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Dear Mother England: We’re not moving back home

Dear Mother England: We’re not moving back home

Friday 3 February, 2017
Mother's on the phone asking us to move back home post Brexit, but until she sorts the office out, we're avoiding her calls.
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Mother’s on the phone asking us to move back home post Brexit, but until she sorts the office out, we’re avoiding her calls.

The Brits are starting to settle into this Brexit thing and guess what? We might see beat up old kombi vans outside Australia House, again. What a sight that was, all those experienced Bazzas offloading their old clunkers to newbies. Australians causing traffic jams in the middle of London – oh, the good old days. We owned the place in those times and didn’t the Poms just love us? Or we thought they did.

Then Britain joined the European Union and everything changed.

Like a stunned teenager slouching in front of the TV, we were kicked out of the house. To be fair, it was the new step-parent that told us to leave. They made it very clear… “The special treatment for that dim Aussie kid has gotta stop.”

And things have been deteriorating ever since. Now, Australians wanting to work in Britain are lucky to get visas, and many who do, become bank or insurance drones, slaving away in corporate towers with nary a Fosters in sight.

If Mother Britain wants the colonials’ help in a Post-Brexit world, to paraphrase Alexander Downer, she better make it easier for Aussies to live and work there. After all, it’s not so much Great Britain any longer – more like Little Britain.

But lick your finger and test the wind – things are starting to change. The mother country is getting a divorce and looking to reconnect with its past – old acquaintance not forgot. She’s too old to be single. Of course, reunions can be a little shaky at first. That’s to be expected. It’s weird contacting your grown up offspring and saying you want to reconcile after all these years; “Oh, now you decide to call.”

However, it’s only going to be awkward if you let it be awkward. UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has pledged to “champion the issue” for Aussies working in Britain. But awkwardly, British Prime Minister Theresa May says she wants to prioritise local workers. But what could be more local than an Earls Court Aussie – boozing in a flat-share? Furthermore, our backpackers treading that well worn path to London’s Kangaroo Valley all claim Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as their head of state. If the monarchists can’t deliver on this issue, what’s the point?

And if Mother Britain wants the colonials’ help in a Post-Brexit world, well, to paraphrase Australia’s High Commissioner, Alexander Downer, she better make it easier for Aussies to live and work there. After all, this is not the 1940s. We don’t just come running when she calls. Remember, it’s not so much Great Britain any longer – more like Little Britain.

Even the British tabloids are hankering for the good old days. They buy our beer, our wine, our…sheep. And “Made in England” labels command premium shelf space here in Australia.

And what should we make of this possible free trade agreement between Australia and the UK? Surely, that will lead to more rite-of-passage partying in both hemispheres. It won’t happen until Britain leaves the EU – at least another two years but nevertheless, many folk are already speculating about closer ties (“Booze prices head down under […] on the back of post Brexit deal” – The Sun).

See, even the British tabloids are hankering for the good old days. They buy our beer, our wine, our…sheep. And “Made in England” labels command premium shelf space here in Australia.

Alright, maybe it’s too much to expect a return to the good old days – the era of bumping into the ubiquitous Aussie on every West London street corner, gone forever. It’s likely a Post-Brexit Britain will look nothing like a Pre-EU Britain.

And how good was that time anyway, rosy reminiscing? Gingerly walking along an icy footpath in the middle of winter, trying to graft a few pounds, pulling pints at the local pub – striding under the Union Jack flying in lonely splendour over the British Commonwealth?

The question is, do we want to go back? Will our bedrooms look the same, with the walls painted with the promise of good old days, or will the walls be knocked down by the wrecking ball of misremembered nostalgia?

Might just be best to turn the phone off.

 

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