Everything you wanted to know about a possible free trade deal with Europe (but had no time or, indeed, actual inclination to ask)

You’re welcome.  Although it’d be nothing short of a pants-incinerating lie of Trumpian proportions to tell you it was my ‘pleasure’, I am more than happy to spare you the agony that I have so recently experienced for myself. Granted, it’s several days that I’ll never get back and it’s more than likely that a small piece of my soul has died, but I didit.  What’s more, I did it with a smile on my face, albeit one that was drawn on with texta and will take upwards of a month to wash off, but that hardly matters.  I have read the proposed free trade agreement between Australia and Europe so you don’t have to.  Thank me later.

First, the bad news: Australians may no longer be allowed to use the term ‘feta’.  As a cheese-loving nation, this is quite the blow. Frankly, it feels like something being sought more out of spite than principle.  But as Australians, we really know how to roll with the punches and I’ve already come up with a bunch of alternatives.  For fans of Star Wars, we could call it ‘Bobba Feta’. To the best of my knowledge, our great nation is not currently attempting to negotiate a free trade deal with George Lucas, so I am semi-confident that we can get away with it. Although, to be fair, George Lucas is a lot more powerful than Europe.  Suffice to say, if he parks the Death Star outside your house, best to stay indoors.  

Alternatively, as a salute to modern elocution, we could rename the product ‘feddar’.  I doubt anyone would notice.  Perhaps some kind of celebrity endorsement would help us preserve the status quo; I, for one, would be happy to purchase a hundred gram pack of ‘Roger Fetarer’.  Dare I say, you could ‘serve’ it to anyone.  (No need to write in – just insert your own comment about that joke being a ‘double fault’ and move on….)  Or we could try something descriptive like ‘stinky crumble cheese’. Sounds delicious.

I feel we should stand our ground, especially on the touchy subject of cheeses.  ‘Gouda’ isn’t a reference to a milk-based cheese from Holland.  I’m pretty sure ‘Gouda’ played half back flank for Essendon in 1987 before going on to run a small caravan park in Patchewollock.  If memory serves, his full name was ‘Peter Gouda’ and he is best remembered for having a mullet that could be seen from space.  Although that could probably be any footballer from that era.

A ‘Camembert’ was a small sedan produced by Holden in the sixties.  A ‘Gruyere’ is an ornamental chisel often used to shimmy open a stuck kitchen drawer.  A ‘Buxton Blue’ is a disagreement with a real estate agent and a ‘Melton Mowbray pork pie’ is a blatant untruth told by someone who lives half way to Ballarat.  These terms cannot be taken away from us – they’re an intrinsic part of our way of life.  Back off, Europe.  If you remove the term ‘Devonshire’ from my favourite snack, it will leave me devastated and in need of a scone and a cup of tea.

There are plans to take these restrictions even further. For example, the French are planning to prohibit anyone else from using the term ‘de ja vu’, although I feel may have done that before.  The Spanish are seeking to reclaim the term ‘siesta’ meaning an end to daytime naps as we know them.  ‘English ham’ will no longer refer to a pork-based product but may still be used when referring to Ricky Gervais.  Sadly, a ‘Dutch Oven’ can only be used with respect to an actual oven.  If they keep this up, we’ll have no choice but to resign from Eurovision even though we’re clearly the best thing in it by an absolute mile.  (Kate Miller Heidke was totally robbed last year.  Robbed.)  Good luck watching Estonia, suckers!

We have to retaliate.  Great Australian inventions like cask wine, tramp stamp tattoos, hook turns and the tall poppy syndrome should be withdrawn from the continent entirely.  Terms like ‘stone the flaming crows’, ‘fair suck of the sauce bottle’ and ‘drongo’ will be flat-out banned, meaning every episode of ‘Home and Away’ featuring a scene with Alf Stewart will have to be majorly re-edited.  The folks in Brussels won’t know what hit them. I can’t even recall the last time European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen opened her mouth without using either the term ‘flaming galah’ or ‘drop-kick’ at least once.  Hugh Jackman will no longer speak to them.  Forget ‘Brexit’ – Jackxit is where European resolve is truly tested.    

If you’re thinking about reading the proposed free trade deal for yourself, it seems only fair to warn you that it is not a riveting read. Although it will make you hungry. I’d tell you more about it but I don’t want to give away the ending.  I just hope neither side goes overboard.  After all, what does it matter what it’s called so long as it’s still delicious?  They say a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.  Except you can’t call it a ‘rose’ anymore and, instead, are legally obliged to refer to it as ‘perennial flowering bee magnet’. It must be super awkward for the negotiators over dinner.  I’d say ‘bon appetite’ but I suspect it’s not allowed.