The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, on a visit to Australia, happily stired-up debate on immigration; migration away from Australia that is, not towards Australia.
He said that the Australians “are more like us” (the British, or probably he meant the English) than anyone else. He took the example of an Australian teacher in London who had written to him that she had to leave the country but would have loved to stay and work in one of the poorer parts of London. “Her only crime was”, said Boris, “that she is not French”. And then he went into his usual tirade of blaming Europe for all the short-comings of contemporary society.
The UK should look beyond Europe, he says, and focus on its Commonwealth partners – former colonies – that now have economic growth where Europe seems to be without. The Australians loved him for his remarks, not noticing the purely selfish nature of his love-making.
The Aussies have all the mineral resources you can think of and are performing economically relatively well, mostly thanks to their Chinese clients for these materials. And after forty years of silence Boris now says he loves the Australians more than anyone else, as they are closer to the UK culture than anyone else. Of course, in terms of UK culture, he means the kind that was rampant in the 1940s and f1950s, the one his newspaper the Daily Telegraph loves as well; you know, the culture of when the UK was all white. Bruce and Sheila share our humour, he says, probably referring to the not too subtle humour of On The Buses, Love Thy Neighbour and other such comedy shows of the 1970s that made fun of all non-white UK minorities.
Because the Ausralians that Boris wants to welcome in the UK are, of course, not the new Australians, that come from Asia either as legal immigrants or that wash ashore – the lucky ones that survive the trip that is – on Christmas Island, Australia’s Lampadusa.
These Australians may fail to see the fun of the kind of humour that portrays them as tinferior beings, the good old British humour bestowed, and bestows, on other cultures. Boris himself also said it with so many words when he said of that teacher that her crime is that she is not French. But it was not Brussels that send her packing. There is to my knowledge no European law obliging the UK to expell people that have come in from its former colonies. But it is always fun to blame Europe. Let’s call it English humour.
Non-Australian and other non-UK Londoners at least know by now that their mayor doesnot love them. It must be great to be one of the 400, 000 or so French in London and to know that your mayor sees you with such disregard. Of course, Boris does know of other cultures as he has lived part of his life in that dreaded version of hell on earth: Brussels. But now he prefers Neighbours to Victor Hugo, Olivia Newton John to Eidth Piaf and a Bass Phillip Reserve to a good Claret.