prevented by government intervention.  From September 1979 to January 1980 they forced the price of silver to rise by 713%.  It all ended in tears.

5.  No change

The Chief Teller of the RBA left cash interest rates unchanged at 0.1%.

Wry & Dry comments:  The bank also committed to buying a further $100 billion of bonds and mortgage backed securities, so as to hold down longer-term interest rates and keep the currency low (to assist exports).

And, to soothe your troubled mind ...

Last words ...

“The EU's vaccine-ordering programme has really gone s***" 

 -  Olaf Scholz, Germany's finance minister, speaking of Ursula von der Leyen, the EU President. 

Ms von der Leyen's former gig was as Germany's Defence Minister, where she failed spectacularly.  Readers should remember that the EU President is chosen by the 27 EU governments.  The job description is, essentially, to do whatever the President of France and the Chancellor of Germany direct. 

A lightly salted absurdity ...

A teenager verbally abused the UK's Chief Medical Officer (Chris Whitty) in the street and filmed himself so doing.  Who punished him and what was the punishment?

a.  The local police and cleaning local graffiti for a week;

b.  His school principal and writing 200 times "I must always be polite";

c.  His father and being gated for six weeks; or

d.  His mother and having his PlayStation confiscated.

Close, but no cigar.  His mother, 47, went further and told her son, 15, to record another video apologising to Whitty.  She said, "I was horrified when I saw how rude my son was to Mr Whitty. That is not how I have brought him up and not the behaviour that I expect from him.”

Lucky not to be transported to the colonies.