Saturday Sanity Break, 1 February 2020 - Pandemic, Economy, Bushfires, Brexit
Updated: May 1
The Virus 'is deadlier than it looks' says the headlines on the front page of the Oz. 'Borders shut, flights cut as crisis grows' says the AFR. The Melbourne Age prefers to discuss the need for the mighty state of Victoria to alter its approach to providing gas to make electricity less expensive, apparently not impressed with NSW's cooperation with the Federal government. Ironically, last night in Melbourne we were all asked to turn off electricity gorging items to reduce the chances of blackouts.
Australia's economists are stumbling reluctantly to the truth. The economy is struggling and very likely to sink into recession, an outcome warned here by Henry some months ago.
Here are the key points:
* China, our major trading partner, is in deep strife
* Aussie house prices are again rising strongly
* The RBA has scared many people with unnecerssary rate cuts
* The bushfires have done great damage
* The government is still in denial and clinging to its budget surplus
* People have low Animal Spirits and will save rather than spending.
After a more pleasant climatic experience and reduction of bushfires, it is 'on' again. This time the fires are threatening Canberra, so now we should see some real concern. A big issue was raised by the mob from Sky News, who asked one of the charitable organisations how much of the $115 million donations for bushfire relief had been dished out. $30 million was the answer, and when the brave young Sky News gal asked how much was to be dished out there was mumbling about other catastrophes and, wait for it, administration costs. Gor' Blimey friends, we imagined we were donating to help with bushfire relief.
Brexit becomes official at 11 PM tonight and work can proceed on trade deals with the USA, Canada, Australia and other friendly countries, presumably including the EU. The Brits threw Australia's trade away 47 years ago, but of course we shall accept their return, perhaps with a slightly less nice response to overtures. 'Well done Boris', is my view, far better for the UK to resume life as a sovereign nation than submitting to European bureaucrats and their love of regulations, endless debates and other administrive matters.
Looks like the American 'Democrats' will be rolled by the Republicans in the US Senate and President Trump will be acquitted from what he calls 'Impeachment light'.
Here is a thought about political processes. Someone recently noted that political processes in modern democracies is inherently combative. Fifty years ago there was much more striving to establish consensus. Now if Scomo says something like 'It is a fine day, today', Albo would find a friendly journalist to report his great wisdom, something like 'But it will be raining tomorrow' or 'The country's burning'.
Come on Aussie pollies, let's get back to an era in which the opposition cuts the government some slack. Feel free to differ on really serious matters, but do not repeatedly object to the government on reasonable decisions on most matters of little moment.
Fiona Prior sees Hofesh Shechter’s ‘Grand Finale’, an eloquent dance with death through time, that is a time warp of love, build, neglect, hate, destroy, then love all over again … More here.
The tennis is coming to the end of Australia's greatest tennis event. Sadly Ash Barty was narrowly defeated by another young player, Sofia Kenin, in the women's Semi-Final, but she will be back and has plenty of time to become the Djokovic of the womens' game.
Sofia plays Garbine Muguruza in the women's final this evening.
Dominic Thiem beat Alexander Zverev and faces Novac Djokervic in the men's final. Djokervic beat an injured Roger Federer in the semi-final and then praised him (and the recently deceased American basketballer) and thus improved his standing with the Aussie crowd.
Mr Nadal was very angry when beaten by Dominic Thiem but he will also be back next year.
Cricket is approaching the finals of the Big Bash. Sadly there is no trad cricket until March, and someone has blundered. By then footy will be ready to go and cricket will be less of a feature. Five days and a draw fails to excite but provides interest for old codgers like Henry.