With or without its allies, the UK has always succeeded as an independent nation. Post-Brexit, this should be no different, argues John Longworth, Director General of the think tank Centre for Brexit Policy and Chairman of the Independent Business Network.


Britain has few friends in the world but fear not, it was ever thus. Post-Brexit, we are now a free and independent nation. The sooner we come to terms with the fact that this means we make our own decisions and stop searching for approval and support crutches, the better. Too often we have been used as useful and needy fools by those who have sought to profit from our connections and networks. Britain doesn't need to be a supplicant.

We can now see a spiteful and jealous EU for what it is. The actions of the European Commission in respect of the Covid vaccines have written large the hopeless bureaucracy of the European project but also the hostile dispositions of Germany and France in particular. They may not be our enemies, but they are not our friends.

We can and will trade with the EU, we will do business out of necessity and mutual self-interest, but we should not expect any favours, despite decades of British tax payers funding the defence of Europe. We should not feel obliged any more to go the extra mile for such, so called allies.

The position of Europe has been brought into sharper focus by the Northern Ireland Protocol, part of our EU Withdrawal Agreement. The leader of the European Parliament famously warned the hapless wearer of EU tinted spectacles, Theresa May, that the price of our liberty was that the EU, or in particular Ireland, would annex Ulster. A territorial grab which has been orchestrated principally by Dublin, without the consent of the people of Northern Ireland and in direct contravention of the Good Friday/Belfast agreement. Thus, it is the truth that is being twisted mercilessly by the EU, Ireland and the Irish, Democratic Party caucus in the USA.

The irony of all this is twofold. Firstly, that the Republic of Ireland is still so integrated into the British Isles internal market for trade, finance and jobs, that, even after a century, it is barely an independent state itself. Secondly, despite the abuse we receive, the U.K. has maintained the treaty dating from the establishment of the Irish free state which grants Irish citizens the right to live, work and vote in the UK, something we should perhaps now, after 100 years, seriously reconsider.

The greatest myth is the so called "special relationship" with the USA, a clever invention of Winston Churchill to try to keep the Americans on side and to provide a sop to the British public at a time when a bankrupt Britain was forced to dismantle its world system. It is a fiction, perhaps even a conceit of Whitehall and successive declinist governments.

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Although some in the US have been consistent allies, a significant faction, particularly amongst the Democrats, have not.

Only recently we have seen in the Royal affair the propensity of hostile forces in the USA to bash Britain and its institutions at the drop of a hat.

Right from the days of President Woodrow Wilson in the Great War, while hiding behind the protection of the Royal Navy,  it was America's policy to usurp the British world system, take advantage of our trading links and power. Eventually in World War Two, the Americans saw their opportunity as we became bankrupt protecting the free world from another round of German aggression. This time it was under the Nazis and we shipped our last gold to the US to pay for the privilege of fighting on alone with our Dominions. By 1942 we were bankrupt and racking up enormous debt, which the US forced us to repay for the following fifty years or so while setting up a global financial system to suit itself.

At the same time, they wrote off entirely German debt to the tune of nearly 100% of GDP and provided ongoing financial support, preferring German domination of Europe to the maintenance of the British financial and trading system, which stood in their way. The final twist of the knife was US opposition to us enforcing our property rights in Suez, despite Britain as a constant friend or useful fool. The US Democratic Party horror and opposition to our leaving the EU was merely a continuation of the Wilson doctrine and of an asymmetric special relationship.

We should not be afraid to face it alone and to stand on our own two feet. But truth be told, we are not in fact alone. There remain a number of countries with whom we share kith and kin, who share the same head of state and Commander in Chief, namely the Queen, and with whom we have made common cause through thick and thin and through the ages.

Canada, Australia and New Zealand have been constant allies and friends. Combined with the U.K., the CANZUK grouping has a combined population and GDP amounting to half that of the USA and to similarly around half of the EU economy. The economies are symbiotic and between them contain all that is needed, including a global financial centre, manufacturing, commodities, food, science, energy and rare earths. CANZUK has global reach and with its cultural similarities, is a powerful combination.

When we add the rest of the Commonwealth to CANZUK, it adds up to an economy approaching that of the whole of the EU combined – but much faster growing. This is the future.

Alone or in company, the UK is capable of making its way in the world and prospering. We should have the confidence to lead, rather than follow. All the signs are that we must be willing, not needy, and brave going it alone.

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