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Cheers - AE

Friday, 23 October 2009

A response to David Davis.

No, not the liberal when it suits him one. The David Davis in the Libertarian Aliance, regular blog contributor in those parts, and the gent who left a comment here gently chiding* me for my absence and long range shit hurling.
I have a bone to pick with you, as a sort of surrogate for all the other people who say on comments what I am going to pick on now.

I know that you were sincere in your desire to more out of old pom-Land.
I assume that means either you've seen the bit that said I have an Aussie wife and moved here for her more than anything else, or that I've mentioned it in comments over at the LA blog. Either way, you're right. I didn't run away from Britain - I simply came to Australia. When ranting about something particularly egregious I sometimes make remarks that it's not far enough away or use the Thank Fuck I Left The UK tag, but I hope people realise that what isn't hyperbole is said with certain amount of sadness. And of course anger that things in the land of my birth are grim enough to make me feel that way at all.
And I learn from another of your posts that you now regret the fact that, owing to the death of the UK as a free and independent nation ... you feel unable ever to return and call it home. I understand perfectly in your case, and I know you meant what you said in a sad way and no in a crowing way.
Quite correct. Absolutely no crowing should be read into what I wrote there. It felt a bit like like writing an obit actually. I was saddened by what I see not so much as a nail in the coffin but a stake through the chest, though like many others I wasn't especially surprised (which is sad in itself). Perhaps it can still be avoided but since it's just David Cameron standing in the way now I say that with very faint hope and no expectation whatsoever.
However, there are thousands, and thousands, and thousands of ordinary guys and people still here, who get a bit pissed off wutht he eternal crowings of chappies who are now "expats", and who volubly thank the Good Lord (or whoever) that they are no longer here.

The fact is, that some of us either can't go, for various reasons, or else, more likely, don't want to. I cna imagine living in Australia, if they'd let me, and very nice it would be too in many respects (but it'd be too hot and smell too much of "barbies" for me, and there'd be too many surfers and beachbabes.
Obviously I can't speak for the million or so other expat Brits who've moved Down Under, let alone the millions more that have moved elsewhere, but I can empathise with people who feel the expat community is sunning itself by pools and chuckling at those poor unfortunates who stayed behind. However, to a large extent that just ain't the way it is. I don't regret making the move but many do and end up returning to Britain - that alone should speak volumes. The grass may appear greener from the UK but often it's not (our lawn is mostly brown because of water restrictions). Some go on to change their minds again and migrate from Britain a second time - 'ping pong Poms' as they're sometimes called here. Others stay but remain fiercely loyal to Britain, especially when it comes to sport. When you work alongside Aussies and get 'Poms are crap at sport' all the time it's hard not to gloat when the Ashes go to England and when Team GB do better at the Olympics, and while I resolved to meet the Tebbit Test in my adopted country I have to confess that I feel it did Australia no harm to be beaten.

Sorry, gone slightly tangential there. Everyone who migrates here or wherever has their own reasons and mine, as I've already mentioned, relate to she who must be adored. Sure, she didn't have to twist my arm much, but we can't blame her for that. If the UK had been the sort of place desired by the libertarian bloggers I follow she might not have wanted out either. To put what I said before in a different way, it was love that brought me to Australia rather than hate that drove me from the UK. I think it's worth repeating what I said in this blog's very first post.
I think I should start this blog by saying that as much as the state of affairs in the UK depresses me I'm still quite fond of the place, and also that as much as I love it here in Australia I'm not blind to its faults. Nor were my reasons for emigrating confined to feeling that the UK was fast becoming a shithole run by a bunch of self serving power crazed tossers who could only be replaced by a slightly different bunch of self serving power crazed tossers. It's fair to say that politicians are broadly the same the world over and I didn't really expect Australia to buck the trend a great deal in that respect.
And I wasn't disappointed, which I hope comes across when I rant and vent and hurl abuse over Australian issues. Make no mistake, far from being any kind of gloating blog that I'm in Australia and millions of you are stuck in Airstrip One I'm not bashful about criticising Australia for being ridiculously over regulated and virtually demanding not just a licence to fart but different farting licences depending on which way it blows. At least I hope I don't seem bashful about it. If I seem to focus more on the UK than Australia that's partly because I was born British and that that fact can never be changed no matter how much a home Australia may become for me, and partly because I found it odd that I never felt homesick. Again, as I said back at the start of this blog (with a little emphasis on an important point):
...that's not really what this blog is going to be about. The thing is that I just don't miss Britain. Family and friends, yes, but the UK itself I miss slightly less than a bad dose of flu. Is that sad? Certainly it seems to be unusual in an ex-pat, and weirdly I experience feelings of guilt for not being homesick rather than the occasional pangs of homesickness that seems to be the norm for Poms in Australia. I can't say I didn't shed a tear when I got on the plane because saying goodbye to family at the airport is the toughest thing I've had to do, but looking out of the window as the plane took off all I could think was "thank fuck for that".

I wish I did miss the UK and when asked by Aussies what it's like I can think of dozens of reasons for visiting, dozens of things to do there and dozens of places worth seeing. In my opinion the UK is a fantastic place to visit... but I wouldn't want to live there anymore. Not with the nanny state looking over my shoulder wagging a disapproving finger all the bloody time and helping itself to half the contents of my wallet supposedly for my own good. Not with ID cards and DNA databases and surveillance and monitoring and regulations all inflicted on an innocent majority for their own good. Not with an ever growing army of parasitic little pricks administering and enforcing and kissing each others arses to get ahead. Don't get me wrong, Australia is no libertarian utopia and I'll be an Angry Exile about that as well from time to time.
David, I hope that explains where I'm coming from. It may sometimes seem that I'm one of those expats, and I concede that they are around, who do crow about having left Britain behind but if that were true I'd be telling everyone to give up and just move here to Australia. As far as I can recall I've never said that and for the same reasons I don't tell Aussies that the UK is a paragon of liberty - 'cos it just ain't so, and sure as fuck I'd never have left if it was. And as Dick Puddlecote once reminded me, the damn place is chock full of all manner of dangerous creatures - venomous spiders that can survive for days at the bottom of a swimming pool, lethal snakes, excruciating stinging fish and cone shells, thumb sized octopi that can stop your heart, deadly jellyfish, ravenous sharks and crocodiles, bloodthirsty carnivorous wallabies, drop bears, the National Rugby League and people who don't look when reversing out of parking spaces. When you consider that even a platypus can inject your arm full of venom and wild koalas will sometimes piss on people if disturbed even the cute stuff can be pretty unpleasant.**

For the record I'd say that as far as what libertarians would want Australia better than the UK in some respects, about on a par in others, and annoyingly even worse in some instances. If anyone moves here with a vision of Australia being full of independent spirits and authority bucking Croc Dundee types they are going to be bitterly, bitterly disappointed. I've seen print journos describe Victoria as a socialist paradise without any hint of irony I could detect, and while that's pretty inaccurate too it should give the lie to any idea that this is where libertarian minded people should come to live. I found out about much of this before moving and I got some hope from the fact there's a fairly libertarian party - the Liberal Democrats*** - actually campaigning for seats here. The LPUK wasn't even formed at the time of course, so I'd already settled into life here before I found out about it. Had I known it was on the horizon would I have stayed in the UK? Probably not as they're several years behind their Aussie counterparts and in any case neither is likely to win elections any time soon, but I'd have left with perhaps a little more uncertainty and used less petrol on the bridges when I burnt them.
Whatever happens, I want to stay and try to fight for my country, to tyr and get it back again. Not fight to defend it maybe, but to regain it from the British Bastards who have stolen it and turned it into something nasty while pointing guns at me.
I'm literally applauding that, and it should go without saying that I support it and wish success.
If we could get it back, would you come back? I shan't blame or curse you if you decide not to: much water goes under a bridge in time, and you may decide you don't even like what we might salvage - even if we could!
Uhhhhhmm..... maybe? I'd never say never, and even though I've just said that I burned my bridges that doesn't mean replacement bridges couldn't be constructed. That said I'd still be up against the fact that I've kind of got used to it here and it's certainly home for Mrs Exile. As I've said repeatedly the decision to move was a positive one, not a negative one driven by desperation to leave Britain. I may call myself the Angry Exile, but since I never felt forced out of my country 'exile' really is a bit of a misnomer. The other point is that migrating is a colossal pain in the arse, though a libertarian Britain would be awfully tempting. In fact if by some miracle the LPUK were to win the next election, or even just to get a few seats in a hung Parliament and be able to exert a strong libertarian influence, I'll tell you now that this blog will consist of nothing but the word 'fuck' for about a fortnight. I shall also kick the dog in what remains of his balls.

More seriously I'd be inclined to stay here and strive for the same thing. The LDP have got some great ideas and while no government could be perfect I think an LDP one would have a lot going for it. If the UK became libertarian and Australia moved even further towards more regulation, more nannyism, more intervention, more authoritarian legislation, more state (in both senses) control and less freedom to speak and come and go as we please, then I'd find it very difficult not to return to Britain. In fact if you fixed the shitty weather shittier than Melbourne weather (for the benefit of people in other states who'd be quick to bring up the subject of Melbourne's notoriously unpredictable weather) as well it'd just about clinch it. In that case I'd probably come back even if we got whitewashed in every Ashes series thereafter.

Hope that explains things, David. And thank you, because this was better than blogging about Nick bloody Griffin on Question Time.

* I exaggerate, of course. It's a fair question.
** I exaggerate again. That's mostly bullshit. Well, actually no, it's mostly true apart from the wallabies and the drop bears, but it's complete bullshit that the place is full of these things.
*** One time 'Liberty and Democracy Party' for legal reasons, but now the Liberal Democratic Party by name and nature. I keep meaning to link to their new site and this is just the reminder I need. I'm not a member of the party and may well never join, but I like many of their ideas and would recommend a shufty round their site to anyone who wishes the word 'liberal' meant what it says more often.
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