WHERE else would you read the The Times other than on a visit to the United Kingdom.
Currently a number of local articles in that famous tabloid seem to offer some sign posts to the future, at least in this nation actually made up of a number of smaller nations.
Currently attached to England at the waist is Scotland, whose population is soon to be offered a referendum as to whether 300 years of joint nationhood will continue.
Northern Ireland is looking increasing like it will eventually rejoin the southern part of the Ireland as the people reportedly become more religiously aligned with Eire.
Then there’s Wales, where we recently visited a mate who previously lived in PNG.
Apparently, as a native of Wales, his daughter was required to learn Welsh at the first school she attended. All road signs are bilingual with Welsh and English added underneath as a possible afterthought for strangers who dare cross the border.
Speaking of which, if you do cross the border from England into Wales you have to pay a large toll but not if you go the other way.
Then there’s Cornwall, a nation within a nation. Cross the border between Devon and Cornwall and you get the message loud and clear that you have entered another nation.
The Union Jack of Great Britain ceases to be flown and the black and white flag of St Piran is seen everywhere. The Cornish have recently been recognised as a distinct minority and there is a nationalist movement to further the cause of these proud Celtic people numbering about 540,000.
Some signs spotted at a local agricultural show read, ‘Keep Cornwall clean. Leave your rubbish in Devon’.
Yet the native population of the United Kingdom is diminishing. Birth rates are decreasing below replacement rate.
Again according to The Times, England will grow in the future at around 1,000 new people every day but this will be due to migration.
Yet migration is starting to create tensions within the British population with reports that some schools are being infiltrated by a particular religion and school children are being indoctrinated in non-British traditions.
Even the Pope has come out and advised his flock to start having children and stop using pets as surrogates. Pets of course are far easier and cheaper to look after than children. They don’t answer back or ask ‘why?’ either.
The looming problem is who will do the essential work no one else wants to do? Reports suggest people with two and three university degrees are finding it difficult to get the work they believe they are entitled to.
Nurses are being recruited from European Union countries to fill an increasing need to look after an aging population. Tourist accommodation in England is home away from home for Europeans, with a huge number of accents encountered in the reception and dining areas of most hotels.
Germans, Romanians and Czechs seem to have arrived in large numbers courtesy of the relaxed immigration arrangements in the European Union.
So what does this situation give as an example to us in our south-west Pacific region?
Well, Australia has an aging population and looks inevitably like following the UK in needing migration to fill the employment vacuum left by those who decide not to have children or to wait while they pursue their careers.
Recent decisions by the Australian government to keep people working longer might sound great in theory but have small practical application. Hard physical work can’t be performed by 65 to 70 year olds yet there will be no future offer of government assistance until people reach this age or become disabled.
If the UK is anything to go by, qualified immigrants will be increasingly sought as the Australian population continues to age.
Some Pacific nations like Kiribati are now providing qualified nurses to fill vacancies in New Zealand where local opportunities exist. We know that PNG is currently busily recruiting qualified nurses from the Philippines.
So if we take an educated look into the potential future employment opportunities in our region, perhaps one sure bet might be that, if PNG has a resource pool of qualified professionals, places like Australia might provide future employment for work much better than seasonally picking fruit.
There has never been a better time to start planning for this future.