Wry & Dry #38-24 Inevitably. ICC virtue signalling. Trumpster waits.

Ten stories you may have missed

  1. Inevitably
  2. ICC: virtue signaling
  3. Trumpster awaits
  4. UK goes to the polls
  5. Privacy policies
  6. Putsch update
  7. Wry & Dry meanderings: selective conscription
  8. Checked baggage
  9. Poland’s Maginot Line
  10. Sleepy Joe’s date with destiny


Why did it take so long?

Support for Victoria’s governing Labor Party has collapsed to 28%.1  All of this in the last two months. That is, since Treasurer Tim Pallas’ disastrous budget.

Surely, voters should have seen the writing on the wall when Chairman Dan gave himself the DCM last year. If not then, then with the ongoing announcements of broken promises, infrastructure cost blow-outs and ballooning debt.

Wry & Dry guesses that it takes a little while for the penny to drop with voters.

Anyway, it is what it is. And what next? Will it be:

  1. Mr. Pallas will take one for team and give himself the DCM;
  2. Marginal seat Labor MPs will update their LinkedIn profiles, just in case;
  3. Albo will not be seen in Victoria pre-federal election, for not wanting to be tainted; or
  4. Victorian Liberals will contain their in-fighting no longer, and mount a leadership challenge.

Close, but no cigar. The correct answer is: all of the above. The next election will be in November 2026. Yawn.

1 Source: Resolve, cited in The Age 22 May 2024.

2. ICC: virtue signaling

Editors’ note: Let Wry & Dry make it clear that he has little time for Israel’s prime minister Netanyahu. His wilful attempts to maintain his prime ministership by appeasing his West Bank-occupying right-wing colleagues is shameful.

Gaza Act 3: Enter the International Criminal Court.

ICC action: to seek to arrest Israeli PM Netanyahu and Hamas’ leaders.

Actual action: to seek to impose an esoteric legal overlay on a moving ground of a highly volatile conflict that has massive international political ramifications.

Effect: to conflate Hamas’ atrocities with Netanyahu’s attempt to crush a terrorist organisation within his country.

Likely outcome 1: a flood of actors seeking jurisdiction to prosecute their feelings about Israel and Netanyahu.

Likely outcome 2: anti-Semitism will explode, now more self-justified by the ICC’s actions.

Some facts:

  1. ICC prosecutor (Karim Khan) pre-empted the understood process and announced the charges before the ICC’s team were to meet with Israeli officials to hear their explanation of Israel’s actions.
  2. Netanyahu’s charge is not for genocide, nor for bombing areas where there are civilians.
  3. The charge is for pursuing “starvation as a method of war” in Gaza.
  4. Arrest warrants can only be issued if the ICC’s pre-trial chamber2 agrees that there is sufficient evidence.
  5. Israel is under no obligation to facilitate the arrest of Netanyahu.
  6. It would be impossible to actually issue warrants against Netanyahu. Much less the Hamas leaders.
  7. Since its founding in 2002, the ICC has run up expenses of nearly US$2 billion, but had “never sustained the atrocity conviction of any state official at any level anywhere in the world”.3

So, the actions of the ICC are futile. They will affect neither Israel’s actions, nor those of Hamas. The war will continue.

Why do it? This is virtue signalling: “Tut, tut, we cannot have this sort of behaviour going on.”

Readers can also join the dots as to why the ICC has failed to prosecute the individual responsible for killing more Muslims than anyone else: Bashar al-Assad, the president of Syria.

2 Iulia Motoc of Romania, Benin’s Reine Alapini-Gansou and Mexico’s María del Socorro Flores Liera. 

3 Source:

3. Trumpster awaits

“The defence rests.”

With the words so often heard in tacky movies and on tacky television trials, the Trumpster’s tacky criminal trial moved to the next phase: waiting. The static caravan returns next week for closing arguments from the respective legal dudes.

The Trumpster, so often complaining outside the court that he wasn’t allowed to speak inside the court, decided not to speak in his own defence when given the chance. He would have been open to some questioning – something he doesn’t like.

But rest assured that he will not be short of a comment in few more days.

The oft used words will never be so true as when the jury foreman rises to deliver the verdict of 12 New Yorkers, sometime after 29 May: “the world will be watching.”

None more closely than the Trumpster.

4. UK goes to the polls

The UK PM has grasped the nettle. And it’s a nasty one. Twenty points down in polls and Ladbrokes offering election winning odds of 25-1. Good grief!

Rishi Sunak has made the right call – things can only get worse in the UK. It’s not just about the economy (okay) and budget (parlous). It’s the small inflatables arriving at the white cliffs of Dover; the need to metaphorically shoot someone, blameless or not, for the Post Office and infected blood scandals; the alarming increase in street violence; [UK Readers insert your gripe here], etc.

Fourteen years of generally incompetent Conservative government will end on 4 July. It is ironic that of the five Conservative PMs over that time, Sunak was the most able. His task was impossible after the mess of Borisconi and Truss. And he had to contend with self-indulgent, entitled headline seeking MPs from his own party.

And what of Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer? Well, firstly, he doesn’t terrify voters. He bores them. Secondly, his greatest enemy is the left wing of his own party. Good luck with managing that. Thirdly, his greatest challenge is management of the electorate. Who would want to rule that grouchy and volatile nation for the next five years?

Albo should brace for a surge in applications for immigration.

5. Privacy policies

Readers will be pleased to know that the average privacy policy in Australia contains 6,876 words. These words would take about 29 minutes to read.

This means the average person would spend 46 hours each month reading privacy policies.4

This concerns Wry & Dry, as he knows that his Readers are compliant people, and would read and understand every word. There is merit, he suggests, in more productively using those 46 hours.

4 Source: ACCC, citing data from NordVPN and quoted in the AFR Wednesday 22 May.

6. Putsch update

Some weeks ago, Wry & Dry alerted Readers to the unfolding story of an attempted putsch in Germany.

This week, the nine putschers, who are accused of plotting to storm the Reichstag, went on trial. Chief putscher is the magnificently named Heinrich XIII Prince Reuss.

Curiously, the putschers planned to launch the putsch on whatever day Queen Elizabeth died, but she wasn’t helpful. She died before the putschers were ready.

There are 27 ageing suspects in all, one of whom has already died. The defendants include not only the now landless Prince Reuss, but also former army officers and a female former judge and politician with the far-right Alternative for Germany party, who was to become justice minister.

Prince Reuss, 72, a former playboy and real estate agent, has been dubbed the “Putsch Prince.”

Wry & Dry can’t wait for the Netflix series. Although, the Trumpster’s criminal trial (#1) will probably chew up Netflix’ courtroom-drama budget.

7. Wry & Dry meanderings: selective conscription

It’s a weird concept. Use conscription as a filter to get the best recruits. And then employers will line up to hire them after the 15 months training.

Well, that’s what happens in Sweden. This week, the Wall Street Journal4 reported that the aim is to stack its military with top performers, not scoop everybody into the net.

Since 2018, all 18-year-old men and women must register. They are put through physical, health, mental, IQ and motivational tests. This year, of about 100,000 young Swedes who had to enlist, just 6,200 made the cut. About 25% of those are women.

After nine to 15 months (generally), the recruits join as reservists.

The result is that the military is populated by motivated high performers, who are later targeted by headhunters for roles in commerce and government.

Norway has a similar scheme. Other European countries have conscription, but not selective. Conscription rates vary, with Finland having the highest at about 80% of males completing the five to 10 months service.

4 Curious Readers may also wish to read Sweden’s Military Conscription System Is a Model for NATO (

8. Checked baggage

Doing illegal stuff can cause problems when travelling overseas.

Consider that in The Turks and Caicos Islands, a Caribbean archipelago governed as a British Overseas Territory, it is illegal to transport and possess any amount of ammunition. It’s to do with controlling local gang crime. Perps face 12 years in prison if they are convicted.

The big news for five Americans is that last week they were arrested for allegedly carrying ammunition in their holiday luggage.

The famous five all live in states where guns can be used legally. They claim the rounds were inadvertently left in their bags.

The cavalry arrived. A delegation of US congressmen and government official have met with the local governor to negotiate the perps’ release.

Nuh. The governor’s office said it would not intervene in the cases because of the constitutional separation of the executive and legal branches of government.

It added that while a judge may exercise discretion in the tourists’ cases, their alleged crime carries a mandatory prison sentence of 12 years in prison, plus a fine.


The members of the delegation were astounded. Understandably, as in the US it is quite clear that there is no separation of the executive and legal branches of government.

9. Poland’s Maginot Line

It’s not that the prime minister of Poland thinks that Tsar Vlad will invade. Nor the fact that the planned 10 billion zloty (about $4 billion) Shield-East line of fortifications will only be along Poland’s border with Russia and Belarus (Tsar Vlad’s client state)5 and suggests that Poland is worried about Tsar Vlad.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk wants to make Poland invasion (from the east) proof. The plan is to build “a system of fortifications… that will make this border impossible to pass for a potential enemy.”

Potential enemy is not named…

Critics are comparing Tusk’s plans with the Maginot Line, France’s 450 km of fortifications against a German invasion6 in the 1930s. The Maginot Line worked – the Nazi’s didn’t invade through it. Instead, they went around it, taking the long route through unguarded Netherlands, Luxembourg and Belgium.

The rest is history. And so was France.

5 Poland’s border with Russia is 232 km, being Kalingrad (an island of Russia bordered by Poland, Lithuania and the Baltic) and 418 km with Belarus.

6 The Maginot Line was invulnerable to aerial bombings and tank fire; it featured underground railways as a backup. It also had state-of-the-art living conditions for garrisoned troops, supplying air conditioning and eating areas for their comfort.

10. Sleepy Joe’s date with destiny

The outcome of a US election will always be difficult to predict, with variable such as voter-turnout and swing-state influences often making a mess of pollsters’ predictions.

Having said that, it would be a brave person, at the minute, to forecast that Sleepy Joe will keep the keys to the White House for four more years.

And the thought of him debating the Trumpster fills the Democrats with dread. Truly, a certain Netflix winner.

But there is a Democrat Plan B. Well, so it seems.

The first election debate will be on 27 June, which is unusually early. And the Democrats have agreed to a second debate in September. The clever bit is that between the two dates the Democrat National convention occurs, when the party’s nominee will be anointed.

If Sleepy Joe totally and irrecoverably messes up the June debate – confirming that he is no longer ready for prime time – then he can step down and the Democrats can hold a ‘contested’ convention.

The problem with that is that another certifiable nutter would get the nomination: Robert F. Kennedy.

Snippets from all over

1. Chat Xi PT

Beijing’s latest attempt to control how artificial intelligence informs Chinese internet users has been rolled out as a chatbot trained on the thoughts of President Xi Jinping. (Financial Times)

Wry & Dry comments:  Wry & Dry couldn’t make this up. So, look out for Chat Tsar Vlad PT.

2. Healthy Nestlé? Really?

Nestlé, the world’s largest food company, said it would start selling pizzas and other meals designed for people taking weight-loss drugs. Dishes will be enriched with protein, iron and calcium. (Wall Street Journal)

Wry & Dry comments: Next will come AI-enhanced-weight-loss-drug-healthy-food.  

3. Taiwan’s new president

Lai Ching-te was sworn in as Taiwan’s new president, telling China the democratic island would not be swayed by “external forces” and would maintain the status quo with its neighbour. He also called for “peace” across the Taiwan Strait. (The Economist)

Wry & Dry comments: His call for peace may not be heard as far away as Beijing.  

4. UK rents rise with immigration

Record levels of immigration have driven a third of the rent growth in the UK since Covid, new analysis shows. In the two years to June 2023, immigration led to an additional 430,000 households wanting to privately rent homes, meaning rents have climbed 11% higher than they would otherwise have been. (UK Telegraph)

Wry & Dry comments: In the UK, rents usually rise in line with wages. In 2023, net immigration to the UK was 672,000. In Australia, it was 518,000. 

5. Renewable targets scaled back

A number of major European power companies have scaled back or are reviewing their targets to develop renewable energy because of high costs and low electricity prices, in a sign of the difficulties of transitioning away from fossil fuels. (Financial Times)

Wry & Dry comments: Statkraft (Norway), Ørsted (Denmark), EDP (Portugal), Iberdrola (Spain) and Enel (Italy) are all now in a slow-down phase.


  1. UK: Inflation fell to 2.3% in April, a three-year low.

And, to soothe your troubled mind…

“One of the culprits behind yesterday’s tragedy is the United States, because of its sanctions that bar Iran from procuring essential aviation parts. These will be recorded in the list of US crimes against the Iranian people.”

  • Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s former foreign minister, commenting on the helicopter crash that killed the Iranian President.

They should have taken the train.


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


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