Wry & Dry

The sky is not falling. The Haggis. Wot, no live feed.

As the world reels from O'Micron, the Irish sourced mutation of covid, Wry & Dry focusses on the bigger issues:

At Wry & Dry's desk: Miscellany 

In Australia:  The sky is not falling, not today. 

In Scotland: Scotland's next currency will be called The Haggis.

In New York: The most lurid trial since the Profumo scandal has commenced.  But, wot!  No live feed. 

In Canberra: Another outbreak of RDS.

In Athens: a new fund raiser

In Europe: Inflation: spot the trend. 

In China: Women's tennis given the DCM. 

Habits: The Virgin Malika?

At Wry & Dry's desk

Michel Barnier: former EU negotiator for non-Brexit got the DCM in the first round in his quest to become the next French President.

Chairman Dan: hints at ending rules that lock out the unvaxxed (as exclusively foreshadowed).

Angela Merkel: has imposed virtual lockdown on Germany's unvaxxed.

Kamala Harris: another setback: second senior aide in a month to give themselves the DCM.

US Supreme Court: soon to decide on restricting abortion rights.

Scott Morrison: circles the wagons even more as the final parliamentary sitting weeks descended into mobocracy.  

The sky is not falling.  Not today. 

The good news was that the news wasn't that bad.  Australia's GDP fell only 1.9% in the September quarter.  The economics gurus had forecast a fall of 2.7%.  Annual growth to September was 3.9%, much better than the 3% expected.

Treasurer Josh spun the news faster than Wry & Dry's clothes dryer (that's the top one, isn't it, dear?).  Which is, sort of, okay.  Josh has managed things well.

But.  There are three critical observations.

Firstly, the good news masks the bad.  Australia's economic success in the covid era is a result of extraordinary government intervention.  The ability of Australia to sustainably perform above average is dependent upon Quarry Australia. Sure, we will still export foodstuffs, education, and tourism. But they do not make the big difference.

Secondly, there is a political head-in-the-sand from all parties.  Mark Wry & Dry's words, the covid-induced fiscal profligacy will morph into everyday fiscal profligacy.  Treasurer Josh has closed the door on 'budget repair'.  And the term budget repair has never been in the lexicon of state premiers, especially those of Victoria and Queensland.

Thirdly, what chance the Coalition of undertaking serious structural and tax reform?  Jimmy Morrison remains bewildered that he is actually Prime Minister.  Like the deer frozen in the spotlight, he is not inclined to take action, not even to save himself. No chance there.  

What chance Labor?  The Man Who Never Was [1] knows that the upcoming election is his last chance at the top gig.  And to do what Willy Shorten couldn't do. He's not going to take a risk.  No chance there.

What chance the Greens?  Their environmental concerns hide a weird potpourri of economic idiocy and ideological wokedom.  No chance there.

What chance the Independents?  Their only concern is getting re-elected, as employment opportunities otherwise would be slender.  Their policy backbone has the solidity of porridge.  No chance there.

The sky is not falling.  Not today.

[1] Anthony Albanese.

Scotland's new currency

Scottish National Party delegates have called for preparations for a Scottish central bank, to be set up after independence.  This is all about a desire for a Scottish currency.

cartoon scottish devalution

Wry & Dry considers this is a fine idea.  But, well, oops.  Scotland isn't independent.   Independence hasn't again been put to the people.  And Borisconi has made it clear that it wouldn't be.  And the latest polling shows that another independence vote would again be lost.  Still, these people have to do something.

And, importantly, the name Bank of Scotland is already taken. [2].  Perhaps the Scots could use GoFundMe and buy the name from its London based owner.

The bigger issue is what name to give to the mooted Scottish currency?

Clearly it would need to reflect Scotland as much as the euro reflects Europe's European-ness and the zloty Poland's zloty-ness.  Wry & Dry can think of no better icon to represent Scottishness than haggis.    

Haggis is a delightful concoction of offal and oatmeal wrapped in a sheep's stomach.  And best consumed well-drizzled with Scotch whisky.  The haggis, and the ceremony surrounding its presentation [3], is Scotland's finest export.  And it is surely, well, unique - no other country has anything remotely similar.

The symbol for The Haggis would be '∞' - the symbol for infinity i.e. the time it would be before Scotland was fiscally self-sufficient.   

[2]  The Bank of Scotland is a clearing and commercial bank, now owned by Lloyds Bank.  Lloyds Bank is based in London.  It is different to the Royal Bank of Scotland, which is a subsidiary of NatWest Bank.  NatWest is based in London.
[3]  The Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote "Address to a Haggis" to celebrate his appreciation of the Haggis. The poem is always the first item on the programme of Burns' Suppers. The haggis is piped in, carried in on a silver salver at the start of the proceedings.  One of the invited guests then recites the poem (in Scottish Gaelic!) before the theatrical cutting of the haggis with the ceremonial dirk (knife).

Wot.  No live feed?

The most sensational and lurid trial since the UK's Profumo Affair in 1963 [4] has begun in New York.  The curtain rose on Monday of the trial of British former socialite Ghislaine Maxwell on a host of sexual abuse and procurement charges.  Ms. Maxwell's association/ relationship with Jeffrey Epstein (now rotting in hell) will be the subject of weeks of testimony.

Famous names already named include Prince I-Wasn't-There-And-If-I-Were-She-Was-Over-18 Andrew, The Trumpster and Willy Clinton.  All enjoyed all the benefits, broadly defined, of a private jet.  

cartoon private jet

With the chance to be associated with such names, Wry & Dry ponders that Croesus Turnbull was somehow pondering how he might get a mention.  Not as an abuser, of course.  Perhaps as rescuer.  Or commentator.  He likes flying in private jets.

So hold Netflix, Opera Windbag and Disney.  This is made for all-day television viewing.  The curious, salacious and wannabe titillated were salivating like Pavlov's dogs. The popcorn and Bud on hand.

Err, hang on.  Which channel, Norm? Can't find it.  Too bad.  It's not being televised. 

Unlike many trials in the US, cameras and recording devices are banned in the New York Federal Court.

Back to Opera. 

[4]  The Profumo affair was arguably the largest 'sleaze' scandal in twentieth-century British politics, which is certainly saying something, there being so many.  It took down not only Profumo, a government minister, but also Harold Macmillan, the Prime Minister.  Profumo's, err, girlfriend Christine Keeler was an associate of a Stephen Ward, who in turn was a Soviet spy.  Ward was charged with a series of immorality offences. Correctly perceiving himself as a scapegoat for the misdeeds of others, Ward took a fatal overdose during the final stages of his trial.  The human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robinson wrote a book,  Stephen Ward was Innocent, OK.  A woman named Mandy Rice-Davies was also involved.  But Wry & Dry would say that, wouldn't he.

RDS just won't go away

Wry & Dry continues to be astounded that the world focusses on covid and Delta and O'Micron.  Where is the focus on RDS [5].  This is just devastating many people.

The latest is former Australian Foreign Minister for Countries-With-Boutique-Shopping-Capital-Cities-in-the-Northern-Hemisphere: Julie Bishop.    Ms. Bishop clearly couldn't let an opportunity pass to add her tuppence worth on the Oz-Franco submarine spat.  "Canberra's diplomacy had been missing in action," and that Australia had "alienated a very strong partner and friend in France."

cartoon tummy

This woman really doesn't get it.  If she were a smart former foreign minister, she would know that:

  • Macron de Gaulle is delighted to play the aggrieved victim.  And he does it so well.  He has sucked her in, as well.
  • If she really were a diplomat, she would know that her comments are undiplomatic in the extreme.
  • Loyalty to the hand that fed you is an honourable trait.  And vice-versa.

Maybe, just maybe she's not all that bright.

[5] Relevance Deprivation Syndrome

Fund raising

Readers will have to dip their lids to the Greeks.  Greek residents over 60 years old are now required to be vaxxed, or be fined €100.  The penalty would be added to tax bills.  And the funds obtained would go directly to Greek hospitals.

Hold the phone.  The Greeks don't pay their taxes.

cartoon vax or tax

Nice try.

Inflation - spot the trend

Wry & Dry presents the below chart without comment.

Chart inflation

China: women's tennis given the DCM

Readers will recall that Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai disappeared, along with her social media, for her online accusation of abuse at the hands of a senior CCP official.  The outrage in the tennis world and beyond led the Chinese to create images and videos of her existence.  And the International Olympic Committee President even had a 30-minute online interview with her.  But Miss Peng, her answers guided by an on hand official, was never asked about the sexual abuses' claims and the subsequent whitewash.

Step in the Women's Tennis Association [6].  On Wednesday, it suspended all tournaments in China, including Hong Kong (no mention of Taiwan).  “While we now know where Peng is, I have serious doubts that she is free, safe and not subject to censorship, coercion and intimidation,” said Steve Simon, the CEO the WTA. 

This is a gutsy move.  And contrasts with the move of the IOC, which only wants the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics to be a success, without controversy.

Wry & Dry posits that the only way that Miss Peng can be assured of not being "subject to censorship, coercion and intimidation" is if she is no longer in China.  Nor her family.  It's Emperor Xi's way or the highway.

cartoon cannot be serious

Of course, there have been zero tennis tournaments in China for two years because of covid.  And that is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.

[6]  The WTA was founded by Billie Jean King in 1973.  She was supported by eight other players, including Judy Dalton.

Habits

The European Commission has published an 'inclusive' guidebook, banning words such as 'man-made' (= human-induced) and 'ladies and gentlemen' (= colleagues).  Ho hum.

But wait!  There's more.  The guidebook banned references to Christmas.  On that basis Wry & Dry would suggest that Ramadan, Pentecost, Diwali, Navratri, etc be also banned.  Nuh, only Christmas was banned.

But wait!  There's even more.  Christian names would also be banned: 'Mary' and 'John' were proposed to be replaced by 'Malika' and Julio'.

Of course, The Virgin Malika.  How, well, woke.  Discrimination is perhaps in the eyes of the beholder...

cartoon woke

Yes, the howls of outrage from all parts, including from the Commissions' President, ensure that the document would be withdrawn. 

Helena Dalli, the European Commissioner responsible for equality, said the guidebook, which was issued about four weeks ago, "clearly needed more work".  She helpfully added, "It is not a mature document."

Wry & Dry submits to the court of public opinion exhibit N, where N is a very large number, of why Brexit occurred. 

Snippets from all over 

1. Working for turkeys

Turkey’s finance minister, Lutfi Elvan, has resigned amid a sharp plunge in the lira.  His resignation came after Turkey’s central bank announced a return to a controversial policy of intervening in currency markets in an attempt to steady the tumbling lira, despite limited foreign exchange reserves. The central bank said on Wednesday that “unhealthy price formations” had prompted the decision to sell hard currency including US dollars in an effort to support the lira. 

Wry & Dry comments:   'Unhealthy price formation' is a term used by chartists. Turkey is doomed. 

2. Mandate

After spending months arguing that the surge in pandemic inflation was largely due to "transitory" forces, US Fed Chair Jerome Powell told Congress on Tuesday that it's "probably a good time to retire that word."

Wry & Dry comments: This is foreshadowing tighter monetary policy.

3. Twitter founder flies away

Fifteen years after he co-founded the company, Jack Dorsey resigned as CEO of Twitter on Monday, saying he wanted the company to move on from its founders.

Wry & Dry comments: Dorsey remains CEO of Square Inc, the acquirer of Afterpay (crafted as a merger, which fooled nobody, except the shareholders in Afterpay).

4. Victoria the weakest state

Victoria will emerge from Covid-19 with the weakest financial position of all Australian states and territories and have triple the level of debt than before the pandemic (S&P Global Ratings).

Wry & Dry comments: With the highest number of covid related deaths and the highest number of cases it's hardly surprising.  Hang on, Melbourne was the most locked down city on the planet.  Something didn't work. Chairman Dan didn't respond to requests for a comment.   

5. German inflation up.  A lot.

German inflation rose 6% in the year to November, the highest level since 1992.

Wry & Dry comments: Don't panic.  It is probable that this is transitional rather than embedded inflation.

And, to soothe your troubled mind...

Last words...

“[It’s] an economic contraction that we’ve never seen before, ever.”

 -  Abdallah Al Dardari, the head of the UN Development Programme for Afghanistan, speaking about the expected 20% contraction in Afghanistan's economy within 12 months.  It took Syria 5 years to lose 20% of its GDP.  

The humanitarian consequences will be enormous.  Sleepy Joe, come on down.

 

Wry & Dry will take a break.  Wry & Dry's final 2021 issue will be Friday 17 December.  And will resume, energetically, on Friday 4 February - unless the sky falls.

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

Cheers

Anthony