Despite what ‘Remoaners’ tell you, there is a world beyond Europe. This is where the UK’s future lies, not in an outdated bureaucratic regime. Unfortunately, we do not sit on many natural resources and that is why we need to be where the customers are. However, if we remain members of the Single Market and Customs Union it will be impossible to do this as we are unable to create our own free trade deals. If the government sticks to its Brexit plan and there are no major bumps along the way, we will be withdrawing from both and getting the Brexit we voted for. Post-Brexit, the UK must capitalise on the opportunity and become a more global Britain. The Anglosphere would be a fine place to start.
The EU comprises of 28 member states who all have different needs and desires. This political and economic union has come at the cost of democracy and British sovereignty. Why? How can we be completely satisfied with these EU trade agreements if they are also looking out for 27 other member states? The fact is, we can’t. In 2016, the EU’s deal with Australia was halted due to the protests of Italian farmers. These farmers were looking out for their interests, which is not only admirable but also just. That being said, their actions did not benefit the rest of the EU. Now, a year after the Brexit vote, the UK has the whole world ahead of them and can finally make their own demands and satisfy their own needs, completely.
Nick Clegg often touted the EU by asking: “Why turn our backs on the customers who lay on our front doorstep?” A question which can be answered simply: Geographical proximity has never mattered less than it does today. Cheap flights, Skype, email, refrigeration, long-range shipping – business has never been so easy; the fact that the EU are our neighbours is not a strong enough reason to give them priority. Over the last decade India, China, and Ethiopia have had their economies double in size whilst the Eurozone has remained the same size since 2006. It is time to go global.
The Anglosphere is the UK’s true family. We share history, law, language, culture, experiences, and values – this is what makes the ‘Anglospheric’ bond so strong. I am not proposing an ‘Anglosphere Union’, on the contrary, it will be a partnership of equals. President Trump has already expressed his desire to negotiate a free trade deal with Britain, whilst Malcolm Turnbull (Prime Minister of Australia) is optimistic about Australia’s post-Brexit relationship with the UK. Infamously, Jean Claude Juncker said that the English language is “losing importance” – he couldn’t be more wrong. There are already 1.75 billion people who are fluent in English with that number set to rise to 2 billion by 2020. The five main Anglophone countries (UK, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) accounted for 33% of the world’s GDP whilst the EU (excluding the UK) only accounted for 21%. The European Commission is already planning a new EU-wide tax to fill the whole left by Britain, post-Brexit. We don’t look all that irrelevant, Mr Juncker.
The UK must engage and embrace our Anglospheric partners and then we can fully enter the modern era. A step towards the Anglosphere will be a step towards economic prosperity. Free trade deals with the Anglosphere will not only inspire states to join hands with a ‘Global Britain’, it will be in their interests. When the UK entered the European Economic Community, the Commonwealth was completely disregarded and abandoned. We must not repeat that mistake; the UK’s destiny is soon to be in its own hands and Commonwealth integration must be a priority. However, we must also not abandon the EU upon our withdrawal. Brexiteers and Remainers, alike, recognise that we want to be good neighbours and that just because we are leaving the EU, it does not mean we are abandoning Europe.
The Anglosphere is dominant among its peers not only economically but also in terms of hard and soft power. The USA and UK rank first and second, respectively, in the Portland 30 Index of Global Soft Power. Furthermore, Australia and Canada are also a part of the top ten. There is a monopoly amongst the Anglosphere when it comes to film, television, books and the media – this all stems from our similar backgrounds and shared values. Let us not forget the dominant influence of Anglospheric brands like Google, Coca-Cola, Virgin, etc. In addition to soft power, the Anglosphere promotes security and stability through its hard power. Both the US and UK are permanent members of the UN security council. Altogether the Anglosphere is leading the way in terms of military power. In 2015, as a proportion of GDP, the US spent 3.3% on defence whilst the UK spent 2% and Australia 1.9%. This dominance in spending, as well as shared intelligence, could possibly lead to a safer society for all.
The Brexit negotiations have only just begun, however, there have already been positive developments. It would be foolish to ignore the fact that there will be bumps along the road, however, the UK’s journey is merely beginning. The Anglosphere offers the UK a chance to get the most out of Brexit and it’s a chance that we cannot afford to ignore. The divisions caused by the referendum and the recent election must be healed and as we enter this new chapter. Britain must go global. The Anglosphere, the Commonwealth, and Brexit will allow Britain to reach and fulfill its true potential.