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 in the ’60s and ’70s ? All those experienced Bazzas offloading their old clunkers to newbies. Australians causing traffic jams in the middle of London – 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. Those Frenchies made it clear…
“The special treatment for that Aussie kid has gotta stop.”
And things have been deteriorating ever since. Now, Australians wanting to work in Britain are lucky to get visas. Many who do, become bank or insurance drones, slaving away in corporate towers – not a Fosters in sight.
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 it’s past – old acquaintance not forgot. 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, are all happy to claim Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as their sovereign – at least for visa purposes. 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 1940’s. We don’t just come running when she calls. Remember, it’s not really Great Britain any longer – more like Little Britain.
And what should we make of this possible free trade agreement between Australia and the U.K. Surely, that will lead to more ‘rite-of-passage’ partying in both hemispheres. It won’t happen until Britain leaves the E.U – at least another 2 years. Nevertheless, many folk are speculating about closer ties.
See, even the British tabloids, are hankering for the good old days. They buy our beer, wine … or 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.
The Union Jack flying in lonely splendour over the British Commonwealth.
The good old days or simply, misremembered nostalgia ?