There is much concern over the direction of foreign policy in the UK, as the government begins its negotiations to exit the European Union. Some favour a “soft Brexit” (remaining part of the single market and within free movement protocols), while others favour the hard-line approach; severing all ties to the EU’s single market, court system and parliament.
After the recent election results in the UK (which saw Prime Minister Theresa May lose her majority in the House of Commons), the Brexit debate seems to be one of inconsistency and disorder.
It has been almost a year since the British public elected to leave the European Union in the 2016 referendum, and many “Remainers” cannot bare to see the country sever the 44 year bond between the UK and the EU.
However, as James Bennett puts it in his book “A Time For Audacity”:
“As the EU continues to shrink as a fraction of the world’s population and Gross World Product, it would be wise for such people to consider the idea of magnifying their impact in the world by joining together with people who already have more of a common outlook than the very disparate set known as Europeans”.
This common outlook is a return to the conditions that the UK had before joining the EEC in 1973; political and economic cooperation with Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Before the decision to admit the United Kingdom into the European Economic Community (which later became the more politically orientated “European Union”), the UK embraced freedom of movement and economic cooperation with Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Citizens of these countries could freely live, work and indefinitely reside between these nations, with no restrictions regarding work permits, spousal visas or immigration beuracracy.
However, conditions of membership to the EEC meant raising barriers to the UK’s closest allies, as freedom of movement and customs cooperation were restricted to those only on the continent. As such, Commonwealth citizenship and rights to remain were removed from the Statute books, and Canada, Australia and New Zealand implemented their own “Nationality Acts” in return.
What was once a tremendous system of opportunity and freedom was assigned to the history books in the name of EEC membership.
However, the UK’s “Brexit” referendum brings new life to the once-dominant CANZUK alliance; a union which a vast majority of the British public favour and wish to see implemented irrespective of EU membership.
And why shouldn’t they? Why should the British public confine themselves to the continent of Europe when far greater opportunities lie abroad in the Commonwealth? Lets not omit the fact that Europe has a rich culture and history which is spectacular to live amongst and visit, but it cannot compare to the advantages offered within the CANZUK countries.
Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom share the same language, a common legal system, a common parliamentary and political system, a common Sovereign, a common military structure, a common culture, similar GDP growth rates, high qualities of life, low unemployment, low crime rates, etc (the list continues on and on). Such similarities and advantages far outweigh any of the European Union’s, and are far more enticing respective of job and travel opportunities.
Many will still dismiss a CANZUK union (embracing free movement and free trade) as a nostalgic “throw back” to the days of the Empire, but many are realising that such a policy can provide unlimited opportunities for its citizens in an increasingly globalised world, and the arguments against such a union hold no weight whatsoever.
#Canada pledges swift trade deal with the #UK after #Brexithttps://t.co/Ss4IS9GnbF#EU @BrexitCentral #GE2017
— CANZUK International (@CANZUKint) May 31, 2017
There are those who say a union between the CANZUK countries could never work because of geographic proximity, but in a world with low-cost aviation and low-cost communications, does this really make a difference? The world is becoming increasingly globalised, and air travel is becoming more efficient and rapid by the year (QANTAS are introducing a new direct route from London, UK to Perth, Australia next year, and aviation engineers are currently working on flights with top speeds of 4,000 miles per hour). Soon, it will be as easy to fly from Auckland to Vancouver as it is from Munich to Lisbon.
There are also those who say a CANZUK group would be a union of “white countries” and therefore inherently “racist” or “white nationalist”. This is completely beyond justification when the UK’s membership of the European Union involves a union of 28 member countries with significant majority Caucasian populations, and no member state within the European Union is headed by a Prime Minister, President or Chancellor who is non-Caucasian. This is simply a race-baiting argument that diverts away from the CANZUK group’s economic and cultural alignment that would make free movement and free trade between these countries even more successful than what the UK experiences as part of the European Union.
Finally, there are those who say that the British public would rather embrace free movement and free trade with their European neighbours than Canada, Australia and New Zealand. However, the official figures show more UK ex-pats reside within these three countries than the entirety of the European Union. It is no surprise whatsoever that British citizens would favour living in countries with a similar culture, language and economic opportunity than the European Union where such disparity exists.
Those who object to the formation of a CANZUK union have yet to provide a solid reason for doing so, as in reality, the benefits of such cooperation far outweigh any detriments that would occur. It is rational and common-sensical to reinstate the once prosperous agreements that the CANZUK nations had in place pre-1973, as such agreements would only lead to economic growth and greater opportunities for CANZUK citizens.
As the European Union faces increased turmoil in the years ahead following the Brexit vote, and the EU’s closest ally – the United States – demonstrates greater uncertainty respective of involvement with its allies, the United Kingdom should now look to its past and work towards reinstating one of the greatest alliances for its future.
The implementation of free movement and free trade between Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom hosts the greatest opportunities in a post-Brexit climate, and whatever agreements are made in the UK’s final divorce settlement with the EU, a CANZUK union should be top of the British government’s agenda in the years ahead.
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