It has been said many times but cannot be stressed enough – Brexit is a process, not an event. However, the action of leaving the European Union allows for many great events, one of the first of these events being a free trade agreement between two old family members – the United Kingdom and Australia.
It is heartening that the UK would do its first deal “from scratch” as an independent trading nation with Australia. The United Kingdom and Australia share the same system of government, head of state, legal tradition, economic system and have the shared bonds of history. It is right, and an enormous tribute to UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss, that this deal not only includes free trade, but greater access for Britons and Australians to live in each other’s countries.
While wonderful, this event represents something bigger – a move towards an integrated free trading Commonwealth and the free trade and free movement possibilities advocated in CANZUK, the Commonwealth Realms & CANZUK Campaign, and the new C5 campaign most recently launched on this site. This is a goal beautifully advocated by Daily Globe writer Brent Cameron and his book The Case for Commonwealth Free Trade and is essential to the Daily Globe itself.
Sometimes in life things go right. For us at the Daily Globe, this is one of those moments. In fact in 2014, I personally wrote this:
“Like Boris Johnson, I see strong advantages from freedom of movement 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 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.”
Now that the Brexit, and free trade part with Australia have happened, it is essential that Boris Johnson not lose his nerve in pursuing that grand 5 nation alliance of free trade and free movement to also include Canada, New Zealand and Singapore. This Commonwealth movement must also broaden out to free trade with other great Commonwealth powers – India, Malaysia, South Africa and Nigeria, and eventually yes, when the moment is right, turn the Commonwealth itself into a global free trade super power. The C5 nations and the rest of the Commonwealth have an opportunity to build this movement of global cooperation- if the UK and Australia can truly represent the first building block of the foundation of this new and invigorated Commonwealth home.
Brexit is bearing fruit – but we must keep watering the tree. Celebrate this moment, but let’s keep building Global Britain and C5. We have work yet to do.