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ACM Home arrow The Commonwealth arrow The Commonwealth & the Anglosphere, not Brussels

The Commonwealth & the Anglosphere, not Brussels Print E-mail
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Thursday, 15 July 2010

Under proposed European Union legislation, the British budget will have to be submitted to the EU for clearance before it goes to the House of Commons. The British government will no doubt oppose this constitutional outrage, but it will be unable to stop this being imposed on them by a qualified voting majority under the European Constitution disguised under the name of the Treaty of Lisbon.

This should of course be the last straw for any British politician with a modicum of respect for British institutions and above all the sovereignty of the United Kingdom.  But they, or most of them, have been part of the problem – at least until now.

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...politicians’ duplicity....



 

The Blair government solemnly promised the British people that they would not ratify the EU constitution unless the people first approved it in a referendum. But then the Constitution was rejected in two referendums by people famously more in favour of the so-called European project than the British - the French and the Dutch. If it were left to the people, it would have been doomed.

But the chief skill of too many Europhile politicians is their deviousness. They decided to ratify the constitution, or its essence, through the back door. This would be by an innocuous sounding treaty amending the other major EU treaties. The Blair government then claimed duplicitously that  this was not covered by the promise for a  referendum.

The politicians of other European countries also avoided referendums, with the exception of Ireland, where the Constitution required this. When the Irish people rejected the Treaty, the politicians agued the well known EU principle adopted by Australia’s dwindling republican movement: the people must keep on voting until they get it right.

The Treaty of Lisbon was then passed at a second Irish referendum.




...enormous cost of the EU...





Incidentally, what does it cost the UK to belong to the European Union?  As you can imagine, the answer to this is disputed. The Bruges Group estimated that in 2007 this was £52.4 billion, about A$90 billion each year.  Whatever the amount, there are three undeniable truths about it. It is enormous, it could be better spent and it is a complete waste of money.  The UK could have the same trade and investment access to the EU as Norway has under a free trade agreement, without giving up its sovereignty to the Brussels clique.

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The "advantages" of belonging to the EU include  unlimited immigration from Europe, European decisions on how to spend euromoney in the UK, and above all the  argument so beloved by  British politicians from Ted Heath onwards. This is that being in the EU puts the UK in the cockpit of Europe.

This is not so. The cockpit has always been fully and amply filled by the French and Germans co-pilots, and the door to this cockpit has always been well and truly locked against anyone else. The wealth of the British serves only as economic fodder for the EU.



...politicians turn their backs on the Commonwealth...





Apart from their abject europhilia, it is a mark of too many British politicians today that they do not appreciate the great role that the Commonwealth has and could play. The total budget of the Commonwealth is £50 million( note, that is millions not billions).

 That didn’t stop former Foreign Secretary David Miliband warning in 2009 that continuing political and financial support could no longer be taken for granted. Why?  The Commonwealth  is not one of those “strong, effective international institutions … with formal power"  - like the EU of which he was so beloved.

In fact the EU is precisely the sort of model which other regions ought to avoid if they wish to achieve real progress. Common currencies and ”ever-closer” bureaucratic unions  are recipes for trade distortion, stagnation and corruption.

And the British people have never shown any interest in this.




...the British people don’t...







The British people are closest  to the people of the Anglosphere- the Commonwealth and the USA -rather than to the alien bureaucracy which is the EU.

Just one example demonstrates how far the views of Britain’s euro elites are from those of the rank and file.

In 1995 in the Turbot War the Canadians arrested a Spanish ship illegally fishing just outside of the Canadian Exclusive Economic Zone.

Spain was supported by the EU, including the German Navy.  The UK and Ireland supported Canada.  And to show their support, British fishing boats took to flying Canadian flags.  Canada, after all, had in living memory stood by Britain in her darkest hour. The British fishermen also believed the Spanish fishing fleet regularly breached quotas in British waters.

The dispute escalated when a Cornish fishing boat flying the Canadian flag was arrested by the French customs. They thought it was a Canadian ship fishing illegally in French waters. Overnight, Canadian flags were flown from a large number of British and Irish vessels, the rest of the EU supporting France and Spain.

The disputes were eventually resolved diplomatically, but you can see what the rank and file thought.




...closer culturally...




The point is that culturally the British are closer to the Commonwealth and the US than they are to their neighbours. Becoming like Norway, and as Britain once was - proud and independent - would save billions, surely an important consideration in its current financial situation.

No longer weighed down by the burden of a sclerotic European bureaucracy, those free and open links in the Commonwealth, and the Anglosphere would grow without any artificial inhibitions. ( The Anglosphere is the Commonwealth and such countries as the USA, Ireland, Israel and Jordan)  

The new British government has a golden opportunity to put Britain onto a more exciting and stimulating path, linked to her old friends, forging exciting relationships with new economic powerhouses such as India and moving closer to the world’s single superpower, the United States.

With her cultural links, language, economic power, defence role, law and history, Britain could play a key role in enlivening the Commonwealth and the Anglosphere as a free association between similar countries. And think of the money they would save.

 
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[Prime Minister Churchill and President Roosevelt on The Prince of Wales ]
   



 
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