Wry & Dry #1-25 International year of elections. Open all hours. New political party.

Wry & Dry: a cynical and irreverent review of the week in politics, economics and life. For intelligent Readers who disdain the trivial.

Eight stories you may have missed

  1. International year of elections
  2. Open All Hours
  3. Next: Druids political party?
  4. UK – when politicians fail  
  5. USA – the dog ate my homework
  6. Iran – a tipping point?
  7. France – Macron couvert de ridicule
  8. Musings – Livable cities

1. International year of elections

As Readers passed the halfway point of 2024, they knew it was going to be a momentous year. And not because of the arcane controversy about the attractiveness of the Australian Olympic Team’s opening ceremony uniform.1 Really, such a fuss about a two-minute walk-by, buried deep among 206 nations and quasi-nations; where boredom sets in soon after the alphabetically powerful but colourfully attired Afghanistan team has marched by.2

No, 2024 will be remembered as an election year across the globe when democracy was put to the test and failed, but dishonesty succeeded. There has probably been only one honest statement ever from a politician:

“This year will be harder than last year.  On the other hand, it will be easier than next year”.

Mind you, the speaker didn’t have to put himself to the people. And his promise was fulfilled.

This week, Wry & Dry will have a slight election bias, pondering the US (in New York, he watched peak senility battle peak Pinocchio), the UK (he now finds himself, under a brolly, to guard against the landslide), France (M Macron has oeuf all over his visage) and Iran (the voting first round had a turnout of 40% – the lowest since the 1979 revolution).

But to assuage the few Wry & Dry domestic-only Readers, token Oz articles appear.

1 Global fashionistas ranked the Paris uniforms: 1 Canada, 2. France, 3.GB, 4. USA, 5. Jamaica, 6. Portugal, 7. Japan, 8. Netherlands. Australia: unplaced.

2 Actually, the march is always headed by Greece and tailed by the host country.

3 Enver Hoxha, Albanian president, in 1967. He was a communist politician who ruled Albania from 1944 until his death in 1985. He impoverished and isolated his country.

2. Open All Hours

Older Readers will remember a BCC television series, starring the hapless Ronnie Barker as the sole proprietor of a small corner-store grocer’s shop. A microscopic Coles, as it were. Residents of Hawthorn, in Melbourne, would also remember the venerable Chalmers’ Hardware store, where one bought nails by the pound and everyone knew what a brace-and-bit was.

Well, this is the world of supermarkets and hardware stores that Uncle Fester Dutton now wishes all across this sun-burned country. Channeling Maggie Thatcher’s cry of “Britain is a nation of shop-keepers,” he wants powers of ‘divestiture’ against the dastardly Coles et al. and Bunnings et al. to encourage a mass of small businesses.

Well, it’s not quite that, but it should be. Service will be better and community shopping enhanced. Yes, prices will go up and choices go down. But really, who needs a choice of 52 types of shampoo or 27 brands of breakfast cereal?

Bring back Ronnie Barker’s shop. And Ronnie Barker.

3. Next: Druids political party?

It took the world a long time to realise that the Greens were not what was on the label. Until 7 October last year, the environmental label of the party of its decent founder Bob Brown had become nothing more than a hanging chad.4 Now the chad has been fully punched out. The Greens have been subsumed by far-left anti-semites.

As a result, the Teals now have to work out where they stand: are they Liberal environmentalists or the old single-issue Greens?

And just to toss religion into the melting pot, a Muslim Labor Senator5 had the courage to cross the floor and vote against Labor. Gutsy stuff, but she will get the DCM from Labor (and yet keep her seat for another 4 years).

This is because of Labor’s current unwillingness to recognise the state of Palestine. But instead push for a two-state solution, which requires the recognition by Hamas and the PLA, amongst others, of the right of Israel to exist. A feat impossible for those who chant: “from the river to the sea…”

Alarmingly, and almost coincidently, a new political party is emerging: the Muslim Vote party. This appears to be a copy of a UK party of the same name.

This is most disturbing. As it would be if there were a Christian Vote Party. Or a Jewish Vote Party.

Certainly, each MP may have his or her faith and beliefs. But this would be the path to external players directing MPs how to vote. Even more so than Coalition MPs bowing to lobbyists and Labor MPs to unions.

4 ‘Hanging chad’: a small square of paper intended to be punched from a voting card, but incompletely punched so it hanged in place. The term came to fame in the 2000 US presidential election, where the result depended solely on the outcome in Florida. George W Bush defeated Al Gore by 1,784 votes because the US Supreme Court refused to order a recount of the 61,000 votes that the tabulation machines had failed to count. ‘Hanging chad’ entered the lexicon, along with ‘pregnant chad’ and ‘dimpled chad’. Al Gore did not spit the dummy and arrange an insurrection.

5 Fatima Payman was placed in the ‘unwinnable’ 3rd place on Labor’s Western Australian Senate ticket in 2022.  In the landslide against Miracle Morrison, she won the sixth and last seat.

4. UK – when politicians fail 

Older Readers will fondly remember the UK’s Monster Raving Looney Party, a delightful satire. Well, there is a successor, standing in Rishi Sunak’s constituency (i.e. electorate): Count Binface a frequent but always unsuccessful candidate.

In an election campaign of monumental tedium, this is a welcome distraction. His manifesto (the UK collective noun for a party’s policies) includes:

  • all CEOs of water companies to take a dip in British rivers
  • European countries to be invited to join the UK creating a new ‘union of Europe’
  • I pledge to build at least one affordable house
  • ministers’ pay to be tied to that of nurses for the next 100 years
  • shops that play Christmas music before December to be closed down and turned into public libraries
  • to combat the UK’s increasingly wet climate, all British citizens to be offered stilts

Wry & Dry had enrolled to vote in his electorate. But to no avail. Readers will be disappointed with the news, just in, that Rishi held his seat of Richmond & North Allerton. Count Binface came last. Again.

5. USA – the dog ate my homework

In a confirmation that Sleepy Joe has completely lost the plot, he has blamed, wait for it… jet lag for his Senility Hall of Fame performance last week.

Hmm. Let’s see. He returned from overseas travel on 15 June. The debate was on 27 June. That’s almost two weeks. And in that period, he spent six days locked up in the presidential retreat of Camp David, preparing for the debate.

Clearly all that practice at finishing each sentence was wasted.

But, wait, there’s more! It has now been revealed that he comes down for work at 11am each day. And time is set aside each afternoon for a nap.

Really? Mrs Biden, time to nudge your husband, to give himself the DCM.

Otherwise, in the unlikely event that the Trumpster falls at the final hurdle, there will be a year or two of an administration in which unelected advisers, party hacks, and scheming family members make critical daily decisions about war and peace, taxes and deficits, and how to stem the avalanche of illegal immigrants.

Then will come an unseemly event that will end with President Kamala Harris.

Ms Harris, of course, in shouting from every treetop that Sleepy Joe has all the faculties needed to be the president. Err, hold the phone. Small conflict of interest there.

The faculty that she has in common with Sleepy Joe is ineptitude but without the excuse of senescence.

The Democrats have to stop being nice and take away Grandad’s car keys. Break the rules and anoint a centrist to prevent 1933 all over again.6

6 As difficult as it is to believe, Hitler was actually elected to power in 1933, the last multiparty elections in united Germany until 1990.

6. Iran – a tipping point?

Just a little less visible than elections in UK, France and US, is the Islamic Republic of Iran. There will be a presidential run-off election later today (5 July), to decide the successor to Ebrahim Raisi, who was killed in a helicopter crash a few weeks ago.

Neither of the front runners secured more than 50% of the vote in last week’s first round.

Readers should not dismiss this as another rigged election. Well, yes it is, to a point. Like such thriving democracies as Hong Kong, all candidates must be approved by a let’s-rig-the-election-team, in Iran’s case: the Guardian Council. Any potential candidate with a hint of free will need not apply.

But Masoud Pezeshkian did. And got on the ballot. This is really interesting. Did the gurus ponder that the election of another hardline president would make life even more difficult for Iran and Iranians? And so a reformist candidate was permitted to stand.

Masoud Pezeshkian wants closer ties to the west and more freedom for Iranians, such as relaxing the mandatory hijab. He is smart; being an experienced cardiac surgeon. He is also politically astute.

If he were elected, it would not be the end of Iran’s meddling in regional affairs. But perhaps the door to international diplomacy would be opened a little more.  

7. France – Macron couvert de ridicule

The first round of France’s parliamentary elections was a disaster for M Macron, France’s president.

The far-right RN party (led by Marine Le Pen) received about 34% of the vote, with the left-wing New Popular Front on 28%.

Stuck in the middle was the centrist bloc headed by M Macron, with an embarrassing 20%. Curiously, the turnout was the highest of any first-round parliamentary election since 1997.

The second round of voting will be on Sunday, when the first three polling candidates in each electorate will fight it out. But France’s left wing and centrist parties have pulled hundreds from Sunday’s election to avoid splitting the anti-RN vote, in a co-ordinated attempt to keep the RN from government.

Why does all of this matter? Wry & Dry hears Readers ask. The answer lies in that underneath RN’s veneer of anti-illegal immigration, there rests extraordinary racist policies and economic policies that would embarrass Australia’s Greens.

Be careful for whom you vote.

8. Musings – Livable cities

The new mayor of the City of Melbourne would have been very pleased. His city has been ranked fourth most liveable city on earth.

This gave two reasons for him to head down to Young & Jackson’s.7 Firstly, the ranking has increased from last year. And, more importantly, it outranked Sydney, which came in at equal seventh.

Wry & Dry senses that the survey was undertaken some time ago. Melbourne received 95% for stability (a euphemism for public safety), and 100% for healthcare; each ignoring recent realities of youth crime and hospital chaos. Culture was an overstated 95.8%, education an expected 100% and infrastructure was graded 96.4%.

Vienna topped the poll for the third successive year, just ahead of Copenhagen and Zurich.

Kyiv suffered a massive ranking collapse, to 44%.  Perhaps its infrastructure and stability rankings fell sharply…

7 Arguably Melbourne’s most famous hotel, its fame arose from a life-size nude painting, Chloé, painted by French artist Jules Joseph Lefebvre in 1875.

Snippets from all over

1. Rubik’s Cube turns 50

It was 50 years ago that Erno Rubik, a Hungarian architect, designer, sculptor and professor invented the fiendish three-dimensional puzzle. (New York Times)

Wry & Dry comments: Readers will know that there are 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 different combinations of the coloured facets.

2. Nuclear: buy direct

The largest tech companies are looking to buy nuclear power directly from plants, which could meet their huge needs but sap the grid of critical resources. (The Wall Street Journal)

Wry & Dry comments: this confirms Wry & Dry’s view that demand for electricity will be much more than pundits predict.  

3. Polish help for homeowners

Poland is reviving plans to help borrowers struggling to repay their mortgages as homeowner grapple with the most expensive repayments in the EU. (UK Telegraph)

Wry & Dry comments: Polish house prices grew at the fastest pace in the EU last year, rising by 13%, because of loan support offered by the country’s previous government. So, the government caused the problem; and now will spend more money to fix its problem.

4. Boeing buys back

Boeing has agreed to buy back Spirit AeroSystems in a deal valuing the airline supplier at $4.7bn. (Financial Times)

Wry & Dry comments: Spirit makes the body of Boeing’s 737 Max jet. Boeing spun off the parts manufacturing in 2005. There have been recent, err, safety problems with the company. Readers can join the dots on who told Boeing to do the deal. 


Hungary takes over the presidency of the Council of the European Union on Monday, giving Viktor Orban a platform to spread his “national conservative” credo in Brussels. (Economist)

Wry & Dry comments: The country’s long-standing prime minister intends to use his perch to “Make Europe Great Again”, though exactly how he will do this is unclear. The presidency mainly involves chairing private meetings of European diplomats and ministers.


  1. Eurozone: Inflation fell to 2.5%.
  2. NAB’s online retail sales index contracted in May (-1.6%), and growth slowed by 9% year over year. The contraction occurred in all categories (including fashion, personal and recreational goods, and media), with the only exception being takeaway food.

And to soothe your troubled mind…

“I really don’t know what he said at the end of that sentence, and I don’t think he did, either.”

The Trumpster, responding to one of Sleepy Joe’s comments in the first presidential debate. 

Wry & Dry comments:  Unarguably, the most sensible thing said by the Trumpster all night.

Wry & Dry is on vacation next week. Back Friday 20 July, with a bumper edition.


The comments in Wry & Dry do not necessarily reflect those of First Samuel, its Directors or Associates.


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