Wry & Dry #21 Seeking privacy. Surrender. Price caps.

The week’s opportunity for drama increased daily, culminating in… Enjoy Wry & Dry: a cynical and irreverent blend of politics, economics and life.

Seeking privacy

The objective of Princess Princess and Prince Spare to be allowed to lead their lives privately is commendable.

But the implementation plan seems not to be working.

Readers will be aware of (a) an ‘unprecedented’ six-week Netflix documentary on themselves; and (b) Prince Spare’s much publicised upcoming autobiography.

The first three-of-six Netflix episodes has occurred, with much media in the UK and little in the US. So, success is difficult to judge. However, Readers might be interested in a review from a right-wing UK rag1:

“Who are the world’s biggest victims right now? You might think it’s the poor people of Ukraine as they’re bombed, shot, etc by Putin’s invading barbarians. Or… But no. The world’s biggest victims are in fact Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, a pair of incredibly rich, stupendously privileged, horribly entitled narcissists.”

And how about one from a left-wing UK rag2:

“The first three episodes were so sickening I almost brought up my breakfast.”

There will not be a review from Wry & Dry, as he missed the viewing as he was re-sorting his sock drawer.

1 The Sun

2 The Guardian

We surrender

When will the media finally have had enough of the Trumpster?

Last Saturday, in his never-ending battle to get the world to agree that he really should be president, the Trumpster suggested ‘termination’ of the US Constitution to overturn the 2020 election.

The irony, lost on him, of course, is that he is saying the 2020 election was held in accordance with the Constitution.

As for the Trumpster himself, his woes worsen day by day.

Yesterday, his company was found guilty of tax fraud. And the far-right novice candidate he loudly backed in the Georgia Senate run-off election was blown out of the water.

At what point does the world begin to feel sorry for him?

Price caps I – only if the cap fits

The state government that fought hard to disallow a new coal mine announced yesterday that it has reaped some $5 billion in coal royalties. Thereby turning a $1 billion budget deficit into a nice little earner: a surplus of $5.2 billion.

Which is why Queensland is not willing to participate in Albo’s proposed Australia wide cap on the price of energy. It would only do so if it were compensated by the federal government.

“For we are one and free…”

Price caps II – they would say that, wouldn’t they?

It’s come to this.

Some 79% of Australian voters support the idea of price caps on energy companies.

Did the pollster remind the voters that someone has to pay for the price caps? And that it would be they-the-voter, aka we-the-taxpayer.

Or rather, the taxpayers’ children and grandchildren.

Price caps III – it’s getting silly

The current “something must be done” panic by Albo over energy prices shows that Albo is ill-prepared to manage ‘events’ 3 over which he has little control.

His thought-bubble of energy price caps is now floating to the clouds, untroubled by process or clear thinking. Y’see, he has walked into a trap of his own making.

Firstly, he told we-the-people there is a problem but not that he had a solution.

Secondly, he realised too late that the eventual solution was actually up to the states. And, of course, the states will co-operate. For thirty pieces of silver.

Thirdly, provide focus on his government’s hang-up on getting more gas out of a land that ‘abounds in nature’s gifts?’

All is well for now, as the debate in the minds of voters is binary and the thought bubble is currently acceptable to voters (see above). But at the price of (a) future budgets; and (b) serious and sensible energy discussion.

3 “Events, my dear boy. Events.” Harold Macmillan, former UK PM, when asked what he feared most. And it were events that saw him DCM’d: the famous Profumo scandal. That was a delicious blend of 1960’s Russian spies, English prostitutes and gullible members of cabinet.

The jury’s verdict is in

President Putin insisted yesterday that he had not lost his mind as he warned of the growing threat of nuclear war and accused Poland of seeking to seize western Ukraine.

  • Lead article in yesterday’s The Times

On Tsar Vlad’s mind: the jury has returned its verdict.

On Poland: This is Hall of Fame spin of Legend status. His excuse for invading Ukraine is now to save it from Poland.

Whose opinion is it?

Last week, Wry & Dry opined on an opinion by a Mr Danny Gilbert published in the Financial Review. Mr Gilbert said, more or less, that it was compelling that all of Australia’s large companies supported the Voice. And he gave some rough numbers of employees of large companies.

And therefore, the Voice was a good thing.

Wry & Dry is sure that Readers wouldn’t find any view of an Australian company, large or small, compelling. And he adds that this is not confined to views about the Voice.

Firstly, the social views of companies are the death hand of virtue signalling, spreading like a virus from Wuhan. Sourced deep in the bowels of a company’s ‘corporate relations’ or ‘media relations’ department, these views are aimed at placating people who would otherwise create media relations difficulties.

Secondly, were the opinions of any employees asked? Or those of the shareholders. Err, oops, no. Soz.

Unclear on the concept

The headline4 was: Australia’s Rosetta Stone. Wry & Dry’s attention was captured. Good grief, were the Egyptians once here? Or possibly a lost Indigenous language could now be translated into English from the Greek?

Err, no. It was news of the discovery of a large fossil5 in a riverbed in Queensland. Perhaps journalistic excess?

Readers will know that the Rosetta Stone is a granite rock found in the Nile delta in 1799. It is inscribed with three language versions of a decree issued by Egyptian pharaoh King Ptolemy V in 196 BC. Its renown is that one version of the decree is written in ancient Greek, thereby proving the ability to translate the other two previously indecipherable languages.6

The stone’s other renown is that it now resides in the British Museum. And Egyptians want it back.

The stone is not the only piece of amazing Egyptian antiquity that is not in Egypt. Readers might consider:

  • the bust of Nefertiti is in Berlin
  • a statue of Hemiunu, the architect of the Great Pyramid, is in Hildesheim (Germany)
  • the Dendera Temple Zodiac is in Paris
  • the bust of Ankhhaf is in Boston

As for Australia’s ‘Rosetta Stone’, outside of a few dedicated paleontologists, it’s unlikely the Elasmosaur fossil will get as many viewers as the actual Rosetta Stone (over 6 million annually). But the headline sucked Wry & Dry in.

4 The Australian, 8th December.

5 The fossil was of an Elasmosaur. Excited?

6 Scripts, actually: hieroglyphic and Demotic.

Extending the franchise

Of course the Greens want the voting age to be lowered to 16. Anything to capture votes of the young and impressionable.

Wry & Dry is more than a bystander in this regard. Does anyone really think that 16- and 17-year-olds know anything serious about life? Or beyond social media, fast food and “whatever”.

This is not the same a driving a car, working or enlisting, as some would posit.

No, Wry & Dry wishes the voting age to be raised. To, say, 21. Or to an age at which people have experience at life. Especially the responsibility of earning an income from a full-time job and paying tax.

The cushion of being a student at the parents’ hospitality and taxpayers’ expense is a cushion against responsibility.

Lee Kuan Yew7 suggested, not entirely with his tongue in his cheek, that if people had children, they should be given an extra vote, as at that stage of life they really knew about responsibility.

As for the property qualification? Err, maybe not.

7 First and 30-year prime minister of Singapore. One of the great modern leaders, he built a prosperous nation on an island that had no natural advantages other than location and hard work. The only other modern nation to match Singapore in being built from nothing is Israel. But Singapore didn’t have to fight and win three major wars against multiple enemies or be under regular insurgent attack.


New York Yankees ‘slugger’ Aaron Judge has signed a deal worth $360 million over nine years. This is the highest average annual fee in major league baseball history.

Nice work. If you can get it.

They would say that, wouldn’t they

Readers will know that a federal bi-partisan backbench delegation is visiting Taiwan. Predictably, a mouthpiece of the CCP8 commented:

“The politicians from certain countries who visit Taiwan to seek limelight are like political god of plague and pestilence. They bring nothing but risks and tension to Taiwan and no benefit to their own countries.”


8 The Global Times


The French got excited when a law was proposed to the French parliament “to ban food packaging made of polystyrene from 1st January 2025.”

The problem is that they throw away 15 billion polystyrene unrecyclable yoghurt pots each year.

But then the French plastics industry started its quiet lobbying campaign. This week, a revised proposed law was released. It is now “to ban non-recyclable single-use plastic packaging.” 

The difference is that polystyrene packaging is now theoretically “recyclable” even though less than 2% of it is actually recycled.

And the outcome is that the use of polystyrene food packaging will continue, unabated.

Pain relief

Readers will know not to believe everything they read (except in this journal).

And so, it should come as no surprise that all of the media attention about the success of cannabis to relieve pain is hot air.

A study of 20 studies showed that cannabis is no better at relieving pan than a placebo9.

9 Journal of the American Medical Association.

One hat wonder

It has now come to brighter light that former PM Scott Morrison made just one decision wearing any of his extra ministerial hats he donned during covid.

That was as resources minister. He nixed a project for gas exploration offshore from the NSW coast.

Two MPs in marginal and coastal Liberal electorates opposed the decision before the last election, to try and appease local G & Ts (Greens and Teals).

Morrison’s intervention didn’t assist – both are now down at their local Centrelink office.

Snippets from all over

1. Almost a $1 trillion defence spend

The US House of Representatives has passed a sweeping $858bn defence spending bill that provides $10bn to fund the provision of weapons to Taiwan. (Financial Times).

Wry & Dry comments:  How much of the $858 billion will be wasted?

2. Bring down the Ayatollah!

The sister of Iran’s supreme leader has said that she hopes the ruling “tyranny” of her brother, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, will soon be overthrown as she called on the country’s feared revolutionary guards to lay down their arms. (The Times)

Wry & Dry comments: A gutsy move, as she lives in Iran.

3. German plot

Soldiers, a right-wing judge and an aristocrat with pretensions to become Germany’s new leader were arrested yesterday on suspicion of plotting to storm the Reichstag and overthrow the German government.  (Financial Times)

Wry & Dry comments: Ah, history rhymes, after all.

4. Blackmail

Hungary has vetoed €18 billion in EU aid to Ukraine.  (Le Monde)

Wry & Dry comments: Hungary has become a master in the art of exercising its veto power to blackmail its European partners. Viktor Orban is grumpy at the EU’s proposal to withhold €13.3 billion of funding from Hungary as long as the ‘rule of law’ is being violated in his country.

5. Price caps

Moscow insisted that it would not sell oil that is subject to a price limit [$60 per barrel]. (New York Times).

Wry & Dry comments: The US, the UK, and the broader west now prohibit their businesses from transporting Russian oil anywhere in the world, or providing services such as insurance, unless Moscow sells its oil below the price cap. Already students are planning their PhDs on the effect of the price cap on markets, demand, supply, corruption, etc.

6. Covid to soar

China faces soaring infections as Xi starts to relax covid zero. (Bloomberg)

Wry & Dry comments: But will the world ever know?


  1. The Chief Teller of the RBA lifted its cash rate by 0.25% points to 3.10%.
  2. Australia’s GDP rose by 5.9% in the year to end September, below expectations.
  3. US new unemployment aid recipients rose by 230,000, suggesting the employment marketing is cooling.

And, to soothe your troubled mind…

Someone wants to provide security guarantees to a terrorist and killer state?”

  • Ukraine’s national security adviser, on the suggestion of M Macron that NATO should give security guarantees to Russia.

The logical outworking of M Macron’s statement is that somehow Russia is the victim. Perhaps, given Russia’s activity, it should be Russia giving security guarantees.

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

PPS Wry & Dry and Investment Matters need a break! Hence, the final 2022 and bumper editions will be on Thursday 22 December. The first edition for 2023 will be on Friday 3 February.


Anthony Starkins

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