LOOK. Listen. Look... Boris Johnson's been putting in the hard yards with our Australian cousins and in return he's been getting treated like there's a kangaroo loose in the top paddock.

Alright, yes, the UK has seen more than 60,000 excess deaths as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the economy is as crook as Rookwood and a Brexit trade deal is close to the cliff edge, so it was, admittedly, a bit surprising to see the prime minister posing with a packet of Arnott's Tim Tams and wearing a bright smile.

But even when the outlook seems as dark as a mutt's guts, don't we want a leader who laughs in the face of adversity?

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Who didn't watch Mr Johnson's video pitch about his plans for the UK-Australia free trade agreement and not nod along, buoyed by enthusiastic promises of bringing Australia and Britain even closer together. I was left wishing I could be part of a trade deal - trade me, I'll go. Just as long as no poor blighter is forced to come back in the other direction, I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

Still, our proposed new Australian-style immigration system is designed to keep foreigners out so we should be right.

"We export all kinds of things," Mr Johnson told an audience wondering if they were in the grip a fever dream, "Including, I was amazed to discover, boomerangs." Why the amazement, mate? Liam Fox, the then-International Trade Secretary, already boasted about that, along with selling tea to China and wine to France. Are your ears painted on?

“How long," implored the prime minister, "Can the British people be deprived of the opportunity to have Arnott’s Tim Tams at a reasonable price?” How long indeed should they be deprived of a biscuit very similar to a Penguin.

If that had been on the side of the bus, only think of the landslide of pro-Brexit votes we might have had.

Mr Johnson has already, at the December election, told the country of his "oven-ready Brexit deal". This is a man putting food at the centre of his trade talks. It's perhaps since his new missus put him on a diet. Please feed him soon, eh, as this sort of nonsense can't persist.

Does our country's leader believe he has oven-ready deals for Australia and New Zealand as these talks get underway?

Well, Tim Tams don't go in the oven, Boris, they'd melt.

"I want a world," and here his perspective shifts to speak directly to the Aussies, "In which we sent you Marmite, you send us Vegemite."

It was enough with the Tim Tams versus Penguins. The man's about to start World War III. No one's been able to settle the Marmite vs Vegemite dispute. Given Vegemite is part of Australian culture, why would you offend us by offering to send us a substandard version?

Ditto the offer of Penguins in exchange for Tim Tams. Australia's Seven News described the Penguin as, "similar in appearance to the Tim Tam but reputedly of an inferior quality in both taste and mouthfeel."There might be some work to do there.

Piers Morgan was getting it wrong on Twitter, for once. "We‘re going to buy Vegemite & Tim Tams from Australia & send Marmite & Penguin bars back," he tweeted, "THEY’RE THE SAME F***ING THING!!"

Oh, they're not though. And this is why you don't build a trade deal based on exchanging rival products - there'll be a falling out over this, mark my words.

It would have perhaps leant more credence to the value of the Arnott's biscuit if the packet held aloft by Mr Johnson was empty, rather than untouched. If we're unshackling ourselves from a relationship with Europe that has essentially ensured we've had enough food and supplies to get through a pandemic without national shortages and looting, then you at least want it to be in exchange for a biscuit that's irresistible.

Still, at least Australians can be thankful our country's leader acknowledged the existence of tangible trade items. In a similar video for New Zealand he extolled the virtues of orcs and hobbits. Such is the prime minister's credibility at this point, it's unclear whether he realises these are not real things.

There does seem to be a bit of general confusion in the Conservative Party about what's real and what's the product of the fantasy genre. Poor Dominic Raab is a bit muddled about the Black Lives Matter movement's cultural crossover with Game of Thrones, suggesting that the gesture of support for racial equality - taking a knee - comes from the TV series.

But it's perhaps no surprise, given that, in 2018 when he was Brexit secretary, he revealed he'd only recently developed an appreciation for the importance to UK trade of the Dover-Calais crossing.

My friends once explained the off-side rule to me using sugar packets and a salt shaker. Have we been going wrong in not providing the Tories with charts made of chocolate biscuits?

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Australia's needs are largely served by a close relationship to Asia where proximity means lower transport costs, wages are lower and manufacturing is cheaper. But let's drop the tariffs on Tim Tams imports and she'll be right.

Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard expressed a bit of surprise at the whole thing, saying Mr Johnson seems to think that a trade deal with Australia is "somehow a substitute to being on the doorstep to a market with 500 million people."

Her summation was blunt, "It's not."

If we are to have an influx of bargain priced Tim Tams then let me give you some advice. It's not enough just to stick them in your mouth like any old common or garden snack. What you want is to create a Time Tam Explosion, or we also call it the snappier Tim Tam Slam. There was a 2003 advertising campaign, which is perhaps what captured Mr Johnson's imagination, with the slogan The Tim Tam Suck but let's not dwell on that.

What you want to do is to make a really good brew then take your Tim Tam and bite off opposite corners. Next, stick it in your cuppa and suck the tea up as through a straw. Just as the biscuit begins to lose structural integrity, stick the whole thing in your mouth.

This is where we are now. We're saying goodbye to trade, industry, jobs, freedom of movement, the economy's shot and we're in the middle of a pandemic. The whole country's lost structural integrity and the man at the helm is focused on the free exchange of yeast extracts. The best we can really hope for now is small pleasures.

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