Out of the EU, Boris can complete Churchill’s dream
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BY TED YARBROUGH
Brexit is not, in itself, a vision of what Britain or the world should look like; it is the means of restoring Britain’s power to shape that vision. Boris Johnson’s government is charged with forging not just a revitalised post-Brexit Britain at home, but a revitalised post-Brexit Britain within the international order.
It is a huge task – and an extremely exciting one. I hope and believe my country, the United States, will stand with you proudly.
Many people falsely view Brexit in terms of a “nationalist versus globalist” debate. For some, Brexit represents the triumph of “populist” nationalism over the more “enlightened” supranationalism of the EU.
History shows us that supranationalism and nationalism have brought misery in equal measure – see, for instance, the nationalist Nazi Germany or the supranational USSR. Though the EU is no USSR, its large, undemocratic institutions have brought economic stagnation – and far worse – to many and it is totally right for the UK to free herself from its grasp.
Both nationalism and supranationalism are not in the character of the United Kingdom. However, there is a another way forward that the country should embrace wholeheartedly. The Churchillian option – perhaps better expressed as the Commonwealth option.
At the conclusion of World War II, Churchill believed that the free world should be organised into three “majestic circles”: the American dominated circle; the European (or “United States of Europe”) circle; and the British Commonwealth and Empire. He believed these three circles could ensure stability, expand the scope of the freedom, and – most importantly – maintain peace.
After the war, two of these “majestic circles” – American and European – blossomed and grew, but the Commonwealth circle stagnated and largely went dormant as the Empire disappeared.
Britain did not go away. It did fulfil Churchill’s wish to be a bridge between the US and Europe, but it largely abdicated its responsibilities to its Commonwealth friends and allies when it joined the EEC in 1973.
The world has changed since 1973 and now Brexit Britain has an enormous opportunity to fashion the 21st century. The “Anglosphere” – the U.S., UK and Commonwealth – provides both a security blanket and a springboard to the UK’s fully realisable dream of a “global Britain”.
The Commonwealth is now a larger economy than the EU, and the US is the world’s largest economy.
The Commonwealth circle spans all the world’s continents. A revitalised Commonwealth could provide a model for twenty-first century co-operation, based not on a centralised supranational bureaucracy decreeing orders from on high, but on mutual respect, mutual co-operation and shared initiatives.
Take for example the CANZUK nations (Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom). Because the “CANZ” and UK have roughly the same population size, living standards, and shared heritage, they could all agree to free movement of labour.
Other Commonwealth nations could agree to joint research projects, for example with India or Singapore. They could agree to grand free trade deals, such as the C9 deal I have regularly advocated – a deal between the UK, Canada, Singapore, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and Nigeria.
With shared institutions, such as the Royal Family, the Commonwealth games, as well as the biennial meeting of leaders, the Commonwealth could become a shining example to the world; a practical, open, innovative exemplar of how to conduct international relations.
Shoulder to shoulder with the U.S., Brexit Britain can energetically reform itself as a world leader in free trade, free people, free markets, free expression.
Boris Johnson’s hero is famously Winston Churchill. His government should work to make Churchill’s vision a reality.
Ted Yarbrough is a lawyer based in the United States. He is the co-founder and editor of The Daily Globe. Follow him on twitter: @TedYarbrough1