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Wry & Dry #41-24 Dishonours. The Big Trip. Sins of the son.

Wry & Dry: a cynical and irreverent review of the week in politics, economics and life.

Ten stories you may have missed

  1. Dishonours
  2. The Big Trip
  3. Sins of the son…
  4. UK election: dead in the water
  5. Don’t try this at home
  6. Umpire v. Union
  7. That’s a bonus
  8. Ceasefire-negotiation fatigue
  9. Be careful for what you wish
  10. Humour update

1. Dishonours

Not since Roman Emperor Caligula1 appointed his horse Incitatus as a consul2 has a political appointment turned to such high farce.

It would not have escaped Readers’ attention that the former Chairman of the People’s Republic of Victoria has been appointed to the highest honour of Companion of the Order of Australia.3

Thereby throttling the Order’s standing of eminence because of a political debt. Wry & Dry will not recite the pages of reasons why Chairman Dan should have been appointed to a lesser level of the Order, if at all. Outraged editorials, letters to the editor and columnist comments, even on left-leaning media, will suffice.

Except to observe that Readers who might watch the current Netflix series Hitler and the Nazis: Evil on Trial would see how a megalomaniac successfully presents himself to his acolytes. And see the parallels with Dan Andrews imposition of his jackboots on the throat of Victorians during the covid lockdowns.

And, of course, it would be difficult for the Order of Australia Council to reject a nomination made by a prime minister. Join the dots.

Readers might ponder that it is possible that the appointment of Incitatus by Caligula was high satire with the implication that a horse could perform a senator’s duties.

With that precedent, Wry & Dry can only conclude that former Chairman Dan’s ability to perform a premier’s duties was similar to that of Incitatus.

And Readers can now look forward to the Australia Day honours, which will include a gong for Bill Shorten, for services to speechwriters.

1 A bloodthirsty megalomaniac, Emperor Caligula was guilty of incest with all three of his sisters, state-sanctioned murder, torture, and robbery. His reign (37-41 AD) was just four years before he was given the ultimate DCM by one of his guards.

2 In the Roman Republic (c. 509 BC to 27 BC) consuls were the highest elected officials. But with the advent of the Empire (27 BC), consuls became symbolic of Rome’s heritage and held very little power.

3 There are three levels of Orders of Australia: Companion (AC), Officer (AO) and Member (AM). There is also a Medal of the Order (OAM).

2. The Big Trip

Readers will be familiar with soccer players faking injury to obtain an umpire’s favourable whistle. Often, the falling player is not even touched by an opponent’s boot.

But nonetheless, the coward collapses as though shot from the grassy knoll and writhes in faked agony, hoping for the innocent opponent to receive a yellow or red card.

In this respect soccer imitates life.

Last week, a backwards-walking journalist was peppering former federal Treasurer Costello with worthy questions as Costello marched about an airport. It was clear that the journalist was keen on an incident as he tried to block Costello’s path. Costello was not going to cease his stride. The journalist, not having the benefit of eyes in the back of his head, then fell over backwards as he hit a hitherto unseen but immovable advertising bollard.

As he fell, he yelled, “you’ve assaulted me.” Really, faker? You call that an assault?

Come on, buddy, you tripped over. All by yourself. Just like a soccer player taking a dive.

Readers will have seen the video. Sadly, some assessed The Trip only by Costello’s goofy grin, or that it is just Costello. 

But a ludicrous stone throwing exercise exploded the incident: an absurd media campaign against Nine Entertainment4 by News Corp4 and Seven West Media6 that dominated the news over the weekend.

And all and any sins at Nine Entertainment were conflated with The Big Trip. So much for the maturity of the media in Australia.

Costello had the good sense to take The Trip in his stride, and gave himself the DCM7 last weekend.

4 Costello was then chairman of Nine Entertainment, which is owner of Channel Nine and the Age/ SMH and Financial Review.

5 Publishers of Sky News, The Australian, Daily Telegraph and the Herald Sun.

6 Owner of television Channel Seven.

7 Don’t Come Monday

3. Sins of the son…

A few years ago, Readers saw the hapless Prince Andrew, Duke of York, agree to a BBC television interview so as to provide clarity about his relationship with arguably the most famous paedophile of the modern era.8

The interviewer didn’t even need to provide a gotcha moment – the longer the interview the deeper HRH’s self-gotchaed hole.

Which brings Wry & Dry to Sleepy Joe. Or rather his son. The Old Testament exhortation: “Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children…”9 will be of little help to him.

Not that Sleepy Joe is going to be tossed to the lions because of his stupid son. But the conviction of Hunter Biden on three felony charges makes the climb back to the White House a little steeper.

Sleepy Joe’s Zimmer-framed re-election campaign has got another flat tyre.

The charges against Biden-the-Son were more serious than those for which the Trumpster was convicted two weeks ago. Lying on a form about drug abuse when applying for a firearm is felonious. But also brainless if you are the son of former vice-president, as he was at the time.

Y’see, Biden-the-Son followed Prince Andrew’s example. And decided to run the risk of very dirty laundry being hung out on the media clothesline for all the world to see. Had he pleaded guilty to the charges, all of the unsavoury incidents and behaviours (of which there were countless, and more to come) would have been kept out of the courtroom and the media.

But he didn’t.

Like Prince Andrew, who was found guilty in the court of public opinion and then excoriated, Biden-the-son now resides in purgatory.

9 Jeffrey Epstein.

8 Deuteronomy 24:16.

4. UK election: dead in the water

UK PM’s task to win an election from a 25-point disadvantage was always going to be Sisyphean:10 futile and labourious. It has now become more so. According to the latest polls, the Conservatives vote is down to 17%.

Y’see, the UK economy has ground to a halt, with zero growth in April. Mind you, this was better than the minus 0.1% expected.

The fact that a month of April showers in April kept shoppers inside and not shopping (hence consumption expenditure, a key component of GDP, fell) didn’t change the sentiment. Nor did the other much touted fact that the March quarter GDP growth was the largest in the G7.

Rather than looking at monthly data, smart Readers will look to critical long-term determinants of GDP growth, e.g. productivity. And see that it has flat-lined for 15 years.

Neither party has the cajónes to address this problem, much less any others. And it’s too late for Rishi.

Readers can expect the moniker ‘the sick man person of Europe’ to return.

10 In Greek mythology, Sisyphus angered the gods and was punished by being forced to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only for it to roll back down again every time it neared the top, repeating for eternity.

5. Don’t try this at home

In Australia, a ground invader (i.e. a spectator who runs onto the field of play) is generally frog-marched off the ground, or sometimes tackled to the ground.

Not so in the USA. This week, a pitch invader at a US baseball game got more than for which he bargained:

Note the security man. This is precision stuff. Sharp haircut, immaculate and neatly pressed attire, all the accoutrements suitable for the role, determined countenance, well-balanced on-the-run stance, state-of-the-art taser correctly held and steely eyes focused on the victim spectator.

Wry & Dry guesses that the spectator was lucky not to get shot with a more serious weapon.   

6. Umpire v. Union

Readers would be aware that the boss (John Setka) of a radical construction union (CFMEU) has threatened the AFL’s building and renovation programmes unless it sacks an umpire.

The umpire’s sin was not umpiring decisions. But in previous employment for being a construction union watch dog, as it were.

Wry & Dry senses that the AFL will (a) loudly say it will stand up to the CFMEU and not give the umpire the DCM; and (b) quietly give the union boss a dozen tickets to the AFL Grand Final.

7. Nice work, if you can get it

In 2018, 73% Tesla shareholders approved what is now a $48 billion compensation plan11 if Elon Musk, its CEO, met what were then hard-to-reach business success benchmarks.

Oops, Musk met the benchmarks. Now the company has to pay. “Sorry, our mistake. We really didn’t mean it.”

Some shareholders did what any American aggrieved at anything would do: lawyer-up. Which is what happened. The grumblers won at first instance.

Which is why Musk is again taking it to a shareholder vote, which was held last night.

Musk won. The case now goes back to the courts. Of course.

11 The bonus is not cash but options in Tesla stock.

8. Ceasefire-negotiation fatigue

Sigh. Yet another almost-agreed Hamas-Israel ceasefire is on the precipice of almost being agreed. Well, not really. Just as Sleepy Joe was about to open a bottle of bubbly, Hamas introduced new conditions.

This is Yasser Arafat all over again12. Will there be no respite for Gazans?

The latest proposal, like its forebears, doesn’t address the problem. That problem is Hamas’ grip on Gaza. A six-week pause in the fighting that might lead to a hostage/ prisoner exchange sounds nice.

But the reality is that (a) no Israeli government will retreat from all of Gaza while Hamas retains power, and (b) Hamas won’t release all the hostages or meet the deal’s other terms while Israeli forces remain in the territory. For Hamas it’s about power and ideology, not about Gazans.

It’s probably time that the Middle East’s fence-sitter got down from the fence. Saudi Arabia should recognise Israel, hold Qatar to the blowtorch to disown Hamas13, lead an Arab security group to occupy Gaza and twist Israel’s arm to eventually recognise Gaza as a state.

Unless something out of the box happens, Wry & Dry will be writing about this conflict in 12 months’ time.

And Albo will be still not able to return to his electorate office because of pro-Palestinian protesters.

12 Former leader of the Palestine Liberation Organisation. It was said of his that “he never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

13 In 2007, Qatar was, with Turkey, the only country to back Hamas after the group ousted the Palestinian Authority from Gaza. In one of former US president Obama’s worst errors, in 2011 he personally requested that Qatar provide a base for Hamas’ leadership. Where it now resides. Since then, Qatar has provided $30m per month to Hamas. In one of the ironies of life, Israeli PM Netanyahu supported Qatar’s payments to Hamas for many years, in the hope that it would turn Hamas into an effective counterweight to the Palestinian Authority and prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state.

9. Be careful for what you wish

The Italian Prime Minister went to Tirana to sign an illegal immigration deal with the PM of Albania.

The deal is that asylum seekers who land in Italy will be taken to Albania for processing. Those whose applications are successful will be allowed to enter Italy, unsuccessful migrants will be deported.

Too late for the photo opp: Edi Rama is 201 cm tall, Ms Meloni is 160 cm. However, it is the right-wing, but sensible, Ms Meloni who now has the stature across the EU.

The so-called “Italian model” of third country processing of illegal immigrants (i.e. Australians would call it ‘offshore processing’) has been popular with other EU countries, with 15 of 27 member states writing to the EU Commission, calling on it to follow Italy’s lead. No reply yet.

This is an example where leaders adopt a well-meaning policy (in the EU’s case, effectively welcoming illegal immigrants) that is adrift from popular opinion and long-term outcomes. In the end the reality of the policy’s failings become apparent. In this case, the demographics of Africa inevitably means that millions will do whatever they can to move to Europe.

And the silent-majority, fed-up with their voice not being heard, vote for parties for which they might not otherwise vote.

Consider that last weekend, EU parliamentary elections were held. There was one essential issue: illegal immigration. And the results were a triumph for centre-right and right-wing parties.

This is an exemplar of how voting for one policy (anti unfettered immigration) may have unintended consequences. For example: in the US, many will vote for the Trumpster because of his immigration policies. Or in Australia, for the Greens because of its environmental policies.

But what else is in the box?

10. Humour update

Last week, Wry & Dry alerted Readers to North Korea’s attempt at humour, whereby balloons filled with excrement were floated south of the border.

Well, the South Koreans, never one to take unanswered an insult (or over 300 fetid insults last weekend alone), have retaliated. Massive loudspeakers will be reactivated to bombard the North with propaganda. The South has 24 fixed locations, with 16 mobile units.

The speakers can be heard some 20 kilometres inside the North.

Well, it’s better than lobbing bombs across the border.

Snippets from all over

1. WFH

Wells Fargo [a very large US bank] has fired several employees for allegedly trying to fool their bosses into thinking they were working when they were not. (New York Times)

Wry & Dry comments:  Couldn’t happen in Australia…

2. Germany’s new conscription

Germany is to reintroduce a limited form of military service (Financial Times)

Wry & Dry comments: the model, which borrows heavily from a system used by Sweden, will be a “selective form of military service based on a voluntary principle but containing obligatory elements if necessary.” Readers will recall that Wry & Dry wrote about Sweden’s conscription model some weeks ago.  

3. Apple intelligence

Apple, a technology company, has reclaimed its title as the world’s most valuable company with a market capitalisation of $3.29tn, overtaking Microsoft (valued at $3.24tn) for the first time in five months. (The Economist)

Wry & Dry comments: Apple’s shares soared this week after it announced “Apple Intelligence”, an AI offering for iPhones.  

4. Benny quits

Benny Gantz resigned from Israel’s war cabinet in a dispute with the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, over post-war plans for Gaza. (Economist)

Wry & Dry comments: err, that assumes that Netanyahu has a plan. 

5. France goes to the polls

President Emmanuel Macron stunned France on Sunday when he called snap parliamentary elections after his centrist alliance was trounced by Marine Le Pen’s far-right movement in a European parliamentary vote. (Financial Times)

Wry & Dry comments: The first round will be on 30 June, with a run-off on 7 July. Macron is hoping that the happy mood of the Olympics (commencing on 26 July) will rub off onto him. Fat chance.


  1. Australia: Unemployment rate rose to 4%.
  2. US: Inflation for the year to May fell to 3.3%.
  3. China: Inflation for the year to May increased to 0.3%.
  4. US: The Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged.
  5. Argentina: Inflation increased by 5% in May, down from 9% in April. Note these are monthly figures. For the 12 months to April inflation was 289%.

And, to soothe your troubled mind…

“It is the sick dream of every Trump-[opponent]-deranged lunatic that I should be beheaded.”

  • Donald Trump, wannabe US President, in an email to supporters.

Not every one, surely?


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


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