Like a petulant stepchild lashing out at his new father, a man who has, with the occasional cuff round the ear, done nothing but care for you, it’s no surprise that you Aussies feel an animosity towards us Brits, your masters and overlords. But did you know that the feelings of aversion are mutual? Well they are, and here’s why.
The world loves you
We Brits hate the Germans. We shouldn’t. If it wasn’t for Germany we would be the most hated country in all of Europe. Ask virtually any nationality and they will tell you in no uncertain terms how much they abhor the British. Over a 300-year stretch we strode the globe, massacring pygmies armed with nothing but sharpened fruit and inventing the concentration camp. Yes, we ruled the world with a stiff upper lip and an iron fist, but what about Australia? You committed systematic genocide on the Aborigine people, yet what’s your global image? Lovable surfers with cork hats. Bastards!
Two things soundtracked my time backpacking around Australia 10 years ago. One was Jet’s Are You Gonna Be My Girl, the other was the phrase “fackin’ poms!” The former was a boot-stomping, dad-rockesque anthem that recalls drunken bumbling around the grotty indie clubs of Melbourne and Sydney. The latter makes me want to kidney-punch a wombat. “Fackin’ poms, fackin’ poms!” Fuck off! The most annoying thing about “fackin’ poms” – nasally intone aside – is the sheer inaccuracy of the insult. The phrase ‘pom’ has two likely etymological backgrounds: an abbreviation of ‘pomegranate’, a slang term for immigrant; or from an old military abbreviation P.O.H.M.S. (Prisoner Of Her Majesty’s Service). Well, that’s you that is. You’re the immigrants, you’re the prisoners, you’re the fackin’ poms, not me!
Speaking of prisoners, what knobhead made Australia the penal colony to 19th century Britain? Look at your beautiful cities. Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne. And your sandy beaches, your coral reefs. Now look at England. Sunderland, Coventry, Bradford, Hull. Hull for fuck’s sake! And have you ever been to Skegness beach? Christ almighty. Who ever it was that was responsible for choosing which island was to be a prison fucked up in a royally major way.
She’ll be right
I don’t know whether it’s the glorious weather, the veritable bounty that is the average Australian’s diet, or the security that comes with being the third wealthiest nation by capita in the world, but you Aussies have a disposition so sunny it can only be rivalled by Cheery McHappy, professor of Gladness at the Sunshine University for the Persistently Smiley. Do you not know there’s a world going on? Stop being so happy, stop telling me that “she’ll be ‘right.” She won’t be ‘right. She’s unemployed, she’ll die a pauper’s death with no pension and her children hate her. Join the rest of us; the world’s shit, be fucking miserable for fuck’s sake.
With a surface area of seven and a half million km² Australia is a big fucking country, however bugger all people live there. In fact, there are less people in Australia than live within the M25 ring road that encircles London. But still, with such a small population, from such a tiddly catchment group, you frequently and consistently beat us in sports that we took the time and effort to invent: rugby, cricket, soccer. Even at the Olympics you punch well above your weight. And when you win, are you gracious in victory? Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! ad infinitum. It just doesn’t seem fair that you should be so good at all you turn your hands to.
You’re even better at racism! Britain is a nation that built its superpower status on the killing off anyone with a darker complexion than us (i.e. everyone). Yet nowadays, despite the recent rise of the right wing United Kingdom Independence Party and the British National Party, people are currently up in arms at the government-sponsored vans that are driving around London asking illegal immigrants to go home. At the same time, it seems Australians – a nation of immigrants themselves, lest we forget – are quite content to watch their government studiously ignore the desperate pleas of the thousands of unfortunate buggers on rickety boats in the surrounding, shark-infested waters. And don’t get me started on your opinions of the Lebanese. I mean, how much bother can a nation of less than half a million people cause you?
It could be comprehensively argued that the extent of Australia’s contribution to the world of culture and entertainment is Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman and Neighbours. Not exactly Shakespeare and Dickens, is it? But then, at the nadir of this mediocrity you have Rolf Harris, quite possibly the least entertaining ‘entertainer’ in the history of the world. Many a childhood weekend of mine was ruined by his bizarre form of beatboxing on kids’ TV, that painting of the Queen was utter shite and in Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport he has created the greatest atrocity ever committed to vinyl. And now we have the accusations of Operation Yewtree thrown into the mix, forever destroying in my head Two Little Boys. Mind you, whatever crimes he may have committed, none can be as horrific as his introduction into musical history of the wobble board.
The funny thing is that culturally we have a lot in common, and this is no more apparent than in our pub culture. You like a drink, we like a drink, and the numbers of British and Australian pubs in our respective countries are a proud testament to this fact. Lucky you, you have some of the most fertile wine growing regions, and most importantly some great beers: Coopers, Moo Brew, Mountain Goat, and anything made by Sydney’s The Rocks Brewery Co. But what gift do you give to the world of beer consumption? Fosters. Fucking Fosters. Of course, you bastards don’t drink the stuff yourselves, but you’re happy enough to watch us swill it as if it’s the amber nectar that Paul Hogan would have us believe. You clever, clever bastards.
The British monarchy is a disgrace. It is an antiquated relic of a bygone era of God-given lines of primogeniture and divine rights of rule, but until the revolution comes, or until little prince George is revealed as part of an al-Qaeda sleeper cell and detonates the whole bally lot of them, we Brits are stuck with the fuckers. But you lot, you had your chance. Back in 1999 you had a referendum that would enable you to cast off the shackles of Elizabethean oppression, but did you do it? Did you bollocks. It just goes to show that, for all of your bellyaching and whinging, you love us really and, like the caddish yet devilishly handsome lover we are, you couldn’t bear to let us go.
You won’t let me back in
I’m a great guy, I’ve got loads to offer. I’m a hard worker, just give me a chance, yeah. I just want to come back to Australia, it’s shit here. I’ll do anything for a visa, and I mean anything. Yes, even that, just give me a visa, please…
Mark Guthrie is a freelancer who bumbles around writing tosh and nonsense about anything that will steer him away from the Pulitzer he so desperately craves. If the mood takes you, you can follow him on twitter and instagram, or you can read some of his other crap at The Daily Heckled, a website that is in absolutely no way a rip off of The Onion.