The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games has now opened, celebrating the shared heritage and political links of 53 countries across the world. Whilst the mainstream media will focus on the athletics, far more important are the vital questions raised by the competition about identity and kinship. As we see Brits, Canadians, Indians and so many other nationalities come together in the spirit of brotherhood and friendly competition, we should be asking if our future lies within the European Union or the Commonwealth?
Every day more and more powers are transferred to Brussels, whilst the Great British Public are left emasculated and none the wiser. Furthermore, continental Europe is in long term economic decline. Presently, the EU28 countries amount to only 19% of world Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – the most common measurement of economic strength. Meanwhile the Commonwealth is only slightly behind on 16%. As Ruth Lea has attested in City AM, by 2025 the Commonwealth will have surpassed the EU. More importantly, the Commonwealth has a population of over 2 billion people, 4 times the population of the EU! In the age of containerisation and cheap sea trade, this presents an enormous and largely unrealised market for British Business.
If Britain has to choose between Europe and the Commonwealth, the best long-term economic choice is clearly the Commonwealth. However, Britain does not need to choose. In 1948 war-time leader Winston Churchill famously argued Britain stood at the centre of three economic, political and cultural circles – Europe, the Anglosphere and the Commonwealth. This is just as true today as it was when he delivered his speech.
An independent Britain would be able to negotiate a free trade agreement with the EU, just as the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) states – Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein – all do. More importantly, it could form free trade agreements with Commonwealth states currently shunned by the EU such as Australia and New Zealand. The Lisbon Treaty allows us to remain within the EU as long as we like whilst we conclude our exit negotiations. In this time we can agree trade agreements with as many countries as we wish beforeBrexiting.
Trading with the Commonwealth and the EU would give the UK unrestricted access to 32% of world GDP. Add to this the EFTA countries and the USA – the only major Anglosphere country not in the Commonwealth – and this rises to an astonishing 52%! This is even before we start forming trade agreements with emerging markets in the Far East and South America.
Only an independent Britain will be able to take advantage of our unique position at the centre of Churchill’s three concentric circles – Europe, the Anglosphere and the Commonwealth. If we want to Get Britain Out, we must continue to present the very real economic benefits and positive future Brexit will bring. Only then will the Great British Public ignore the scaremongering of the Establishment, take the plunge and vote for independence in the In/Out referendum our current Prime Minister has promised us if Conservatives gain a majority at the next general election.