The Embarrassment of Being a Former British Colony

In the 21st century, being a former colony still simping for Mother England as humiliating as it gets.
Prince Charles greeted by crowds on a royal visit to Australia in 2012. ​
Prince Charles greeted by crowds on a royal visit to Australia in 2012. Photo: Morne de Klerk/Getty Images

Have you ever sat and considered Prince Charles’s head? Like, really holed yourself away in a corner of your study or laid prostrate on a park bench or curled up in your car boot in absolute darkness – free of distraction, clear of mind – and really considered Prince Charles’s head? Go away and do it now (if you haven’t already), I’ll be waiting. 



Awful, isn’t it? Like someone stretched out stale pizza dough and rotting chicken skin over the skull of an escaped lab experiment. They should tour his mug around mountain boondocks the world over as an educational tool to warn the tempted of the dangers of intergenerational inbreeding. It’s the kind of image that should only appear in 800 page reports on CIA black sites. Subjecting people to Prince Charles should be met with the same disdain we reserve for showing people snuff movies or donkey porn on your phone at a baptism. Horrid!

Yet, subjected to it I am and subjected to it I will be forever when his old biddy of a mother begins to deteriorate beyond the point where they can wheel her out in public because I am, tragically, a subject of the Crown, AKA an Australian.

In a not too distant and not improbable future, every time I get change for a tenner there’ll be Charles, plastered on the back of my dollarydoos, jowls and all.

In the 21st century, being a former British colony still in love with your coloniser is about as embarrassing as it gets. Here in Australia, the oldest and most beautiful culture on Earth was brought to the brink of extinction when the British decided they’d prefer to ship their 15-year-old Irish handkerchief thieves here instead of hanging them for the mob or sticking them in the rotting holds of the decommissioned warships that then filled the Thames.


The rest, as they say, is history. 

I often sit and think about how British colonisation “invented” Australia and brought all the wonders of the British imagination to that invention to make a country that is, culturally, somewhere between a car park and a bingo hall, but my therapist has told me that these thoughts are inhibiting my “progress” and that I should accept the fact that Australia – and Britain – exists, in spite of how nauseous those facts makes me feel. 

Australia is one of the British Empire’s last great leg-humpers in its crumbling Commonwealth of cucks. Regardless of how Americanised we’ve become in the past 30 years, we still love to simp for Mother England and its rowdy rabble of grotesqueries, TERFs, and nonces (including our very own Rolf Harris, awesome!). No matter how much we profess to detest you “pommy bastards”, the harsh reality is that older Aussies remain horny for the scraping and bowing forced upon them in their schooling. That, coupled with Rupert Murdoch’s stranglehold on his motherland’s (look, sorry for him!) ~discourse~ and Britain and the royals and the rest are able to maintain their “relevance”, despite the fact that Parkinson has been off air for 15 years. 

This ingrained simping pops up in bleakly comic ways. There’s nothing our media loves more than to use photoshop to imagine Diana at 50, Diana at 60, Diana at the End of All Things. The blackface-heavy sketch shows of Catherine Tate, Little Britain and co. could ask for no warmer welcome than the one they receive Down Under. Not long ago (2015), our onion-munching, lead-poisoned Witchunter General Prime Minister Tony Abbott went as far as to bring back Australian knighthoods so that he could knight the Duke of Edinburgh, in one of the last great follies of a man who would shelve the Union Jack if it meant he could reincarnate as one of the Queen’s corgis. 


White Australia has little in the way of an identity beyond playing at being fun-loving larrikins while living as uptight suburban cops, so we rely on greater powers (Britain and the US) to provide us with the sense of self-worth we can’t provide ourselves. We want nothing more than to be the Peter to your Christopher Hitchens: the lesser of two recognisable and respected mediocrities, mistakenly believing the stink wafting from your carcass will blow us to fairer waters. 

Britain’s collapse might become the most karmic reckoning in history. It’s odd to watch while still fettered to your pale ankles, but Brexit and the subsequent destruction of Britain’s importance on the world stage feels extremely cathartic. To me, at least: There’s a crop of people here who are looking at Britain tripping on their spotted dicks and back at America blowing their proverbial nuts off with an M-80 who are probably panicking about going all in on the wrong horses at the moment, but for the rest of us, Britain’s dissolution of its future beyond the UK hints at a brighter world.

Barbados recently threw off the yolk of the Empire – with at least six more Caribbean countries set to follow suit – so why not Australia? Just three days ago, our newly elected Labor Prime Minister Anthony Albanese appointed an Assistant Minister for the Republic, and, Gough be good, let’s hope another referendum is soon to follow. The Australian republic movement has been in various states of disarray since the 1999 referendum came back with a resounding “MORE QUEEN PLEASE”, but the movement’s sidelining doesn’t seem to matter much since Britain has picked up the slack in arguing against itself. 

Can you imagine a better PR campaign for an Australian republic than uncut footage of Boris Johnson flop-sweating and stammering like Hugh Grant on a comedown while looking like one of the muppets from Jabba’s Palace? If barraging Aussie newsfeeds with the unthinkable persons that are the Tory leadership hopefuls doesn’t convince my country and the world that Britain should be sawed off like a gangrenous foot, then I don’t know what will. 

Crikey, don’t get me wrong! I’m grateful for Pulp, I’m grateful for Joanna Hogg, and I wouldn’t be who I am if I didn’t watch Brass Eye on loop, but enough is enough. You had a good run. It’s time to pack it in. I’m saying this as a son of a ten-pound pom from Sunderland myself: It’s time to leave Britain to the British – after all, isn’t that what Brexit was all about?

“Is it worth it?” sings Robert Wyatt in the heart-aching dirge for the British Empire, “Ship Building,” a song I listen to when I’m thinking about said empire’s dark shadow. I think of BoJo, I think of JK Rowling, I think of Paddington Bear and Noddy and the ghosts of genocide that haunt my town/state/nation, and I think of Prince Charle’s monstrous visage appearing on a dollar coin: Is it worth it? and I hear some convict echo deep in my bowels mutter back: yeah, nah.