Zürich, Twitter, Musk discussed on Monocle 24: The Briefing
Now to take a leaf through the morning papers from Europe and elsewhere, with the broadcaster journalist and former Vatican correspondent Juliet linley, who joins us from our headquarters in Zürich. Juliet we're starting with The New York Times, which is trying to figure out what on earth earth's richest individual thinks he's doing with Twitter. Indeed, Andrew, hello from Zürich. So yeah, thanks to interviews with former employees at Elon Musk's other companies. This New York Times article really brings to the fore what seems to be a blueprint for how Musk's crisis domestic politics seems to be done, if you will. So he seems to have developed a playbook for managing his companies, including Tesla and SpaceX, as well as Twitter now, through periods of pain, employing shock treatment and alarmism and pushing his workers to end himself to put aside family and friends and spend all of their energy on his mission, going full tilt nonstop essentially. So just as he's now making headlines at Twitter with office closures and layoffs, back in 2018 with Tesla, he was lamenting his company was on the brink of bankruptcy. Dismissing employees and sleeping at the office, and at the time Musk told people that, yeah, he was sleeping on the factory floor and not leaving the factory that SpaceX as well in 2017, Musk said he needed to perform rocket launches every two weeks or face bankruptcy. So using the word bankruptcy to fire up employees. He's used the word again more recently at the rocket maker and at Twitter these days Musk is very much in full crisis mode Andrew as we can see and as a former Tesla employee put it a crisis atmosphere and self imposed austerity gives Musk the cover to make drastic changes and fire top managers and large numbers of staff and it prepares those who remain to work under extreme conditions Andrew, however, unlike what happened at Tesla SpaceX, which were high risk, high reward, if you will, it's unclear if Musk will find the means to motivate employees at Twitter the same way. Because their quests at the previous companies were they wanted to move people away from gas powered cars or send humans into space. But for Twitter employees, the risk is high, but what's the reward that comes out of it Andrew? That's what many are asking themselves. So I guess we have to consider the possibility that despite all appearances Musk does, in fact, know what he's doing. Let's move along to corriere Della Serra, the Italian government is approving the 2023 budget bill. Indeed, so the right-wing government of Georgia meloni worked late into the night to approve its first budget and it's a package focusing on taming of course Italians massive energy bills and cutting taxes for payroll workers and the self employed. Now the 2023 budget bill was approved around half past midnight and it now needs to be green lighted before the end of the year by MPs. I under the measures total almost €35 billion in all and Rome plans to fund around 60% of it by ramping up budget deficit to four and a half percent next year. Other funding sources include a rise in a windfall tax on energy companies, whereas with regards to the citizen's wage, the answer says it's known. It was a scheme for jobless Italians and this is going to be tightened and eventually scrapped within a year because it was widely seen as actually discouraging people from actively seeking jobs, if you wish. One of the most contentious measures in the budget bill is an Amnesty on tax arrays of up to a €1000 predating 2016. They're known as condoning these measures, amnesties, if you wish. And not uncommon in Italy, but of course many see them as encouraging tax, dodging in the country. Now, Andrew, a flat tax will be introduced for the self employed, raising the threshold to €85,000. But a controversial measure known as the marriage bonus is not featuring after all in the budget package. It had been mooted by the conservative lega and originally aimed to give couples who married in church a €200 bonus. Of course, opposition politicians were quick to point out Italy as a secular state. So the LEGO then conceded to amend the proposed bill to include all weddings for couples earning less than 23 grand, but melonis government scrapped that. And by the way, the prime minister herself is living with a gentleman Andrea jam Bruno, but not married to him and have a child together. Scandalous. Another story I know you wanted to point out was it's being reported by the BBC this is looking at the potential psychiatric benefits of ice cream. There we go. Well, I was drawn to this article initially because of the colorful ice cream truck that was illustrating the report Andrew. It's all pastel pinks and aquamarine and the truck on the sides of it. They're printed all sorts of eye catching slogans like grief wallops, mini milks, choc ices, plus existential despair. It's basically the story of London artist Annie Nicholson, who lost all of her closest family members in a tragic helicopter crash 11 years ago, where you could imagine the shock and devastation that that caused, but eventually she decided she wanted to help other people affected by grief and loss via the comforting sumptuous sweetness of ice cream. So the idea of a van of an ice cream van came to her during the pandemic, she called this candy colored van, the Fandango whip, Fandango was her family nickname.