Fancy going to the bib for a wally grout? No idea what I’m saying? Then you can’t be an Australian, according to Kevin Mitchell, sports writer for the UK Observer, who has trotted out one of the most extraordinary examples of that UK press staple – a piece depicting “Down Under” as some sort of endless beach with Chips Rafferty types going around inflicting rhyming slang on each other.

Mitchell, who claims to have grown up in Australia – and who I picture as a desperately tired sixty-something man crushed under a deadline – says that we go “jungle-jimming” (swimming) at Bondi, having divested ourselves of the “bag of fruit” blokes and Charlie Wheelers (sheilas) altogether.

This poor bugger, presumably demobbed at Circular Quay circa ’45, has obviously searched his memory for a time when Australian slang wasn’t issued from Los Angeles with the new season’s TV and desperately grabbed for a stray copy of Let Stalk Strine to fill a hole in the notoriously news-free Sundays.

And it’s always the left-liberal Guardian/Observer that runs these stories – a view of Australia gleaned usually from stray remarks of Germaine Greer or Clive James. No secret why. The Right have no problem being snobs – white Australians are about the only people the liberal-left can still look down on. We’re a proxy for the white English working-class.

What a bunch of galahs, eh, dude?

Peter Fray

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