Wry & Dry

Chinese Claytons. Trickle down. Toolkit.

WA to secede?

Readers will be aware that China has imposed significant tariffs on Australian barley imports.  This is in retaliation to those rude politicians for daring to suggest an inquiry into the CV-19 pandemic.  Readers will also know that most of Australia's barley exports are from Western Australia.

Wry & Dry sees this as a perfect opportunity for WA to secede.  In so doing it will distance itself from those rude people, and get the Chinese to reduce the barley tariffs.

Cartoon WA says go away

Readers will know that the WA secessionist movement has been dormant for many years.  In fact, the question was put to the Sandgropers in a state referendum in 1933.  The vote was 68% for secession.  A delegation was sent to London to petition the British government to effectively overturn the previous Act of Parliament which had allowed for the creation of the Australian Federation in 1901. 

In classic Yes, Minister fashion, a UK parliamentary select committee was established to consider the matter. After 18 months it still hadn't considered the matter.  The matter was forgotten.

Readers will also recall Lang Hancock's revival of the secessionist movement in 1974, but it soon died.

Wry & Dry wants the secessionist flame to be re-lit.  And for a new country to be created: The Commonwealth of Western Australia.  Or CWA. With a population of 2.65m it would be the 143rd largest country, just behind Lithuania.  And with its area in km2 the same as its population it would be the least dense country on the planet.

But Wry & Dry's major reason for supporting secession is simple: for the AFL to achieve its long desire for Australian football to be an international sport.  The two Perth based clubs will be the international teams from the CWA. 

Chinese Claytons

Older Readers will remember a 'Claytons'.  That is when one pretends to be doing something or having something, but doing or having something completely different. [1]

Well, Emperor Xi Jinping responded to the global cry for an inquiry into the CV-19 pandemic by now saying that China supported a 'comprehensive evaluation' of the global response to the pandemic after it had been brought under control.

Wry & Dry congratulates the Emperor.  And dips his lid. This is a Claytons response of the highest order.  A classic podium finish. A worthy entrant to the pantheon of Claytons responses.

Cartoon CV 19 inquiry

Readers will know that Emperor has no intention of undertaking an inquiry of any sort that will even slightly embarrass the Chinese government.  But the media took the bait; hook, sinker and line.

Sigh.

[1] From Claytons, a non-alcoholic drink promoted in Australia and New Ziland as 'the drink you have when you're not having a drink'.  The metaphor lived long after the product.    

Hong Kong: 2047 brought forward

Exam question.  Yesterday, a spokesman for China's National People's Congress said, "In light of the new circumstances in Hong Kong improvements in its national security framework are highly necessary."  What is he really saying?

Exam answer. China is going to legislate into Hong Kong's Basic Law (i.e. constitution) national security legislation, by passing Hong Kong's Legislative Council.  No longer is it 'one country, two systems' (the way it was supposed to be for 50 years after the handover, i.e. until 2047); but 'one country, one system'.

Readers should expect the huge street demonstrations in Hong Kong to resume.  But, in the end, resistance will be futile.

Trickle down

The biggest shopping mall in the Yoo-Ess-Ay is delinquent on its US$1.4 billion mortgage.

So what? Wry & Dry hears some Readers ask.  Well the answer is that the mortgage provided by a bank has been sliced into thousands of little pieces, called commercial mortgage backed securities (CMBS) and on-sold to thousands of retail investors (as well as institutional investors).  These investors will soon see their interest payments reduced.  The pain of CV-19 lock-downs will soon be felt by retail property or income securities' investors. 

It's slightly different to the mess these types of securities caused in the GFC, as delightfully shown in the movie The Big Short.  But the outcome, will, for a short time, be similar.  Short term pain.  Unless, of course, the property investment goes broke, in which case the pain is long term pain.

Unclear on the concept

Readers will have seen this week's report of the United Nations that says that 'human development will decline for the first time in 30 years' because of CV-19.

And clearly noted that the author of the report has himself suffered from declined educational development.  How's this for a sentence from the report: “This crisis shows that if we fail to bring equity into the policy toolkit, many will fall further behind.”

Cartoon un toolkit

Policy toolkit?  Whaaaat?  That ain't a toolkit.  This is a toolkit:

picture toolkit

Readers will notice the robust carry case, the easy access handle and the wide array of tools.  Available from Bunnings.

Border wars

This week is a China Week - the stories keep on coming.  Readers will be aware that China's rubber-stamping legislative body, the People's Congress, is meeting from today for a fortnight.  And there is the pandemic Claytons inquiry; the South China Sea expansion; the sale of parts of Victoria to China (well, not quite, but 'it's too early to tell'); the Sino-Yoo-Ess-Ay trade war; increased control of Hong Kong; increased belligerence toward Taiwan, etc.

Allow Wry & Dry to interpose another Sino-burr-under-the-saddle: the Indo-Sino border.  Watch this space, but border incidents along the 3,500 km border are at their highest since 2015.

Sigh.  

We want our gold back

Consider this.  An investor some time ago lodged $1.7 billion of gold with the Bank of England.  And now the investor wants it back.  But the Bank of England says, err, sorry, you cannot have it.  What to do?

Well, the investor would do what Wry & Dry would do: lawyer up.  Which is exactly what the government of Venezuela has done.

The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street (as the BoE is colloquially termed) says that as the government of Venezuela is not recognised by the UK, it cannot take instructions from it. 

Cartoon we stole that gold

Whatta we want?  When do we want it?

Speaking of governments wanting stuff, Wry & Dry remains confused as to why Chairman Dan of the Peoples' Workers' Paradise Socialist State of Victoria wants the state to be part of the "Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road." 

The Silk Road is something that Wry & Dry has always wished to visit.  Especially its epicentre, Samarkand.  Trouble is that Samarkand is in Uzbekistan.  And Uzbekistan is some 11,705 kilometres as the blow flies from Victoria.  What's Chairman Dan up to?

Cartton the road to samarkand

Well, it seems as though there might be some dosh in it for Victoria.  Wry & Dry is all for munificence from the Chinese government.  But remembers that one should beware of Greeks bearing gifts.  Readers know that the PWPS State of Victoria is in a state of penury.  Someone has to pay for all of the level-crossing removals.

So we get Emperor Xi to stump up a whole lot of dosh.  And we give him the Mallee, a Claytons state. 

Cartoon a bigga numba plate

Meanwhile, at VicRoads workshop        

Are we just lucky?  Or a bit smart?

Readers will know that Wry & Dry views with suspicion forecasts, be they economic, sporting or weather.  But, well facts are facts.

Australia's undoubted success rate in treating CV-19, so far and as shown below, raises the question.  

Chart CV 19 deaths

Why are we so successful?  Wry & Dry posits a number of possibilities:

1. We are not dense people.  Certainly, Australia has the lowest population density per rood [2] of the countries on the list.  So we have more room in which to socially distance.  But Canada has a density almost the same as Australia, but its death rate is much higher.

2. We are an island, unto ourselves.  Certainly, but so is Ireland, and its death rate is much higher.

3. We have an amazing healthcare system.  Certainly, but so does Sweden. 

Or, put another way, what does Australia have in common with South Korea?

Well, Wry & Dry knows.  And will give gloating rights and a small bottle of something to the best Reader response received by 9am Monday.

Start your engines!

[2] Wry & Dry might have used square kilometre.  But rood has a nice ring about it.  Rood is an English unit of area equal to one quarter of an acre or 10,890 square feet (1,012 m2). A rectangle that is one furlong (i.e., 10 chains, or 40 rods) in length and one rod in width is one rood in area, as is any space comprising 40 perches (a perch being one square rod).   Got that?  There are 988.421 roods per square kilometre.    

Snippets from all over 

1.  Australian retail sales collapse

Australian retail sales suffered their worst-ever monthly decline, falling 17.9% in April.

Wry & Dry comments:  ...which was after the record toilet-paper driven 8.5% rise in March.  But retail spending is still up 5% year-on-year.

2.  Fewer babies in China

China's birthrate has fallen to 10.48 per 1,000 people, its lowest in 70 years

Wry & Dry comments: The number of Chinese babies born in 2019 fell by 580,000 to 14.65 million.  Australia's birth rate is 12.72.

3.  Rolls boned

Rolls-Royce (the aero engine company, not the automobile marque) is to cut at 9,000 of its 52,000 workforce.

Wry & Dry comments:  This is its biggest headcount cut in 30 years.  Logically, it's all about the plunge in demand for aeroplanes.

4.  US icon files for bankruptcy protection

Iconic US retailer J.C. Penney has filed for Chapter 11, ending weeks of speculation on the ways forward for the struggling retailer. 

Wry & Dry comments:  Another one's gone.  Another one's gone.  Another one bites the dust.

5.  Start your engines 

The U.S. auto industry, which accounts for about 6% of economic activity, came back online this week after being idle for nearly two months. 

Wry & Dry comments:  Only Tesla has a full order book.  

And, to soothe your troubled mind ...

Miscellany 

Last words ...

“...I don't think that the President should be taking hydroxychloroquine, especially someone...in his weight group, which is morbidly obese.” 

 -  Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker, responding to a reporter's question.

So caring of Nancy.  But, she's wide of the mark.  Virus-What-Virus-trump is 110 kilos wide and is 190.5 cms tall.  This gives him a Body Mass Index of 30.5.  At that level he's just, well, obese.

A lightly salted absurdity ...

Deepak, Wry & Dry's Uber driver ... 

...sighed as Wry & Dry hopped into the jalopy.

After the usual pleasantries were exchanged Wry & Dry asked, “are the Crocodile Mother-in-Law and Anjali on speaking terms yet?”

“The mediation is not going well. To mediate one would need to communicate with both parties, but it now seems that neither party wishes to speak to me,” said Deepak forlornly.

“What went wrong?” asked Wry & Dry.

“I laid out the facts to Anjali.”

“Dangerous,” replied Wry & Dry.

“As tactfully as possible,” assured Deepak.

"I like your thinking Deepak, and what do you see are the facts?”

“The Crocodile has a lover in Seychelles, aka the Hiatus, and he is the father of my wife, Anjali.  Elementary my dear Watson!” effused Deepak.

“Absolute diplomacy!  What possibly could go wrong?” Wry & Dry retorted.

“That’s what I thought, my mother always said that honesty is the best policy. There is a Hindi proverb…"

“Never mind that, what happened next? “interjected an impatient Wry & Dry.

“Anjali won’t speak to me and now the Crocodile won’t either.”

“I see,” said a circumspect Wry & Dry.

“But it gets worse! They are speaking to each other and I’m out of the loop!” Deepak wailed.

“Well that’s not so bad, is it?” said a thoughtful Wry & Dry.

“Yes, but they are planning to leave all the babies with me and travel to the Seychelles to meet the Hiatus” he wailed.

“Thank ye gods for Covid 19 and why aren’t the ladies speaking to you?”

“Because apparently, the Crocodile says I misrepresented the situation and that it implied certain overtones of impropriety. And Anjali says that I de-legitimised her, and that is unforgivable. She called me a terrible name! She called me a bevakooph kamena, Mr Wry & Dry!”

“Which clearly means...,” Wry & Dry asked.

“ 'Stupid bastard'. But no matter, I went on to gently explain to Anjali that it wasn't me who was the bastard, and that..."

“You didn’t! You nincompoop!” interrupted Wry & Dry with horror.

“Perhaps, in reflection, it was a bit unwise. She went absolutely…”

“Nutzo” concluded Wry & Dry.

“Yes, you could say that,” said Deepak.

“Despite what your dear mother said, Truth is relative, not absolute, Deepak.”

“Well in this case, one doesn’t quite know who is the relative and who is not,” Deepak replied.

“Err, precisely my point,” said Wry & Dry as he switched quickly from the philosophical compartment of his brain to the reptilian bit at the back, where one’s deliberations about reproduction seemed to evolve.

“But a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” said Deepak as he pulled into the curb.

“All’s well that ends well, had you just said that in the first place!” chastised Wry & Dry as he stepped out into the sunlight.

  - from the quill of Mrs Wry & Dry. 

 

Cheers

Anthony