Finally, Brexit has happened and the UK truly has a great future to look forward to. In Prime Minister Boris Johnson, we have a leader who, backed by a large parliamentary majority, is uncompromisingly “taking back control” and making the UK an independent nation once again. This can be seen in the government’s negotiating position with red lines that all supporters of independence will cheer.
We can also see that the government is working to once again make free trade deals around the world, taking its independent seat at the WTO for the first time and pushing for a much needed free trade deal with the United States. However, what of the future? What should be the UK’s ambition in order to be a truly global nation? For that vision of what Global Britain can look like, one needs not look farther than the Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth of Nations is the natural home of the United Kingdom if it is to remain an international and vibrant nation. It has a bigger economy than the EU and unlike the European Union, its economies are growing exponentially. Of the 12 largest economies in the world, excluding Great Britain, three are from the Commonwealth- Canada, India and Australia.
And unlike the EU which has some figures in it that wish to “punish” the UK, Commonwealth friends such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, India and Gambia have all called for new trade deals and close ties with Britain. The UK has literally a queue of friends waiting to have a relationship with it.
Furthermore, besides Canada, Australia, and India, the Commonwealth is home to some of the world’s biggest financial centres in Singapore, the biggest emerging Islamic financial hub in Kuala Lumpur, and is home to the two biggest economies in Africa-Nigeria and South Africa. It also is home to New Zealand and many of the fastest growing economies in the world.
The British people, in their wisdom, decided it was best not to be chained to an organisation in one continent that is bent on rule by plutocrats in part because they are already part of a community that spans the globe and shares in much of Great Britain’s values, history, and culture that Europe does not- such as Common Law and cricket.
With Commonwealth nations rising, this is the perfect opportunity to make deals to benefit the UK- and in a unique model built for the twenty first century rather than the EU’s archaic single market.
But, if not an EU model, how should a Commonwealth Common Market look and function?
I propose plans be drawn up for “C5” and “C9” agreements to turbo-charge Britain into a post-EU global future.
“C9” would be a free trade pact between the nine big powers of the Commonwealth- the UK, Canada, India, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Nigeria and South Africa. This would be as big or bigger than the 9 member EEC of the 1970s Britain joined, but with a bigger future upside.
Secondly, the UK should push for easing restriction on movement of people where it makes sense – not from Eastern Europe in the EU, but with natural allies who would fit in well in the UK. Like Prime Minister Boris Johnson, I see strong advantages from freedom of movement of labour with allies such as Australia, and thus I propose making freedom of movement in a “C5” of the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Singapore – the CANZUKS nations.
The C5 and the C9 would be a big step towards establishing the UK as a world leader, not a nation arguing with self-important Eurocrats; begging them not to impose more rules. The C5 and C9 agreements would be a model for global twenty-first century cooperation between sovereign and equal nations.
The world is a big and wonderful place filled with diverse people that can learn from one another. In their Commonwealth friends, the UK has a ticket to the world that most nations don’t have. Britain must strengthen their Commonwealth bonds as soon as possible to create a truly dynamic and lasting Global Britain.
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