The case for Commonwealth Union
With the Foreign Secretary’s announcement of joint embassies with Canada and the possible inclusion of both Australia and New Zealand I would like to look upon the idea of Commonwealth Union. By Commonwealth Union I don’t propose that all fifty-four members of the Commonwealth of Nations unite as a single state due to the impracticalities of such a scheme as well as its extremely small chance of success. Instead I mean the four most economically developed nations of the Commonwealth realms; Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, respectively.
These four nations, known as the CANZUK nations by those who support the idea of Commonwealth Union, already share the same Head of State in the shape of Her Majesty the Queen and similar governmental systems based on Westminster. Although the United Kingdom has become ever more distant economically from its Commonwealth cousins during the latter half of the twentieth century our economies are still very much entwined and they have considerable room to integrate further. Such a union would give the Commonwealth the fourth highest nominal Gross Domestic Product by United Nations estimates close behind that of Japan. It would also have the world’s largest Exclusive Economic Zone of some 23,800,000 square kilometres, giving us huge potential and advantage over other nations in our ability to explore the seabed and exploit its natural resources, helping us to be one of the worlds strongest and diverse economies by virtue of size and breadth.
I will not attempt, however, to paint the picture that the argument for Commonwealth Union is an entirely economic one. The partnership between the four nations goes beyond economic benefits and deeply embeds itself into the social fabric of the states. Common language, with the exception of Quebec, as well as common legal systems make these four states in a perfect position to unite as one with little adjustment required. The federal systems in Canada and Australia give a perfect basis on which to create a second tier of federal government that would exist equally throughout the Commonwealth, uniting its people behind a central Commonwealth Government and Parliament, more than likely based in London due to the city’s size, historical importance to all member-states and its unique influence throughout the world.
Connections between the people of the potential member-states are reflected by the amount of Australians living in Britain and the amount of Britons living in Canada et cetera. Politically these nations remain very close, with Canadian citizens, also Commonwealth citizens, having the right to contact any British embassy worldwide to receive support if they desire it, reflecting the close cooperation already in place between these states. The influence of the Commonwealth Union throughout the world would give its citizens a newly found influence that hasn’t existed in the lifetime of many Britons, Canadians, Australians or New Zealanders. It is also likely that the new Union will take the place of the United Kingdom on the UN Security Council as a permanent member and in a time when we predict a serious change in the worlds balance of power a Commonwealth Union would be the ideal factor to protect the ideals of the English speaking world independently from the United States.
Although this article has been painfully brief, skipping through each matter without the attention each deserve I hope it will help to fuel the debate that has already begun on where British foreign policy should look in the future as I hope the growing economies of the CANZUK nations and other members of the Commonwealth are seen as a viable and realistic alternative to the sinking European Union.