Phew! Wasn’t Australia lucky it had Boris Johnson well and truly by the balls when negotiating this free trade agreement between our two great nations?
Our trade talks experts knew that Boris was desperate to show the world that Global Britain was back in business after Brexit wheeling and dealing didn’t quite go as smoothly or as quickly or as favourably for the UK as Boris had promised.
A free trade agreement between the UK and Oz would lead quickly to others, well and truly showing those funny-speaking European Union members that the Centre of Empire can do quite well without them, thank you very much!
Australia’s negotiators knew all this and were putting enormous pressure on the British PM’s plums – and by natural extension – those of his trade negotiators. The ones with plums, anyway. What our side had the UK’s female negotiators by, I will leave to your imagination.
And when those ruthless, heartless, Oz negotiators demanded that quotas and tariffs on our beef and lamb and some other dead stuff should be phased out over five short years in this new and exciting free trade in five years time agreement, they knew it would be far too painful for Boris and his team to even try to twist and turn their way out of that reasonable demand.
Except, of course, the Aussies forgot to factor in that UK farmers, mightily concerned about Down Under beef and lamb and some other dead things ruining their livelihoods, also had Boris by the balls.
And, no, I’m not sure who was lucky enough to have held the upper hand.
As it turned out, those farmers were squeezing as if their working lives depending on it – and they might – so Boris and his team demand those tariffs and quotas be slowly phased out over fifteen years!
Of course Australia, tougher than Boris’s nuts, held firm!
Well, just for a little before releasing their grip and saying “Sure! Why not? A free trade deal in 15 years time sounds okay to us!
“You are our daddy, after all, and the only thing we’ve really ever wanted to beat you at is cricket.”
Just how devilishly awful the Oz negotiators have been over all this will come out when all the details are revealed but we also know that during these give-and-give talks, our side – the Keystone Cops of trade negotiations – also agreed it would be okay for young Poms to come Down Under without having to do 88 days of farm work to stay a bit longer.
This has forced the Nationals to resurrect their demands for agriculture visas to find fresh slave labour from the Pacific to stop our fruit and vegies rotting under trees and in the fields.
Now to be fair – and my rants always are – the free trade in 15 years time agreement does allow Australia to flog its wines to Great Britain at cheaper prices.
The UK produces bugger all wine anyway – about 1 per cent of their annual consumption – so growers over there probably didn’t have a great amount of ball-squeezing power, even if they could have found some scrotal space left to squeeze.
And lifting restrictions on Down Under wine is a win-win for both sides anyway seeing the best use of home-grown UK wine – mostly whites by the way – is its effectiveness in clearing blocked kitchen sink drains and bogged-up toilets.