Thoughts on a 'CANZUK' Union post-Brexit

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    For those of you who don't recognise the acronym, 'CANZUK' stands for Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom in the context of some form of union. In my post-Brexit woes I was initially hostile towards it, but as I've collected my emotions together over the past few weeks I must admit that I'm warming to the idea.

    I think that public support for such a union would be much higher than that of the EU, and would be particularly widespread across all four countries rather than just a central bloc like Germany, France, Belgium etc, whilst other EU countries are more ambivalent towards a united Europe. Indeed, in some opinion polls that I've seen almost half of the population of CANZUK countries looked upon the others in this group 'particularly favourably', with Canada notably having more positive views towards UK influence than US influence.

    I see such a proposal being introduced in three stages: first a single market, then free movement, and finally perhaps some political institutions. The argument in favour of this states that we are practically the same people displaced, and as we are so well culturally and democratically aligned the union would likely be a success. The UK can offer a more credible nuclear deterrent for Australia than the US currently does, and our militaries would find communication far easier as we share the same language. The union would comprise major territory in North America, Europe, and the Australia-NZ trading links could provide us with good access points to the Asian market, particularly China.

    I think that the EU referendum has demonstrated that power must be decentralised to a certain degree in order to ensure public satisfaction, and this would be ever more important given the sheer size of the new union in terms of landmass. We must also make it clear that this wouldn't be some sort of 21st century British Empire revival, and that we enter this partnership as equals. Although London would undoubtedly be the financial centre of CANZUK, perhaps New Zealand (as the smallest partner both economically and in terms of population size) would be the place for the administrative capital to be located, in a similar way that Brussels is the de-facto capital of the EU.

    Overall, whilst I would still prefer that the UK remained a member of the EU, it seems that we are now travelling down a path that is irreversible towards exiting the bloc. I think CANZUK could provide a credible alternative that both remainers and Brexiters could rally around, if done properly and obviously with the consent of the people of all four of these countries. The terms of our new EU deal may limit the extent to which this could happen, so we'll have to wait and see, but I think such a proposal should definitely be on the cards.


    Here's an article mentioning some of the ideas I discussed, and with some facts and figures: http://www.financialpost.com/m/wp/fp...nd-new-zealand


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    These people are our brethren. I would strongly support such a union.
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    It's hardly a new idea. Closer co-operation with the "white Commonwealth" as it was so horrendously tagged has long been suggested. However in that term is one of the issues: there's an unspoken ethnic angle to this that's pretty undesirable. Free movement seems a particularly galling part of it - "we'll take unlimited immigration of Canadians, but not Slavs".

    On the plus side, at least the countries are economically similar, have a common language and similar political systems (although I suspect the differences would become increasingly apparent). While I can see the suggestion it's not just another British Empire, there would still be that perception no matter how you cut it - and I suspect it would further alienate certain people, like the French Canadians. What would the rest of the Commonwealth make of it?

    But of course the obvious question is why we would want to form a trading block with three other countries, with half of the population and GDP of those partners located - literally - on the other side of the world.

    EDIT: On a frivolous note, wouldn't somewhere like Vancouver - in the middle - be a better capital than somewhere in New Zealand?
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    (Original post by L i b)
    It's hardly a new idea. Closer co-operation with the "white Commonwealth" as it was so horrendously tagged has long been suggested. However in that term is one of the issues: there's an unspoken ethnic angle to this that's pretty undesirable. Free movement seems a particularly galling part of it - "we'll take unlimited immigration of Canadians, but not Slavs".

    On the plus side, at least the countries are economically similar, have a common language and similar political systems (although I suspect the differences would become increasingly apparent). While I can see the suggestion it's not just another British Empire, there would still be that perception no matter how you cut it - and I suspect it would further alienate certain people, like the French Canadians. What would the rest of the Commonwealth make of it?

    But of course the obvious question is why we would want to form a trading block with three other countries, with half of the population and GDP of those partners located - literally - on the other side of the world.

    EDIT: On a frivolous note, wouldn't somewhere like Vancouver - in the middle - be a better capital than somewhere in New Zealand?
    Oh I know the idea has existed for a while, but it's come more to the fore as a result of Brexit so I thought it was worth a discussion. And whilst I agree that one could argue that there is an unspoken ethnic angle to this (not that I'm promoting that), I think the main reason why this is more likely to succeed is the because of the cultural and economic similarities, not to mention the shared history that these nations have. Union between similar countries is just much more feasible, regardless of the ethnic angle to it.

    I think the geographical separation is actually less of an issue regarding trade since technology is increasingly rendering this point moot. For goods imports/exports it could potentially be an issue, but as far as the service industry is concerned (which is an ever-more important part of our economy) so much can be done over the Internet nowadays that this is unlikely to be a barrier. Things operate well on the whole now, so I don't see why it should pose too great a problem but it is obviously something those with more knowledge/experience than I should look into. From a militaristic point of view the geographical distribution is arguably a strength, too.

    Regarding the opinions of French Canadians, I think you are right to identify this as a potential stumbling block. The social implications of such a union are somewhat more complicated, but from an economic and arguably political perspective I think an arrangement like this is a credible alternative to EU membership.

    I just posed NZ as a potential host for the capital since it's the smallest partner in the union, it doesn't necessarily have to be so. I think the natural capital would be London for both economic and historical reasons, but those historical reasons may actually serve as a deterrent due to its imperial connotations. But yeah, Vancouver is just as valid a candidate as any other.
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    (Original post by JRKinder)
    I think the geographical separation is actually less of an issue regarding trade since technology is increasingly rendering this point moot. For goods imports/exports it could potentially be an issue, but as far as the service industry is concerned (which is an ever-more important part of our economy) so much can be done over the Internet nowadays that this is unlikely to be a barrier.
    I come at it from the other angle. Goods are often shipped around - to some extent, that's fine. It's the move towards a service economy that makes it more difficult. It's one thing to jump on a plane to Brussels, quite another to Auckland.

    I appreciate there's videoconferencing, email, instant messaging and so on, but it really only goes so far - even now, when it's all far more reliable. To some extent, that - not to mention poor harmonisation of regulation - damaged free trade of services in the EU too. Goods were much simpler.

    Things operate well on the whole now, so I don't see why it should pose too great a problem but it is obviously something those with more knowledge/experience than I should look into. From a militaristic point of view the geographical distribution is arguably a strength, too.
    Fair play.

    I just posed NZ as a potential host for the capital since it's the smallest partner in the union, it doesn't necessarily have to be so. I think the natural capital would be London for both economic and historical reasons, but those historical reasons may actually serve as a deterrent due to its imperial connotations. But yeah, Vancouver is just as valid a candidate as any other.
    There's something of an economic imperative, but there's also accessibility to the centre of power. I'm not sure either London or Sydney will be thrilled with any outcome here really.
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    (Original post by L i b)
    It's hardly a new idea. Closer co-operation with the "white Commonwealth" as it was so horrendously tagged has long been suggested. However in that term is one of the issues: there's an unspoken ethnic angle to this that's pretty undesirable. Free movement seems a particularly galling part of it - "we'll take unlimited immigration of Canadians, but not Slavs".
    Is it really bad to want those you wish to live with you to be like you, to share your values.

    I do agree somewhat, i'm a fan of EU migration for the most part but i think the fact that it could be seen as bad is a sign of just how far political correctness has gone.
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    (Original post by Rakas21)
    Is it really bad to want those you wish to live with you to be like you, to share your values.
    I'm not particularly sure to what extent we do have a shared set of values. In terms of politics, there's a huge divergence even within this country as to what our values should be.

    So when the language of shared values is used, it's often in fairly broad strokes: fair play, a vague sense of individual rights, democracy. You might argue that these values, broadened out, are little more than common human values. Dig a bit deeper, and we usually see dispute about what they mean in practice.

    You only have to look at the UK. We each understand human rights quite differently, and a sizeable chunk of the population simply don't believe in a universally applicable scheme of rights ("he's a nonce, he shouldn't have human rights"). Parliamentary democracy is another one: it seems our parliamentary democracy is held pretty much in contempt by many.

    Even democracy as a concept is undermined: look at the aftermath of the last referendum, with zoomers galore gathering to declare it effectively illegitimate. We had Scots nationalists suggesting that it was actually a vote to Remain, mainstream Remainers saying old people's votes are worth less, Lib Dems suggesting people didn't understand the question.

    How much do we actually share? What values really unite the Corbynista and the High Tory old buffer in this country? What validity do they have beyond our shores, even with the likes of Canada, New Zealand and Australia?
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    I would rather we weren't in any Union, whatever Union we form, will likely end up being like the EU and people will grow resentful of it again like they have done with the EU. we should simply be our OWN country, but have excellent economic, political and social relations with other countries including australian and New Zealand
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    (Original post by ByEeek)
    I will bet that if this happened and then events unfold and we end up overrun by Aussies and the like, or outside political influence there will be a backlash just the same as the EU. I find it bizarre that we don't like Europeans but are happy with Canadians and Aussies. Bizarre. Or is this pkaying to little Englanders still bearing a grudge for wars that happened over 200 years ago?
    Last I checked the closest we got to controlling European states was when we were saving them from themselves bit ultimately they were always going a different way. On the other hand the likes of Australia, NZ, Canada, the US to a lesser extent, etc were practically made by the UK, it's pretty clear to see. We have close ties with many of the major former imperial possessions having never broken them in tje first place, they all use common law rather than Napoleonic war, most of their law isn't just in line with our own but downright copied and slightly amended, they all speak English, the ones being talked about are all economically strong, unlike half the EU, so the economies and work forces are aligned with each other, and as we are seeing right now, the sports the UK dominate are also strong for CANZ.

    The relationship we have with the better off former colonies cannot be compared to the one with Europe, very little beyond geography and history of war ties us strongly to any of Europe, even the closer parts; the entire history of CANZ ties us incredibly closely. If it weren't for accents and climate, purely based on culture, sports, government and the judiciary CANZUK is barely distinguishable, Uk vs EU is clear cut.

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    (Original post by JRKinder)
    For those of you who don't recognise the acronym, 'CANZUK' stands for Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom in the context of some form of union. In my post-Brexit woes I was initially hostile towards it, but as I've collected my emotions together over the past few weeks I must admit that I'm warming to the idea.

    I think that public support for such a union would be much higher than that of the EU, and would be particularly widespread across all four countries rather than just a central bloc like Germany, France, Belgium etc, whilst other EU countries are more ambivalent towards a united Europe. Indeed, in some opinion polls that I've seen almost half of the population of CANZUK countries looked upon the others in this group 'particularly favourably', with Canada notably having more positive views towards UK influence than US influence.

    I see such a proposal being introduced in three stages: first a single market, then free movement, and finally perhaps some political institutions. The argument in favour of this states that we are practically the same people displaced, and as we are so well culturally and democratically aligned the union would likely be a success. The UK can offer a more credible nuclear deterrent for Australia than the US currently does, and our militaries would find communication far easier as we share the same language. The union would comprise major territory in North America, Europe, and the Australia-NZ trading links could provide us with good access points to the Asian market, particularly China.

    I think that the EU referendum has demonstrated that power must be decentralised to a certain degree in order to ensure public satisfaction, and this would be ever more important given the sheer size of the new union in terms of landmass. We must also make it clear that this wouldn't be some sort of 21st century British Empire revival, and that we enter this partnership as equals. Although London would undoubtedly be the financial centre of CANZUK, perhaps New Zealand (as the smallest partner both economically and in terms of population size) would be the place for the administrative capital to be located, in a similar way that Brussels is the de-facto capital of the EU.

    Overall, whilst I would still prefer that the UK remained a member of the EU, it seems that we are now travelling down a path that is irreversible towards exiting the bloc. I think CANZUK could provide a credible alternative that both remainers and Brexiters could rally around, if done properly and obviously with the consent of the people of all four of these countries. The terms of our new EU deal may limit the extent to which this could happen, so we'll have to wait and see, but I think such a proposal should definitely be on the cards.


    Here's an article mentioning some of the ideas I discussed, and with some facts and figures: http://www.financialpost.com/m/wp/fp...nd-new-zealand


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    won't happen, but would be good.
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    Next best thing to the EU in my opinion.ideally I'd want both.

    Then again I agree with everything L i b said.
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    (Original post by L i b)
    What would the rest of the Commonwealth make of it?
    The "rest of the Commonwealth" will die with Elizabeth II, if it hasn't already.

    For all the name might sound bad, at least with current political and ideological dogmas, the "white Commonwealth" is extremely similar in outlook, government, and policy, much more than the EU, much more than the Commonwealth as a whole, arguably more even than the various US states.

    Most non-white Commonwealth countries are ruled by explicit ethno-nationalist parties. Their future is not with us. If it ever had been, there would never have been a Commonwealth at all.

    A "white Commonwealth" union would transform these four countries from four regional powers to a single great power. My sense is that none of them really want this. It's dangerous and expensive with unclear rewards. But if the US ceases to be a dependable patron, that might change.
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    (Original post by Pinkberry_y)
    I would rather we weren't in any Union, whatever Union we form, will likely end up being like the EU and people will grow resentful of it again like they have done with the EU. we should simply be our OWN country, but have excellent economic, political and social relations with other countries including australian and New Zealand
    I don't think that's true, because all those countries are English-speaking common law parliamentary democracies. Uniting them wouldn't require EU-like institutions, just the establishment of a federal parliament. Most of those countries are already federations themselves, and the UK is (shambolically) becoming a federation too.
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    (Original post by Davij038)
    Next best thing to the EU in my opinion.ideally I'd want both.

    Then again I agree with everything L i b said.
    Interested as to why the EU is not your second choice rather than first.
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    (Original post by Davij038)
    Next best thing to the EU in my opinion.ideally I'd want both.

    Then again I agree with everything L i b said.
    Yeah, I'm pleased people don't think I'm overtly hostile here. I think there are just a number of barriers and I want to avoid the wha's like us? neo-imperialism that I know is somethings reasonably popular on TSR.

    Someone mentioned America. I'll be clear: I consider the CANZ nations far more reliable allies than the US. It seems with the Americans, our relationship is more or less based on the whims and prejudices of each president. The EU, united, could rival the US. Could CANZUK? It's probably still too small.
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    (Original post by Pinkberry_y)
    I would rather we weren't in any Union, whatever Union we form, will likely end up being like the EU and people will grow resentful of it again like they have done with the EU. we should simply be our OWN country, but have excellent economic, political and social relations with other countries including australian and New Zealand
    Putting sovereignty and free movement aside most issues with the EU are structural and largely caused by vested interests leading to a raft of half measures (an elected parliament that is largely powerless, mutual currency but no mutual debt). Many of these issues could easily be solved should any other union develop just as other unions have functioned fine.

    The only real question would be sovereignty but the fact that 48% of people wanted to stay in the EU suggests that would probably not be an issue for most people.
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    (Original post by L i b)
    Yeah, I'm pleased people don't think I'm overtly hostile here. I think there are just a number of barriers and I want to avoid the wha's like us? neo-imperialism that I know is somethings reasonably popular on TSR.

    Someone mentioned America. I'll be clear: I consider the CANZ nations far more reliable allies than the US. It seems with the Americans, our relationship is more or less based on the whims and prejudices of each president. The EU, united, could rival the US. Could CANZUK? It's probably still too small.
    Power still largely depends on the size of your economy and in turn still the size of your labour force so your right that it would still be too small (~130 million people, GDP a bit larger than Japan), at least until automation becomes more important than the physical size of your labour force in relation to driving output and in turn tax revenues (which largely dictate potential military size and power). It would cement such a union as probably greater than Russia, Mexico and Brazil for the rest of the century though.
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    Canada is in NAFTA. Australia is more interested in China. Nobody cares about the UK any more - these countries have moved on - that's what the general feeling has been in the press since Brexit.

    In any case the GDP of these nations combined is only one-third that of the EU, and we have very little trade with them compared to the EU, although of course that is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    The great advantage of CANZUK is that it is abundant in natural resources unlike the EU, also as stated up-thread there are military advantages, legal systems are more compatible (although I prefer a mix of common and civil law as in the EU) speak English and a perception of shared culture/politics.

    It might be OK if we take the EEA/Norway option, so then we can stay part of the EU in terms of single market and following all the rules, so that our government can't work us all to death, but we can also moonlight building a CANZUK trade association. But if we are further out of Europe than the EEA then it will be gnashing of teeth.
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    (Original post by scrotgrot)
    Canada is in NAFTA. Australia is more interested in China. Nobody cares about the UK any more - these countries have moved on.

    In any case the GDP of these nations combined is only one-third that of the EU.

    The advantage of CANZUK is that it is abundant in natural resources unlike the EU.

    It might be OK if we take the EEA/Norway option, so then we can stay part of the EU in terms of single market and following all the rules, so that our government can't work us all to death, but we can also moonlight building a CANZUK trade association. But if we are further out of Europe than the EEA then it will be gnashing of teeth.
    I mean, nobody cares about the UK other than the EU, Canada, Mexico, China, the US, India, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, etc etc, or in other words the advanced world.

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