Pearls and Irritations provides the following links for weekend reading and listening:

Coalition risks paying far too much for submarines – AAP (Guardian)

A new European narrative – Anne Applebaum (New York Review of Books)

World Hunger Haunts the U.N. Festivities – Editorial Board (New York Times)

Dunkirk movie not splendid news for British – Max Hastings (New York Review of Books)

Australia’s health system is enviable, but there’s room for improvement – Stephen Duckett (The Conversation)

If you’re tired of Josh Frydenberg’s contorted attempts to explain the government’s energy policy, there are three accounts that help us understand what’s going on with electricity. One is a roundtable discussion by three experts: Tony Wood of the Grattan Institute, Saul Kavonic of Wood Mackenzie (a company providing analysis on the energy industry), and Rosemary Sinclair of Energy Consumers Australia. Another is by the ABC’s business editor, Ian Verrender, who has written a clear explanation of the causes of recent electricity price rises, quoting from ACCC Chair Rod Sims: “Those poles and wires that run down your street are the main reason you are paying too much for your electricity.”  And Ross Gittins has written on the political economy of electricity: Everyone has a different excuse for the electricity stuff-up.

This week’s Essential Poll surveyed people’s attitudes to health insurance. Sixty per cent of respondents agreed that health insurance “isn’t worth the money you pay for it”. Among those who once held health insurance and have given it up, 82 percent agreed that it isn’t worth the money.


John Laurence Menadue is the publisher of Pearls & Irritations. He has had a distinguished career both in the private sector and in the Public Service.

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