Lion-hearted hypocrites

Imagine if Italy played Australia in a World Cup soccer match and Australians of Italian heritage paraded around the streets wearing azzurri jerseys and chanting about their "homeland"?

Imagine the same scenario if it was Lebanese, or Chinese, Croatian or Indian Australians?

Imagine the backlash? Indignant "Aussies" would deride them as ingrates.

"If you don't like it here, go home!" "How can you live in country for which you have little or no affinity and barrack so obnoxiously AGAINST them?"

And fair enough. It's poor form.

So how come over the past few weeks, so many Brits - who've abandoned the gloom and clutter of their homeland to live here - have been swanning 'round town in their British Lions clobber, obnoxiously rooting for the Wallabies to lose?

(And, I might add, those New Zealanders and South Africans who, with no skin in the game, barrack for the Lions over the country they LIVE in. What gives?)

Why do they get a free pass?

Actually, it's all about numbers, isn't it? In the 2011 Census 60 per cent of Australians nominated their ancestry as partly English, Irish, Scottish or Welsh.

Italians? Just 4.6 per cent. Chinese? 4.3. Indian? 2.0. Greek? 1.9.

If there's anything Aussies love doing more than boozing, punting and kicking footies, it's making a minority feel unwelcome for its first 50 or 60 years in the country - just ask the Irish.

Seriously. Sit back and imagine a CBD pub full of Pakistani or Afghani-Australians cheering against the Wallabies playing on home soil. Imagine the headlines?

The rub, however, for all you boorish Lions fans is the fantasy you've concocted of "Us versus Them". There is no Them. Most of us really don't care.

No one is kicking the cat if the Wallabies go down on Saturday night, barring a few jowly real estate agents and bankers in Sydney and Brisbane.

In Melbourne, where Collingwood plays Carlton on Friday night and Geelong plays Hawthorn on Saturday night, they'll get two 80,000-plus crowds this weekend.

Adelaide and Perth? I think a must-win Crows versus Eagles match will be out-rating the rugby Saturday night.

Sydneysiders, as ever, will get swept along with anything shiny and fun, but most of us will have more emotional investment in club games of rugby league and the Swans.

North of the border? They're already planning State of Origin winning parties.    

Nonetheless, resident British Lions fans would do well to remember they chose to live here not just because of the sunshine and "way of life" but because they actually like us, Australians.

So act with a bit of class on Saturday night, and we can keep liking you.

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