Sun Tzu and the art of phony war

Recently, we discussed whether or not Australia was under attack by China.

My conclusion was that, regardless of whether or not either party wishes to admit it, in a very real sense we probably are.

If one accepts that hypothesis, there are a range of common sense actions that should follow, at the very least, to prevent the status quo from deteriorating further and to reduce the risk of further hostile actions.

The problem, quite common in western democracies, is the election cycle tends to reward politicians who practice realpolitik, rather than taking a more principled approach to hostile foreign powers.

An example of this can be seen today with many on the Remain side of the Brexit debacle; the evidence is overwhelming that the EU negotiators have not been operating under good faith (an example is the use of the Good Friday Peace Agreement as leverage), yet many of the key players in the British parliament are behaving as if Micawberistic optimism will win the day. To suggest we’ll get a deal after three years of being told non and nien makes something will turn up seem almost pragmatic and sensible.

But we shouldn’t be surprised. Flying back from Munich with worthless pieces of paper only to have to say, “bugger it” and open up the armoury the following year is in the British national DNA. 

Australia’s too, it would seem.

The Lucky Country’s peace for our time moment seems to be playing out currently with barely a day going by without another story emerging about inappropriate Chinese state influence in Australian domestic politics.

Before we continue, there are a couple points to be clarified:

  1. When I refer to “the Chinese”, I’m referring to the state government and its agents, not the ethnic identity.
  2. It’s my belief that there’s very little distinction to be made between the Chinese government and large Chinese corporations. They may be nominally privately-owned and independent but, if you believe that to be true, I’ve a terracotta army I’d like to sell to you. 

I wish to present four pieces of evidence supporting my position that we are not dealing with a good faith actor when we do business at a national or corporate level with the Chinese:

  1. China believed to be behind hack of Australian National University.
  2. “State actor” believed to be behind hack of Australian national parliament computers (ok, it doesn’t name China but we all know who they mean). 
  3. Australian MP bribed by Chinese businessmen.
  4. Ex-pat Chinese government party member, now an Australian MP, can’t recall ever being a member….. for 12 years.

Bill’s Opinion

It’s not the fact these things have happened and are continuing to happen, it’s the dog that isn’t barking that is most concerning.

Look at the reporting of the statements coming from the various Australian government officials and opposition party leaders. It’s as if China was a synonym for Voldemort.

The most recent incident, for example; it’s a member of the Australian federal government with deep and enduring links to a foreign power, yet the official response is nothing to see here, move on.

It’s almost as if, I dunno, nobody has the testicular fortitude to mention the name of the government that always seems to be interfering in Australian domestic affairs in case, horror of horrors, they take their money away and spend it elsewhere.

 

Image result for peace in our time

 

 

Midas reveals his secret

There are just so many unscrupulous shysters out there trying to part you from your hard-earned cash. Recall my new best friend’s attempt to sign me up to spend $15,000 on how to be an “influencer”?

After frenetically removing from my life anyone who shares content from the likes of Brigette, Oleg and their insipid facsimiles, I thought it was safe to go back on to the interweb.

But no, every website, youtube channel and browser window I open has this orthodontically-perfect, jug-eared goon smiling at me and boasting about how he doesn’t need to work any more because, something, something, something…. selling on Amazon.

Image result for adam hudson

Call me a cynical old bastard if you will, but nothing screams “liar” to me more than watching a person work night and day to tell me they don’t need to work.

In fact, in his own words on his own website, Adam tells you quite how unlikely it is you will get rich by attending one of his courses or even following the instructions to the letter. This legal disclaimer is somewhat obscured, completely accidentally I’m sure, by a clash of font and background colours:

EARNINGS DISCLAIMER

Any reports of earnings published by Reliable Education are provided to a reasonable level of accuracy. However, reported results may differ slightly from actual results for various reasons, including returns & refunds, foreign exchange rate fluctuations, and brevity of communication. 
There is NO GUARANTEE that undertaking the same activities or employing the same techniques, ideas, strategies or initiatives published by Reliable Education will produce the same results for you.
From time to time, Reliable Education will publish results, testimonials, case studies and success stories relating to those who have employed the techniques and strategies published by Reliable Education. These outcomes are exceptional results which do not apply to an average user of the information published by Reliable Education. There is NO GUARANTEE that any user of those techniques and strategies will achieve similar results.
There is NO GUARANTEE that any reported past success (relating to Adam Hudson, Reliable Education, or any user of Reliable Education’s published information) can or will be repeated in the future.
WHETHER YOU SUCCESSFULLY EMPLOY THESE TECHNIQUES AND STRATEGIES DEPENDS UPON FACTORS, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, YOUR INDIVIDUAL SKILLS, FINANCIAL RESOURCES, MARKETING KNOWLEDGE, BUSINESS MODEL, AND TIME YOU DEVOTE TO ENGAGING IN THESE ACTIVITIES. BECAUSE OF THIS, RELIABLE EDUCATION CANNOT GUARANTEE YOUR EARNINGS LEVEL, NOR DO WE.

Reliable Education © 2019

What is incredible is the fact that Adam has been ploughing this particular self-help snakeoil furrow since at least 2004, as this retro page on the Sydney Morning Herald’s website shows.

Bill’s Opinion

Just the slightest research on a search engine teaches any curious entrepreneur everything they need to know about a) Adam’s “success”, and b) quite how genuine he is about wanting to help others copy it for themselves.

When pondering the question “why does Adam want to teach me how to be an Amazon millionaire?”, I wonder how many of his course attendees reach the conclusion, “because it doesn’t really work for him, but selling courses to the gullible does”.

If you ever find yourself at the poker table wondering which player is the sucker, consider the possibility it is you.

Cultural appropriate shun

The American author, Lionel Shriver, is in Australia this month. Last time she was here there was a bit of a kerfuffle when she spoke about “cultural appropriation” at a writers’ festival and finished off the speech by popping a jaunty Mexican sombrero on her head. All the right people were offended and made a fuss, including a woman who seems to have made a career out of telling Australians and Britons how terrible they are, despite the awkward personal dichotomy of her revealed vs expressed preference of living there rather than her place of birth, Sudan.

“Cultural appropriation” is an interesting compound noun and one which prompts vicarious offence in some and extreme annoyance or amusement in others. We can find a definition on the internets that suggests the following:

Cultural appropriation, at times also phrased cultural misappropriation, is the adoption of elements of one culture by members of another culture. This can be controversial when members of a dominant culture appropriate from disadvantaged minority cultures.

In other words, it’s another branch of critical theory or cultural Marxism. How can we be sure? The emphasis on power. The second sentence in the definition tries to explain why the first sentence is problematic and reverts to an argument of power imbalance.

Without that qualifying sentence, most reasonable and sane people would never consider there was anything sinister about their enjoyment of tea as a refreshing beverage, cooking a spaghetti bolognaise for dinner or using duvets as bedding whilst wearing pyjamas.

A Google Ngram search shows cultural appropriation is a very modern sin:

There is amusement to be had when engaging those issuing accusations of cultural appropriation, however; ask them to describe the margins. By which we mean, a situation where one person uses a useful cultural invention of others and what would be considered over the line and cultural appropriation. Much hilarity often ensues.

Let’s show a worked example:

Bill is a white Englishman who very much enjoys Indian food (but we repeat ourselves). Not content with enjoying the cuisine in his local restaurant, he holidays in India and attends a cookery course to learn how to expertly blend the spices and other ingredients. Back home in London, he hosts a dinner party for some friends where he delights them with his newly acquired knowledge.

At risk of building a strawman, one suspects the cultural Marxists would suggest he’s innocent up until the point he invites the other gammons round to eat his culturally appropriated food.

The problems with this arise following just the slightest scratching of the surface.

Problem #1 – 80% of all “Indian” restaurants in Britain are no such thing. They are Bangladeshi.

Problem #2 – Several of the main ingredients of Indian cuisine only arrived with the Europeans. Chillies, potatoes, tomatoes and cauliflower, for example.

The burning question then is surely, which culture is Bill appropriating?

Bangladeshi? Perhaps, but maybe only those ex-pats who set up restaurants in Britain.

Indian? Perhaps, but if the cuisine they taught him is the Anglo-Bangladeshi version, maybe they are guilty of some cultural appropriation too.

South American? The cultivation of chillies, potatoes and tomatoes was initiated in South America but by which South Americans? Not necessarily the ones whose descendants are currently living there.

It’s a bit tricky, isn’t it?

 

Bill’s Opinion

It’s almost as if the people who suggest cultural appropriation is a sin are bullies who use a claim of vicarious offence as their justification (more on this in a later post).

Perhaps they are mistakenly or even deliberately missing the incredible amount of good work cultural appropriation has done for you, me, them and everyone around us? My suspicion is that they have fallen into the mental trap of zero sum thinking. That is, they believe there is a finite supply of something, in this case “cultural good”, and therefore feel it is their duty to protect those who they perceive as being without power from having their ration stolen.

Of course, this is the racism and bigotry of low expectations. The people who are having their culture “appropriated” have no qualms about taking the best bits of everyone else’s culture such as effective medicine, power generation, water sanitation, iPhones, Game of Thrones streaming, etc. and they really don’t give a shit if someone in another country is cooking a strange facsimile of the food they eat.

Returning to the Sydney Morning Herald report on Lionel Shriver’s visit, it’s interesting to note the article finishes with an explanation that Lionel wasn’t the original first name she was given by her parents, and that she changed it when she was 15. I have a couple of questions on that;

  1. How is it relevant to the news item, and
  2. Did you just “deadname” Ms. Shriver?

Don’t meth with the Indonesians

An Australian has been arrested in Indonesia after illegal drugs were found on board his yacht.

His boat was searched by authorities, who allegedly found 0.006g of methamphetamine, News Corp Australia reported.

Wait, what? How much?

0.006 grams.

It’s not a typo, that quantity is repeated again in the body of the news report.

For context, a single grain of sand weighs about double that, at around 0.011 grams.

There was a similar case in 2008, of a Briton jailed for four years in Dubai for having a microscopic amount of cannabis on the sole of his shoe.

Bill’s Opinion

Two things can be correct at the same time; on the one hand, when visiting foreign countries, we should respect their laws.

On the other hand, we can point at cases such as this as further evidence that our 800+ year culture and tradition of Common Law is superior to all other systems tried so far. Cultural relativism is a fallacy and is to be rejected.

Why? De minimis non curat lex…..

King Merdeus

…everything he touches turns to shit.

There is a pattern that can be observed occasionally and, as long as you’re not exposed to the consequences, can be quite amusing once you’ve seen it.

Firstly, a British example:

Many years ago, a chap by the name of Derek Wanless was the Chief Executive of Natwest Bank for 7 years during the 1990s. At the commencement of his stewardship, Natwest was one of the four largest “high street” (i.e. retail) banks and was a solid performer, taking customer deposits and issuing mortgages.

Wanless’ entire experience, from leaving school, was in the retail sector, having come up through the ranks of the branches. So, he put this expertise gained in just one sub-sector of banking to another, opening up an investment arm and taking the bank into the USA (a market already awash with investment banking services, one presumes).

Guess what happened next?

Huge losses for Natwest which resulted in his defenestration by the board…with just a 7 figure payout to comfort him. Not long after, the bank was bought in a hostile and hugely embarrassing takeover by a far smaller rival, the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Hot on the heels of this success, he was asked by the then Chancellor of the Exchequer (i.e. the UK’s Treasurer), Gordon Brown, to review the National Health Service. Ponder that for a moment; his previous experience was, to put it as kindly as possible, to destroy a profitable bank and drive it into the arms of a smaller rival so, obviously, he would have been the perfect candidate to look at the profligate and failing health service. To be fair to Wanless, this wasn’t Gordon Brown’s first or indeed last major failure of judgement, have a look at his record on the UK’s gold reserves to understand what a disaster his tenure was.

Finally, Wanless made a return to banking as an executive director to Northern Rock, overseeing the first UK retail bank to experience a bank run since the Great Depression.

Wanless died 5 years later, fortunately without having accepted any further positions in public life.

What’s the point I’m trying to make here? That Wanless was in “The Club”.

It’s a club you and I aren’t allowed to join. The rules of The Club are varied and changeable, but one rule remains constant; once you’re in The Club, there are very few occasions when consequences will ever catch up with you.

There are many examples of the Australian chapter of the The Club but today’s goes by the name of Peter Beattie.

I first learned of Peter during the 2013 Federal Election when he was parachuted into a seat by another member of The Club, Kevin Rudd. Some basic research unearths a disaster zone of a curriculum vitae, not unlike that of Derek Wanless. From a child protection scandal to a health service crisis, through to tying his colours to the mast of a desperate narcissist’s attempt to remain politically-relevant in the federal election, Peter has an enviable track record of mediocrity.

He also seems to either edit his own Wikipedia entry or have a sycophant do it on his behalf. We really must chuckle at the unintentional irony of a statement such as, “As was his style, Beattie faced the crisis head on”, which is then followed by a list of all the ministers who fell on their swords while he survived. As befitting a full member of The Club, the buck stopped just short of Beattie.

The latest chapter in the Peter Beattie show is a forthcoming defenestration from his role as Chairman of Australia’s Rugby League sporting code. The details of his golden parachute have yet to be disclosed but nobody would be surprised to learn of another 7 figure payout as a reward for mediocrity. After all, he’s in The Club.

Bill’s Opinion

I’m not a conspiracy theorist, I don’t really believe The Club exists.

It is far more likely that, once you’re in the circle of people who appoint and are appointed to senior positions on company boards and in government, as long as you can glad-hand the right people and you don’t wipe your snot on your shirt sleeves, you’re in The Club.

Why? You might be completely incompetent and a total narcissist but you’re a known, albeit a bit useless, quantity. Nobody is going to take a risk on someone they don’t know, are they?

Like China in your hand

History doesn’t repeat itself but often rhymes…..

Here’s a little potted history lesson for those who are too young to remember:


Once upon a time, there was a large superpower that was, in many ways, the antithesis of what the western democracies stood for, or at least claimed to stand for. The west claimed to stand for values such as the rule of law, property rights, freedom of speech, restricted government powers, open and free elections, free men to be judged in a court of law by their peers, non-coerced contracts, etc.

The west and this superpower weren’t at a state of official war but interaction, particularly trade, was extremely limited. A company in the UK, for example, could import or export goods with this hostile superpower and its representatives could travel to and from its territory but there were caveats and restrictions to this.

At a minimum, the traveller would have a safety briefing. In some cases, the security services might give a briefing and require a post-trip debriefing to glean valuable information.

At the extreme, travellers might be wise to follow an informal form of “Moscow Rules”, even if they weren’t spooks themselves.

Why? Because the hostile superpower was a) hostile, and b) open in its disregard for those values we listed in the paragraph above. If you are visiting a country with a total disregard for the rights of the individual, you’d be a fool to wander around blithely assuming you weren’t always in danger.

That country was Russia and its associated satellite states, of course.

In 2019, we have exponentially more trade with a country that shows a similar disregard for the rule of law, property rights, etc., yet we hop on flights to Shanghai and Beijing without a second thought as to the personal, corporate or national risk we are taking. Why? Because, for most cases, we have not had reason to think they are hostile.

Sure, we know they have “re-education camps” where they have sent thousands of their own citizens in internal exile. Yes, we see the increasing use of “social credit” to bully their citizens into silence and conformity. We watch with interest as man-made islands are created in the South China Sea to secure and expand the country’s maritime territories. We witness the implementation of the One Belt and Road trading route with land purchases and infrastructure. We see huge areas of Africa being bought by Chinese government corporations. We point at strange sights such as Chinese Police-branded cars driving around the streets of Australian cities. Finally, this year we can watch on live-streaming feeds, the protests by residents of Hong Kong against changes to the legal system being met with increasingly authoritarian means, in direct violation of the international treaty promising not to do so.


The evidence is compelling that, whatever you might call the Chinese state; Communist, “post-Communist”, mercantilist, or some other suitable noun, it is far from being a free society as a citizen of a western democracy would know the term.

And yet…. corporations and governments have increased the level of trade and interaction on our behalf with the Chinese state without seemingly any commensurate increase in vigilance or precautions.

Why might that be?

Why might a country, say, Australia, be unwilling to publicly criticise any one of the nefarious activities (and more) described above, particularly in the case of clear hostile activities on Australian soil?

Bill’s Opinion

Much is written about cultural differences and how people in the west should treat other cultures respectfully. The classic is example revolves around the concept of Asian cultures setting a higher value on “face” than we in the west might.


Here’s an idea; that is a truly racist attitude. Why? Because the Chinese are an intelligent people with personal and national “agency”. They can observe our culture as much as we observe theirs. In fact, they do, and they choose to still act the way they do.

Pretending the Chinese leaders are delicate flowers whose feelings might be hurt if we publicly and regularly told them to rein in their activities and act in accordance with international law is the ultimate in weakness.

And that’s another cultural observation; the Chinese don’t respect weakness.

Why would we, therefore, constantly offer this as our response?

Of course, the elephant in the room for Australia is the economic master/servant relationship. China could ruin Australia’s economy for a generation simply by deliberately reducing the Chinese GDP by one or two percentage points and pivoting to African countries to satisfy its demand for minerals and resources. In fact, the land grabs in Africa are presumably part of a strategy to reduce reliance on pesky western economies and their annoying conversations about human rights.

Perhaps it won’t be long before our one reason for not standing up (diplomatically, I’m not suggesting warfare) to China is removed by China anyway?


At which point, we will be simply a weak parody of Neville Chamberlain.

Australian B Cricket team to be renamed “Women’s”

No, really. That’s the logical direction this announcement takes the sport, surely:

Transgender players allowed in the female national cricket team.

(There are three balls in the above photograph

 

The guidelines are here. There’s a large volume of text to be parsed but I have helpfully summarised it all for you. A man can play cricket for the female national team if he;

  1. Says he’s a woman, and
  2. Has taken hormone treatment long enough to keep his testosterone below a defined level.

That’s it.

Of course, these rules infer a “female” can wander around the shower room with his “female penis” intact because he’s a female according to Cricket Australia’s highly-scientific definition.

It’s worth having a read of the guidelines, particularly the clauses under section 6 – Expert Panel, where someone at Cricket Australia has clearly had massive doubts about the long-term sustainability of this ideological direction and tried to leave a loophole to be used to enable common-sense back in if things go too far.

The clauses in this section give power to a panel of experts to overrule a decision to allow a man to play in the elite women’s teams if they feel he has an unfair advantage. The evidence they can assess include biomechanical analysis. One assumes this might include such tests as whether a male fast bowler is sending blocks of wood wrapped in leather (cricket balls) at the heads of women faster than any woman can.

Using this example, we could compare the fastest female bowler on record, Cathryn Lorraine Fitzpatrick, who has managed to bowl at 125kmph, with every fast bowler in the current men’s team who are all consistently over the 140kmph mark. 

The next level down from the national team is the Sheffield Shield. An upcoming bowler in that competition is Chadd Sayers, who has been overlooked for the national team several times because he doesn’t bowl fast enough. Chadd’s average bowling speed? Oh, just a sedate 130kmph, or 5kmph faster than the fastest female bowler in history.

Oh, that’s awkward.

The definitions section is good for a chuckle too as it tries to define in legalistic terms such nouns as sex, gender and LGBTQI+.

It’ll be fun to review how that stood the test of time in a few years.

Bill’s Opinion

Firstly, this is another excellent example of O’Sullivan’s Law, which states, “any organisation or enterprise that is not expressly right wing will become left wing over time“.

Cricket Australia has clearly been hijacked by activists and have responded by producing a policy that, ironically, is neither one thing or another.

It claims to provide an unambiguous pathway for transgender cricketers to play in elite teams but it has a large loophole which allows for a panel of “experts” (defined how? Appointed by whom?) to judge the player to have too great a physical advantage to play for the women’s team. 

The interesting point, however, is to look for the dog that isn’t barking, that is, what isn’t being reported or described in the policy?

There is no mention of what qualifying steps and proof a female to male transitioning cricket player would have to undertake to play in the men’s elite team. If anyone can think of a credible reason why they’ve left this detail out, please send a postcard with your answer to:

Cricket Australia

60 Jolimont Street,

Jolimont,

Victoria 3002,

Australia

There are really only three ways this policy change can go over time:

  1. One or more men with the unique combination of chutzpah and cricketing ability will use these rules to claim a place on the national women’s team and will be refused, will sue for damages and drag the sport into its own version of the Israel Folau debacle, or
  2. Cricket Australia will accept those men into the national women’s team and the ensuing public and international backlash will drag the sport into its own version of the Israel Folau debacle, or
  3. No man with enough cricketing ability will ever be stupid enough to claim female status.

It’s a tricky one to predict, but my suspicion is (2) is most likely as there are currently enough men who are autogynephilic that one of them is bound to try to push the envelope further. The result will be a destruction of the restricted group competition we call women’s cricket in Australia. 

It’s all about you

A useful golden rule when observing current affairs is to keep your counsel for a solid 48 hours. This is particularly true in the case of breaking news about violence and potential terrorism attacks.

The incentive structure in today’s digital age is diametrically-opposed to this rule of sober and prudent analysis, however.

Hence, depending on the source from which you consume your news you may have believed the city of Sydney endured a white supremacist attack, a radical Islamic attack or deadly violence from a mentally-unwell man.

Confusingly for narrative-obsessed journalists (but I repeat myself), the knife-wielder apparently had a USB drive with details of the recent Christchurch and El Paso racially-motivated attacks but also shouted the well-known catchphrase, “Alan’s Snackbar” at the police who arrested him.

Several possibilities suggest themselves here. It could be possible the attacker was:

  • Racially-motivated, or
  • A Jihadi, or
  • One of the two above whilst pretending to be the other in some elaborate hoax, and/or
  • Mentally ill

In a move that should surprise nobody, Lucy Cormack of the Sydney Morning Herald, clearly disappointed the attack wasn’t a good fit for the “white supremacy is everywhere” narrative, pivots and manages to make the attack seem as if it’s part of a war by men on women.

Bill’s Opinion

I think a suitable time has passed since the attack to confidently state, regardless of what he might have said or read, the prime reason the attacker committed the murder and an attempted murder was because he was suffering severe mental illness. It’s unfortunate but no matter how well we work to catch these in advance, there will always be a number of such tragedies in any society.

Claiming this is part of some wider problem of patriarchal and systemic male violence against women is like claiming the attacks on New York on September 11th were motivated by a hatred of open plan offices and elevators. 

Cheer up!

Switching on the news and browsing the media websites this week is unusually depressing. Without perspective and a wider source of information and analysis, one could be excused for thinking the world is going to hell in a handcart. I’m not going to list the reasons why one might be feeling low, the media do a good enough job of running “if it bleeds, it leads” stories. 

In any case, I’m not convinced it’s true. In fact, I think the reality is almost 180 degrees the other way; there are far more signs things are going well and what we’re being served as news is simply a mixture of confirmation bias and a logical reaction to incentives. A regular browse of the good news stories on Human Progress is a useful counter to the media confirmation bias.

I don’t say this lightly…. I have become convinced, via conversations with friends, family and colleagues that the media business model, what is left of it, has become detrimental to the general mental health of the world.

Technological advances have resulted in a proliferation of volume (24 x 7 updates) and sources (you’re reading a personal blog, but it’s still “a source”) of news. Our old friend, Pareto distribution, drives eyeballs and clicks to those presenting the most compelling new information.

Not much bad stuff happened today” is not a headline we’ll continue to tolerate on consecutive days for very long.  

Let’s lighten the mood a little today then. Because it’s human nature to take pleasure at others’ mild misfortune (after all, that describes the basis for all comedy), today’s blog post is simply a bunch of happy predictions I am prepared to make and the timeframe within which I expect them to occur. 

If you share my optimism and outlook, they might cheer you up immediately. If you don’t, you might experience the even greater pleasure of delayed gratification when the deadline passes and you can return to the comments section and have a chuckle at my expense. 

Either way, I will benefit from a warm feeling of selfless, righteous altruism….

Bill’s Opinion Predictions

Sports

The Bledisloe Cup match this weekend will be won by Australia and, if this prediction transpires, they will go on to draw or win the return match the following weekend and therefore finally win the Bledisloe Cup for the first time in almost a generation. This one is a long shot and is based more on a feeling New Zealand’s team has become fragile and somewhat “woke”.  

The 2019 Rugby World Cup will be won by a northern hemisphere team. My preference would be England but I could probably live with it being Ireland and, after a little introspection and professional counselling, even Wales. The important point is, it’s not going to be New Zealand.

Brexit

Britain will leave the EU on October 31st without a deal. Boris Johnson will be Prime Minister at the time, but will call a General Election in January and will be returned with a clear but not large majority.  

No material changes will occur to the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Britain will not experience significant disruption to trade or travel as a consequence to Brexit. Some luxury or highly-specialised goods or services might have a wobble but will be solved within a few weeks.

EU

As a consequence to the world not ending after Brexit, the EU will double down on their commitment to a European federal una-state, passing laws to ensure a single taxation code, a European military, centralised control of immigration and further adoption of the Euro.

Leo Varadkar will be ousted as Taoiseach by the Dáil before Christmas 2019 as a reward for being played by the EU with regards to Brexit.

USA

The Democrats will nominate Elizabeth Warren as the 2020 presidential candidate. Donald Trump will win a second term with an increased share of both the Electoral College and the popular vote. The presidential debates will comedy gold on a par with the best efforts of Monty Python and Ricky Gervais.

Media

Following the USA elections, there will be some high profile media casualties, with a consolidation or bankruptcy of several high profile brands such as CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post and the New York Times.

In other countries, such as Canadia and Australia, several mastheads and broadcasters will be further subsidised or even nationalised.

Global Economy

Despite the continuing call for a global stock market crash, higher highs will be reached on the major indices. Gold and silver will see a 20% increase by the end of 2020.

China will “lose” the trade war with the USA. This will be spun as the opposite to save face but the trade indicators will show a material improvement towards the USA.  

Australian Economy

Flat as a pancake over 2019 and 2020 with a slight uptick in unemployment.

House prices in the two main cities will continue a slow atrophy with the occasional dead cat bounce for a month or two which will be lauded as signifying the “new bottom”. At the end of 2020, prices will be lower than today.