Wry & Dry

Final FY-21 edition. All the news that's fit to print. And Barnaby, too!

FY-21 ends as it started

Melbourne battens down for winter rain, Sydney queues for coronavirus tests, Brisbane awaits Olympic Games confirmation; Perth queues for football tickets; Hobart frets over AFL team and Adelaide is closed. The same as 12 months ago.

Except for WFH [1].

Cartoon EOFY

But elsewhere on the planet, it's all change. Readers might have forgotten:

Tsar Vlad changed the rules so he could still be in power in 2036, when he will be 82. 

Sleepy Joe ousted The Trumpster as President of the Yoo-Ess-Ay and will also be 82 at the next election, in 2024. 

Princess Harry and Princess Princess showed their determination to keep out of the glare of publicity by having an hour-long television interview with Queen Opera Windbag. 

Emperor Xi, in a re-run, sort of, of the Prohibition era, banned the importation of Australian wine, thereby causing The Inter-parliamentary Alliance [2] to urge the people in its member countries to each buy a bottle of Australian wine. Touching. 

Cartoon Xi rockets 

The World Health Organisation, in January, concluded its initial report from China into the origins of Covid. And has found that Covid didn't have an origin. It just happened. Like the Big Bang.

Speaking of reports into things that went wrong, in an outcome that would have made an episode of Yes, Minister, the Victoria Commission of Inquiry into the coronavirus quarantine disaster that killed over 800 Victorians, found that no-one was responsible.

And, as predicted by Wry & Dry, the EU and the UK agreed the Brexit deal at five minutes to midnight on 31 December 2020.

Quote of the fiscal year: "I am shocked and appalled..."  PM Jimmy Morrison, in a shabby channelling of Captain Louis Renault [3], speaking of the actions of the CEO of Aus2Post. She had rewarded four senior executives with Cartier watches to the total value of $20,000 for executing an amazing deal worth over $170 million p.a. for the company (and its shareholder, i.e. we-the-taxpayer). 

[1] For Readers over the age of 50: Work From Home. Also, End of Financial Year. Complete Waste of Time. Story Of My Life. No Big Deal.
[2] An international, cross-party alliance of parliamentarians from democratic countries. It comprises over 100 MPs from 19 democratic legislatures, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Ziland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and USA.  
[3] Louis Renault was the delightfully corrupt Chief of Police in Casablanca. Readers should watch below

Barnaby's back

In a massive boost to the cartoon industry, former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has been ironically recycled. The federal National Party elected him to his former position as Leader.

Cartoon Big Barnaby

This is a triumph for the man, who, for unfathomable reasons, is nick-named Beetrooter. His parliamentary salary now more than doubles to $433,575 p.a. from $211,500 p.a. For a man who has to pay maintenance to wife #1, child support for four daughters from wife #1, "housekeeping" to wife #2 plus future education costs of, so far, the two children from wife #2, this is manna from heaven.

But not so for we-the-people. Just as Australia was beginning to be taken seriously in the world, we get thrown back into the basket of international ridicule. When was there last a politician so egomaniacal, megalomaniacal and self absorbed, who has no idea of working for the common good?

Okay, okay, The Trumpster comes to mind. 

Trouble at mill

Whilst Sleepy Joe was doing his Zimmer Frame marketing tour in Europe, down south on the border things are getting out of hand. Allow Wry & Dry to explain. 

Fact one: Middle America doesn't like illegals ("undocumented migrants").

Fact two: It would be folly for any person to think that Sleepy Joe winning the election had much more to it than a vote against The Trumpster.

Fact three: The Democrats have significantly eased border controls and have implied an encouragement for undocumented migrants to enter.

Fact four: Some 180,000 undocumented migrants are detained every month.

Fact five: There are midterm elections in 2022. The entire House and one third of the Senate go to the people.

Cartoon biden 3 policies

Wry & Dry predicts that unless Sleepy Joe pushes back the extreme left wing of his party and tightens the borders, as it were, the Democrats will lose control of the House and the 50-50 Senate spilt will become a Republican majority. There goes the chance to undertake sensible centre-left policies.

Emperor Xi 

In a disastrous blow to his standing, Australians have given the thumbs down to Emperor Xi.

Almost two-thirds of Australians now regard China as a security threat. And just 16% of Australians said their faith in China to act responsibly in the world was just 16%. And only 10% expressed confidence that Emperor Xi would "do the right thing in international affairs." [4]

Wry & Dry is now really worried about the Emperor's mental health. Given Australia's standing the world and his own mental fragility, how will he react to this rebuff.  To whom in Australia can he turn for reassurance and guidance?

Who in Australia has the deep understanding of the mind of a megalomaniac? Who bore the brunt of harsh and personal criticism and not flinched? Who has deep insight into the views of the Australian people and who can articulate them clearly?

Barnaby Joyce, come on down!

[4] Lowy Institute Poll.

Vaccination

Morgan Stanley, a massive New York investment bank spun out of J.P. Morgan in the 1930s, has decreed that its employees and visitors must be vaccinated against coronavirus before being allowed entry to its offices. This follows a similar requirement from Black Rock, the world's largest asset manager.

Of course, first you have to get people vaccinated...

Cartoon vegan vax

At the extreme risk of being controversial, Wry & Dry advocates that if a person has been vaccinated then he/she/other should not be subject to quarantine, mask wearing, border controls, etc.  

What the point of having a vaccine and a vaccination programme if you ignore it?

Newspaper brands

The world of newspapers is contradictory. The good folk at the University of Canberra surveyed we-the-people on 'news brands'. And the Australian Financial Review came on top, as the most trusted newspaper brand. Curiously, notwithstanding allegations of right-wing bias and having a nasty owner, The Australian came next.

Sadly, Wry & Dry's name wasn't on the survey form.

Chart brand trust

Readers might have noticed an inverse relationship between 'trust in the brand' and circulation. The mastheads at the right end of the chart, the Telegraph and Herald Sun, have the highest circulation. And the AFR, at the left, the lowest of national/ major city newspapers. 

Nice work. If you can get it [5]

Oh! To be so smart as to (a) marry a prince; who has (b) inherited a fortune from his late mother; and then (c) receive a $8.3m gratuity (down from $10.3 in 2019) from his father. So much for "being cut off financially." [6]

'Ardship. 

[5] As often said by Arthur Daly,  a socially ambitious, but highly unscrupulous importer-exporter, wholesaler, used-car salesman and purveyor of anything else from which there was money to be made, whether within the law or not, in Minder. One of the great British television series.
[6] Princess Harry, in a television interview with Queen Opera Windbag.

Big Tech nemesis: Khan do

Wry & Dry has dug a little deeper into the woman who wishes to become the nemesis of Big Tech in the Yoo-Ess-Ay (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, etc), noted in last week's edition.

Lina Khan, a mere youngster at age 32, is the new Chairperson of the US Federal Trade Commission. Ms Khan is an academic who has created a new framework for challenging Big Tech: it's not about predatory pricing (as Wry & Dry mooted last week). Rather, it's about (a) loss of choice; (b) monetisation of personal data; and (c) operating platforms whilst competing with companies that use them.

What really interests Wry & Dry is not only that she did her thesis on Hannah Arendt, but also that Ms Khan is a Brit, born of Pakistani parents. Hmm, family name is Khan. Readers might ask if she is related to any or some of Imran, Zahir, Mohsin, Rashid, Younis, Mohammad, or the glorious Majid. Wry & Dry doesn't know.

Don't mention the...

Don't worry about British fish, British cars, British brokers or British lamb taking over the EU. The big issue is UK television.

You cannot make up this stuff. The EU plans to slash the “disproportionate” number of British TV and films shown in Europe. And the European Commission has been asked to carry out an impact study on the risk of "British cultural imperialism."

Cartoon allo allo

Clearly, the popularity of The Crown, Downton Abbey and Poldark is too much for the Eurocrats.

But the good news is that there is no apparent move to impede Australian cultural imperialism. Home & Away and Neighbours are safe.

Green Lego

In a move that will delight the globe, Lego, the world's largest toymaker, has announced that it will move away from plastic bricks to ones made from recycled plastic drinks bottles.  A one litre container of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) from discarded plastic drinks bottles yields ten 2 x 4 Lego bricks.

The task now will be how to get children to recycle their new PET bricks. Perhaps the Victorian government will legislate to introduce a fourth rubbish bin type, in the shape of a Lego brick. 

Snippets from all over 

1. Biden infrastructure deal pruned

US President Joe Biden has secured a deal on an infrastructure package worth about $1 trillion, to upgrade roads, bridges and broadband networks over the next eight years.

Wry & Dry comments: He asked for $2.3 trillion. But what's a trillion here or there?

2. China spooks Bitcoin

China's move to reduce the 'mining' of Bitcoin has caused a 50% drop in the Bitcoin hashrate (the total computational power to mine the cryptocurrency) and hence electricity usage.

Wry & Dry comments: It also caused the Bitcoin price to crater:

Chart bitcoin YTD 

3. Oil

Bank of America has raised its oil price forecast, saying it might touch US$100, with an average of US$75 in 2022.

Wry & Dry comments: Just over 12 months ago, the price was less than $30.

4. Coronavirus 'Rule of 75%'

Canada says its border won't fully reopen until 75% of Canadians are vaccinated.

Wry & Dry comments: Still waiting for a similar announcement from Jimmy Morrison.

5. UK still #1 for financial services in Europe 

Britain remains the most attractive destination in Europe for financial services despite losing some activity to the continent as a result of Brexit, analysis by EY has found. Foreign companies invested in 56 projects in the UK in 2020, seven more than France, the second most popular location.

Wry & Dry comments: Couldn't be the weather.

And, to soothe your troubled mind...

Last words...

I do not think the traditional way, to let every employee come back to the office five days a week, I do not think that model works.”

   -    Eric Yuan, chief executive of Zoom (the online video company), told the Macquarie Technology Summit on Wednesday. 

To quote a famous prostitute, "Well, he would say that, wouldn't he."

 

PS A reminder that the opinions in Wry & Dry do not necessarily represent those of First Samuel, its employees or directors.

 

Cheers

Anthony