Wry & Dry

The right and proper thing... Circular firing squad. Boring works... in Germany.

The right and proper thing to do

It is rare for a political leader to give themselves the DCM.  There is something in the DNA of these creatures to hang on for dear life, when the ethical thing to do is to resign.

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has given herself the DCM from both being premier and from parliament.  This is because of the state's corruption watchdog announcing that it will investigate her.  This arises from allegations she breached public trust in relation to her former boyfriend in 2017.

Wry & Dry admits that he is not across the allegations.  However, he has no doubt that any other premier faced with allegations of breaches of public trust would either stay in power or 'stand aside' until the investigation was complete.

Ms. Berejiklian has shown courage, integrity, respect for the role of premier and regard for the people of New South Wales.  

Cartoon gladys dan

When a prosecution is not a prosecution

Wry & Dry dips his lid to Chairman Dan.  In a masterpiece of bureaucratic duplicity, one Victorian government agency, WorkSafe, has charged another government agency, the Health Department, over the bungled covid hotel quarantine programme. 

Cartoon health department

This makes one government agency liable to pay up to $95m to another.

A zero-sum game?  Cash to go from one government pocket to another.

Nuh.   

The case could take up to four years. And we the taxpayer will have to pay what will be massive legal bills for each agency.

And the point of the exercise?

Chairman Dan and his operatives have arranged it all so that (a) seeming justice will be seen to be done  - i.e. WorkSafe took action to be seen to be doing its job; and (b) but no individual can be found to have been culpable. 

Readers will recall Chairman Dan's Commission of Inquiry into the quarantine programme. That inquiry achieved exactly what Chairman Dan wanted it to do: find that no one was responsible for the 805 lost lives, the 18,000 covid-infected people and the 112-day lockdown.

In this Spy versus Spy Victorian government versus Victorian government action the outcome doesn't matter. No individual has been charged, including any bureaucrat, minister or security firm employee.  And including the Premier who ordered the programme in the first place.

Critically, Chairman Dan will now say he cannot answer any questions on the Government v Government case, as "it is before the courts."  

Cartoon andrews defence

Chairman Dan has proved himself to be a political master without peer in Australia. This exercise in political and bureaucratic artform shows that he is a worthy heir to a latter-day blend of Machiavelli [1], Richard Nixon [2] and Sir Humphrey [3].  

Which brings Wry & Dry back to Gladys' courage, integrity, respect for the role of premier and regard for the people...  If Chairman Dan had half of those qualities, he would have done the right and proper thing 12 months ago. 

[1] Renaissance diplomat, philosopher and historian, best known for his treatise The Prince, which encouraged unscrupulous acts to maintain power.
[2] Former US president, who resigned to avoid impeachment over the Watergate Affair.  Also known as Tricky Dicky for his lack of morality.
[3] Cabinet Secretary to former UK Prime Minister Jim Hacker.  Known for bureaucratic cover-ups and avoidance of taking responsibility.    

Circular firing squad

PM Jimmy Morrison's coalition partner, the National Party, has formed a circular firing squad.  Rather than shooting the enemy (Labor) they will shoot down their chance of staying in government.

Barnaby Joyce, its highly articulate [4] and lowly IQ'd leader and deputy PM to boot, has taken political brinkmanpersonship to a dangerous level.  He will lose the deputy prime minister gig if the coalition loses government.  And so risks losing a lot of dosh; dosh he needs to keep wife, ex-wife and offspring aplenty in bread and milk.

The government will lose the next election for either or both of (a) PM Jimmy's bumbling of managing and communicating the vaccine rollout and the 'national cabinet'; and (b) the National Party's intransigence about Net Zero. 

Barnaby has been invisible on any aspect of covid management and certainly hasn't supported PM Jimmy.  But on Net Zero he has taken the Eddie McGuire approach [5] and appeared everywhere to state a point of view.  And hope that a very public Net Big Positive [6] stance will put him in a position to exact a high price for his constituents from PM Jimmy for supporting Net Zero.

Cartoon barnaby net zero

It's not only his own comments.  He acquiesced to fellow Gnat and Cabinet member Bridget McKenzie's AFR article assailing Liberal 'colleagues' such as Josh Frydenberg and David Sharma for their support of Net Zero.  And he has alienated the very sensible and fellow Gnat Darren Chester (whom he also sacked from cabinet so as to allow Ms McKenzie the gig following Barnaby's coup against former Gnat leader Michael McCormack) because of his (Barnaby's) tolerance of outrageous comments by Queensland Gnat George Christensen. 

Barnaby probably isn't aware of the concept of a circular firing squad.  Or of its consequences. 

[4] In the classic sense of being able to join a series of words together to make a sentence. The fact that the resulting sentence doesn't make sense is not relevant.
[5] Eddie McGuire is Melbourne-based television quiz show personality, former football club president and current commentator known for highly retail comments in support of his club.
[6] I.e. anti-Net Zero.

Boring works... in Germany

There were two outcomes of Sunday's federal election in Germany. A coalition government would again rule. And the new Chancellor would again be boring.

A coalition is inevitable with the German proportional representation voting system. The same two parties that combined to form government the last time will again divide the spoils, except that Angela Merkel's party will now be the junior partner. And Olaf Scholtz, her former Vice-Chancellor and Finance Minister (i.e. Treasurer) will now succeed her in the top gig.  

Herr Scholtz is as exciting as Frau Merkel.

Cartoon merkel vlad

Which is how the Germans like it. The two populist parties failed. The AfD (right wing) got 10.5% of the vote. Linke (hard left) failed to get past the 5% vote required to obtain a seat.

Germany learned the lesson many, many years ago that charismatic politicians can be problems. The USA has yet to learn the lesson.

Upcoming: winter of discontent

Older Readers may recall the northern winter of 1978-9, when soaring gas prices and panic buying of petrol in the UK led to the slogan "winter of discontent" [7].

Borisconi may have a winter of discontent ahead of him. Ballooning gas prices (see recent editions) and now petrol shortages (caused by panic buying itself caused by a shortage of tanker drivers) have caused his popularity to plummet. 

The fact that there is a shortage of lorry (i.e. truck) drivers across Europe won't cut mustard in the Crown & Anchor in Little Wallop.

Each of Borisconi and the Labour Leader, Sir Keir Starmer, has 38% of the 'better Prime Minister" poll. This is the first time that any Conservative leader has not been ahead of the Labour leader in this survey since January 2008, when the spendthrift Gordon Brown was narrowly ahead of the limp-wristed David Cameron. 

There is now talk of soldiers being brought in to drive UK petrol tankers. Oh, dear.  Wry & Dry has images of tankers pulling up at the wrong addresses, maps of Gallipoli in hand.  

[7] The UK Winter of Discontent was characterised not only rising gas prices and petrol shortages, but also by widespread strikes by private, and later public, sector trade unions demanding pay rises greater than the Labour government had been imposing.  The situation was exacerbated by the coldest winter for 16 years. "Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this son of York..." Shakespeare's Richard III, opening lines.  The soliloquy actually means that the unhappiness is over and a wonderful summer is upon us.

Double jab stats

According to the UK Office of National Statistics, the chances of a person dying with covid and having been vaccinated against covid is minuscule. Out of more than 51,000 covid related deaths in England between January and July 2021, only 256 occurred after two doses.

That is a death rate of 0.5%. Of the 256 who died with covid, 61% were male (being the weaker sex), and more than 75% were 'clinically extremely vulnerable' (i.e. had one or more co-morbidities). 

Wry & Dry senses merit in getting double jabbed. Just sayin'.

Leading a quiet life

The theme of the week by Princess Princess and Princess Harry, who live in a mansion in one of California’s most exclusive enclaves, was the cruelty of the rich world. Appearing at the Global Citizen concert in New Yoik, they pilloried "ultra-wealthy pharmaceutical companies" for not sharing "the recipes" to make vaccines that would save lives in developing economies.

They then flew home on a private jet.

Cartoon minority of two

Not for the first time, Princess Princess and Princess Harry allowed their emotion and exaggeration to get in the way of facts. Perhaps because emotional and exaggerated statements make for better headlines than facts.

The fact is that the problem is not "the recipes" (which Wry & Dry interprets as meaning "intellectual property" - clearly an asset in short supply in this relationship), but vaccine distribution.

There is no shortage of vaccine to inoculate the world. Manufacturers are currently producing 1.5 billion doses per month. Some 12 billion doses will have been made by the end of 2021, 24 billion by next June.  

What Princess Princess and Princess Harry should have been shouting, rather than belittling Big Pharma, is ensuring that those doses are shared out more equitably. But that would get less headlines.

Sigh. 

Astro

Wry & Dry rarely strays into matters of technology. But then Astro appeared. If Readers have been worried that mobile phones pick up and transmit conversations to Big Brother when not being used as a phone, then be afraid.  Be very afraid.

Astro [8] is coming.

Astro is an almost-knee-height robot. And is the latest technology to come from Amazon. Essentially, it's an Alexa-enabled security and smart home device on wheels. And, critically, it has a cup-holder. Its 'face' is a 25cm screen and it has a periscopic camera.  

This is the ideal Christmas gift for those who wish to show their friends that they have the latest technology. And then it will probably have the same fate as the bread-maker; the plasma TV and the electric fork.      

[8] Not named after George Jetson's dog.

Tempting

The German owners of British Rolls-Royce [9] have announced that R-R will go all electric by 2030, with its first EV, the Spectre due by 2023.

Wry & Dry was tempted. Until the media release fine print was read: a cost of £250,000 to £500,000.  Back to Astro.

[9] BMW.  

Is the era of cuisine Français over?

What's going on? M Macron, President of France and no longer PM Jimmy's bestie, has announced the foundation of a "training centre of excellence for the French culinary industry".

Err, is France no longer the culinary champion of the world? If a nation is truly great at something, surely it hardly needs to launch an academy to teach people how to do it.

Is this the white flag of gastronomic surrender by France? 

Cartoon snails

Couldn't come soon enough

Wry & Dry noted with drooling that the latest James Bond movie opened in London on Tuesday. The reviews suggest that Wry & Dry should suggest to Readers that they take a squiz when it's released in Oz.  Even the staid The Times gave it five stars.

But perhaps it will be out on video or streaming before Melbourne cinemas re-open. 

RDS epidemic

Wry & Dry is pleased to advise that there has been an outpouring of emotion for The Ruddster and his battle with RDS. One Reader wanted to know if his diminished sense of relevance was caused by the slow sales of his books.

Well, as the chart shows, only 8,270 people think his reflections on his time as Prime Minister are relevant. Hence his grasping at any cause, no matter how remote, to get more attention.

Chart book sales

But the same outpouring for RDS sufferers has not extended to Croesus Turnbull. The former PM gave an address to the National Press Club on Wednesday. Pleased with the sound of his own voice, Croesus slammed the nuclear sub deal (he pushed for and signed the original deal with France) and the AUKUS alliance and said that he had spoken to M Macron recently.

What is the point of all of this? It surely cannot be revenge for the Liberal Party giving him the DCM as PM. For Croesus is an honourable man. No it must be RDS. [10]

Wry & Dry guesses that it will be some time for the men in white coats to arrive. They are still busy with The Ruddster.

[10] Wry & Dry is pleased to note that RDS now has more currency in the hoi polloi media. A Reader alerted Wry & Dry to hearing the term 'relevance deprivation syndrome' on a Sydney radio station.

Snippets from all over 

1. Budget better than expected

The federal government announced a record budget deficit of $132 billion for FY-21, but it was $27 billion better that forecast in May.

Wry & Dry comments: Personal (more working) and company taxes (especially iron ore derived) were better than forecast

2. China's power shortage

China's power shortage has caused activity in its factory sector to contract in September for the first time since the pandemic. 

Wry & Dry comments: This could get messy. The power shortage has five sources, the biggest being a coal shortage and Emperor Xi's tough clear-air guidelines. For Australia, it's a two-sided coin [11]: massive increases in coal and gas prices; and threats to the prices of alumina, bauxite, copper, zinc and lithium.

[11] Surely all coins are two-sided.

3. Crypto no more in China 

Last Friday, the People’s Bank of China and nine other Chinese government agencies including the internet regulator and police, made it illegal for exchanges to provide cryptocurrency services to Chinese users.

Wry & Dry comments: The end of the beginning for cryptocurrencies, or the beginning of the end? 

4. Gas up the A380, Solly

Airbus announced that it is confident that it can deliver a hydrogen-powered aeroplane by 2035.

Wry & Dry comments: It also said that it would need state and regulatory support. Of course. It's a French company.

5. Canada - rates up?

Economists say that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau risks fuelling inflation if he presses ahead with the spending plans outlined in his manifesto, pressuring the Bank of Canada to raise rates sooner than planned.

Wry & Dry comments: Hang the expense! Trudeau’s Liberals have pledged CAD78 billion in new spending over 5 years, about 4% of GDP. That would be in addition to CAD101 billion in extra spending over 3 years passed in a budget earlier in the year. 

And, to soothe your troubled mind...

Last words...

"... about 12 per cent of our constituency are farmers, so 78 per cent are not."

 -  Barnaby Joyce, on a morning television programme on Tuesday.

Proving once again Barnaby's ability to 'do the numbers' stops at counting his parliamentary supporters. And his sheep.

Note well: Next week Wry & Dry is taking the week away from the Collins Street salt mine. He will return on Friday 15 October.  

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

 

Cheers

Anthony