Many of Australians no doubt still cringe at the humiliation of flying into the United Kingdom and having to file into the ‘non-EU’ queue for immigration and customs. Talk about ingratitude. Almost 100,000 Aussies were killed defending Britain from the Second and Third Reichs. Now the Germans get to sail through Heathrow while the grandsons of Gallipoli endure the distinct possibility of a complimentary cavity search. In 2015 the Tory MP Andrew Rosendell called for the creation of a line exclusively for ‘subjects of Her Majesty the Queen’, which, of course, failed. That was at the height of Europhilia among Britain’s elites.
Blood, history, culture: all these hallmarks of a nation’s conservatism were sacrificed at the altar of David Cameron’s One Europe liberalism. Now Britain is bidding goodbye, adieu, auf wiedersehen, and vaarwel to the European Union and David Cameron.
Europe, for that matter, is bidding goodbye adieu, etc. to Britain. At the beginning of the Brexit campaign, EU President Jean-Claude Juncker told British ‘deserters’ that they would have to ‘face the consequences’ of striking out alone. Now he’s making good, insisting the they vacate the premises ‘as soon as possible, however painful that process may be’, and that there will be ‘no renegotiation’. The Leave campaign spent months reaffirming their love for Europe and promising to remain engaged with the EU. Juncker makes it abundantly clear that Europe’s love was altogether more conditional.
All Britain had to do was clear her throat and Junker began throwing her clothes out the window and changing the locks. Which, if anything, confirmed all of the Leavers’ suspicions: that Europe was only interested in them as a dumping-ground for migrant workers and a reserve bank for failed and failing states.
One can’t help but suspect that Australia played no small part in the Brits’ decision to dump Juncker and his cronies. The EU is an unhealthy relationship for all parties involved, but only the UK has any experience with healthy relationships. Of the European states, only the UK developed fruitful bonds with their former colonial possessions in Asia and the Americas – which is to say, only the UK belongs to a real international family rooted in a common history, common values, and, yes, sometimes, common blood. There was no one to be outraged at Germany when she gave special privileges to the British at her airports. No one ever loved Germany the way Australians – and Canadians, Americans, New Zealanders et al – love the United Kingdom, which is enough to feel slighted. Or, at least, no one loved them enough to tell them so.
As Britain finally begins to heal from the decades of abuse suffered at the hands of EU bureaucrats, her real family, the Anglosphere, has a golden opportunity to show her that we’ve been here all along. This has been a painful time for all of us. You, dear reader, no doubt also remember the disgust you felt when President Obama backed Argentina’s claim to the Falkland Islands, only for a grand total of three Islanders to join him in doing so. He made things infinitely worse by backing the Remainians in the Brexit debate, threatening to send Britain to the ‘back of the queue’ on trade deals if they voted to leave the EU. (So much fuss over queues.) Boris Johnson copped a lot of slack for diagnosing ‘part-Kenyan’ Obama’s ‘ancestral dislike’ of the UK, but he wasn’t too far off the mark. The president was clearly, for whatever reason, insensible to the deep familial bonds felt by the vast majority of Americans and Britons.
But Obama the Anglophobe will officially be a lame duck president in November, and Cameron the Europhile has promised the Conservatives a new leader (and a new MP) by October. With any luck, Donald Trump and Johnson himself will take the reins by 2017. Trump, abjuring Obama’s flimsy threats, promised ‘to strengthen our ties with a free and independent Britain, deepening our bonds in commerce, culture and mutual defense’. That’s a sentiment Prime Minister Johnson will no doubt welcome wholeheartedly. In fact, he must. Britain’s last, great hope is her first, great hope: the sons and daughters of the Empire – those nations who love her, not for her vast welfare state, but for the history and values and sacrifices they’ve shared for centuries: in a word, the Anglosphere.
Back in 2007, Quadrant’s English-born editor, John O’Sullivan, penned an op-ed for the London Telegraph echoing Greg Sheridan’s celebration of ‘the astonishing, continuing, political, military, and intelligence closeness between anAustralia and Britain’. Even then, he proposed the Anglosphere as an all-natural alternative to the EU. As O’Sullivan quaintly put it: ‘If you want to know which countries the British feel really close to, check which ones they telephone on Christmas Day (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, America… but you knew that).’ And, as he pointedly notes, these organic commonwealths ‘don’t demand surrender of sovereignty, either.’
Europe loved Britain when she was submissive; we of the Anglosphere love her very nearly unconditionally, and we always hoped to see her free from that ill conceived cross-Channel dalliance.
So, if Britain can forgive America her slights, and if Australia can forgive Britain hers, now is our chance to get the whole family back together. A return to the Anglosphere, for all of us, would mean a cultural and political independence only possible within the framework of true family bonds. Britain can put the dark European years behind her, taking solace from the unflinching affection of her countless children. A Boris/Donald partnership would guarantee the Yanks a trading partner and military ally that understands only too well the pain of being used. No more kissing the Saudis’ ring while covering up the Kingdom’s involvement in 9/11.
And Australia can finally get over her ‘daddy issues’, especially its republican tantrums and all this ‘Asian Century’ nonsense. This isn’t Asia’s century. It isn’t Europe’s or Argentina’s. It’s ours.