I’ll go to the ends of the Earth to argue against the EU. Almost literally in this instance.
But there was a particular reason why I wanted to take the battle to New Zealand. At the beginning of the year, I set myself the goal of touring the core Anglosphere nations to make the case for a renewed alliance of free English-speaking peoples.
I’ve duly harangued audiences in Ireland, the United States, Canadaand Australia.New Zealand completes the set: thanks to Oliver Hartwich and the NZ Initiative. All I now want is to get through the summer without another longhaul flight (sorry, Singapore!)
Still, I learned one thing. The Anglosphere isn’t fanciful or romantic or passé. Across the Anglophone democracies, there is a continuity of values that is immediately palpable to anyone who has travelled elsewhere: common law, representative government, private property, control of the executive by the legislature, equality before the courts, free enterprise, habeas corpus, residual rights, trial by jury, limited government. It’s especially moving to see how easily these values are embraced by people with non-British backgrounds.
Obviously, not everyone feels the same way. British Europhiles have their exact counterparts among those Australians who see their country as Asian, those Americans who insist that the Founding Fathers are no more significant in their nation’s story than so many Honduran immigrants, those Canadians who hanker after multi-culti Trudeaupia.
But, whatever the preoccupations of their elites, most English-speaking peoples know, almost without thinking about it, what they share. Anglosphere values are why Bermuda isn’t Haiti, why Hong Kong isn’t China, why Singapore isn’t Indonesia.
We may be about to experience a one-off alignment across the zone. If Tony Abbott wins in Australia (how I hope he does) and Mitt Romney in the United States (a bigger ‘if’, but it’s what the opinion polls currently suggest) then, for the first time, every core Anglosphere government would be headed by a conservative committed to the concept. It’s too good an opportunity to miss.
No one is proposing a political union or a common currency: God knows we’ve had enough of those. But surely it’s worth working towards a free trade accord, a free movement zone and a formalized military alliance. It won’t happen tomorrow. It won’t happen while Britain is trapped in the EU. But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.
Daniel Hannan is a British writer and journalist, and has been Conservative MEP for South East England since 1999. He speaks French and Spanish and loves Europe, but believes that the EU is making its constituent nations poorer, less democratic and less free. He is the winner of the Bastiat Award for online journalism.