With hindsight, David Cameron’s decision to include a commitment to an in/out referendum on our membership of the European Union in the Conservative Party’s 2015 General Election manifesto, was a spark which ignited an ongoing Conservative led revolution in this country. Now this may well bear more resemblance to Quebec’s Quiet Revolution, but it is a revolution non-the less.
In the course of the last five years the politics and future of this country has been irrevocably shifted. The changing relationship with our European partners is just one facet of this revolution. The two-party system has been shaken to its core, the Thatcher-Blair economic consensus has disappeared and the Conservative Party itself has not been spared. The outlook of the party today, its priorities and ambitions, bear little resemblance with those it held on the eve of its return to office in 2010. To borrow Tony Blair’s 2001 phrase, the ‘kaleidoscope has been shaken, the pieces are in flux’.
At the core of Brexit and the Conservative revolution is a palingenetic vision of a renewed global Britain.
If we are truly living through a Conservative revolution though, the question must be asked what are we seeking to build from the dust? For a revolution cannot just be a process of destruction, it must also herald rebirth. At the core of Brexit and the Conservative revolution is a palingenetic vision of a renewed global Britain. A Britain once more taking its place as an independent, sovereign and free-trading nation on the world stage.
This may well be a myth, and many column inches have been devoted over the last few years to claiming exactly that, but if it is a myth it is certainly an appealing one. Appealing because it offers a vision of a future for this nation, that many on the right would happily subscribe to. A future with less bureaucracy, less tax, more free trade and the nation-state preserved and upheld as the preeminent polity to which the citizen owes its loyalty, and to whose rules we must submit. A rejection of protectionism, endless red tape and distant and unaccountable apparatchiks.
With the first stage of Brexit now delivered, and the Labour Party routed, we are moving from the period of cathartic destruction to a period of rebuilding. At home there is much to be done, infrastructure, economic rebalancing, housing and that much used phrase, regional levelling up, but it is not with these matters we seek to concern ourselves. If the promise of Brexit is to be truly delivered, the Conservative revolution must not just overturn half a century of British foreign policy but forge a new one, and where better to start than by making good the damage Ted Heath’s government did to our partnership with the old dominions. We must seize this chance, before inertia reclaims Whitehall to construct a new global partnership in the form of CANZUK.
CANZUK is not a new term or a new idea, first coined by William McIntyre in 1967, but we see in this certainly a new opportunity. That is why Conservatives for CANZUK have come together to build a new grassroots mass movement within the Conservative Party with the aim of driving forward the CANZUK agenda. We seek nothing short of forging a new consensus on the political right behind CANZUK as the cornerstone of British foreign policy in this century.
The means to deliver the opening stages of CANZUK are already in place, this is in the form of two existing agreements, the Trans-Tasman Travel Agreement and the Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement. If these agreements are extended from their existing members, Australia and New Zealand they can form the basis for a new economic and political relationship. A relationship which can, and should, come to encompass the free movement of people, goods and capital within a loose political confederation. We do not suggest that Britain, having freed itself from one supranational, power seeking organisation should now join another, instead we envisage CANZUK as already stated, as loose political confederation. A confederation which can and does allow for a form of de-facto joint citizenship, integrated economies and enhanced, efficient cooperation on foreign and defence matters.
If achieved such a confederation will be the world’s third largest economy, covering by far the largest land area, rank among the world’s most developed nations by HDI and possess far more negotiating and economic clout than any of its individual parts could muster.
Therefore, sure in the knowledge that CANZUK is the best future for Britain in the 21st Century, Conservatives for CANZUK intend to harness both old and new methods to reach out to the Party members to spread this vision. If you, like us, believe in Britain and want to see this nation retake its rightful place on the world stage, hand in hand with our sister-nations across the sea, join us and fight to make it happen.