Of all the many splendid opportunities provided by the British people’s heroic Brexit vote, perhaps the greatest is the resuscitation of the idea of a CANZUK Union.
|Brisbane CBD (photo: choosebrisbane.com.au)|
The Crown countries of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom (CANZUK) need to form a new federation based upon free trade, free movement of peoples, mutual defence, and a limited but effective confederal political structure.
As one of the leaders of the nascent CANZUK project, James Bennett, points out in his new book A Time For Audacity: New Options Beyond Europe: “In the era of the internet and cheap global air travel, common language, law, history and traditions of government count far more than geographical proximity.”
Much more unites than divides the CANZUK countries, and were it to become a Union it would immediately become one of the global great powers alongside America, the EU and China. It would be easily the largest country on the planet, have a combined population of 129 million, the third biggest economy and the third biggest defence budget.
A movement towards such an entity is already beginning, with 160,000 people signing a petition for free CANZUK movement of peoples on www.cfmo.org within a few months. CANZUK free movement brings an immediate benefit to ordinary Britons, with effective reciprocity in the form of employment, business, and retirement opportunities that ordinary Britons can enjoy, as opposed to the mostly theoretical benefits that the EU brought.
Unlike EU free movement, CANZUK would provide not only the right to take a job in a member state, but in one where there actually are real jobs available.
|UK & Australia trade talks in London (photo: The Telegraph)|
Australia’s foreign minister Julie Bishop has recently said that a free-trade deal with post-Brexit Britain could lead to “improved access” and more visas for travel between Australia and Britain. There is similar support in New Zealand and Canada, which will next week welcome the Duke and Duchesss of Cambridge.
But this should be just the beginning. Now that Britain is free of the EU, she can pursue the dream of early 20th century giants such as Joseph Chamberlain – incidentally, Theresa May’s political hero – for an Anglospheric combination of free states that would project a strong and independent voice in the world.
The CANZUK Union of free trade and free movement should be the nucleus for the recreation of the dream of the English-speaking peoples that was shattered by Britain’s entry into the EU. We must pick up where we left off in 1973.
|Brisbane CBD (photo: Australia.com)|
We CANZUK countries together have far more of the potential for successful state-building than do any four member-states of the EU. A common head of state, a majority language, legal systems based on Magna Carta and the common law, Westminster parliamentary tradition, military structure, and a long history of working together including in the proudest voluntary military collaboration in human history, resisting Nazi aggression.
All we lack is geographical proximity, which is becoming less and less important in the modern world. CANZUK is an idea whose time has, thanks to Brexit, finally come again.
Prof Andrew Roberts is Chairman of the Advisory Board of the CANZUK Union Institutes. Details of the Canzuk Union can be found by clicking here
[Article posted by The Telegraph]