Friday, May 8, 2015

The CANZUK Solution

Three of Britain's prior colonies are substantially populated by people of British descent: Canada, Australia and New Zealand. 150 years ago it was obvious that these colonies were so far away that they needed to become independent. Then 60 years ago it seemed that Britain was close to Europe and needed to find its future there. But now communication technology (particularly the Internet) and air travel have made the world a very small place.
The UK is very dysfunctional, not knowing if it is one country or several. The result of the UK election suggests that the Union is not long for this world. The huge population imbalance between England and the other nations in the union is a significant factor in making the Scots uncomfortable.
Well I have an idea that might solve the UK's problems, and some of Australia's and hopefully some others I haven't thought of. The plan is:
To create a political Union of the current UK nations, plus Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
The Union will have the following features:
  • The separate nations will retain their identity for sporting and many other purposes.
  • The central government will handle foreign policy and defence.
  • There will be a single currency and a central bank with full power.
  • The central government will collect the bulk of the taxes and redistribute wealth to provide balanced service delivery, as happens in all well functioning unions.
  • However national and subnational units will deliver most government services.
This is the way successful unions work, and not the way the EU works. It is possible because all the proposed constituents are about equal in per capita wealth.
I believe this plan will have various benefits:
  • Scotland will be happy to stay in a union in which England has less than half the population.
  • The British people will not be uncomfortable to return to being part of a world-wide entity.
  • Australia will get a nuclear deterrent, and generally beefed up defense. This means we won’t have to suck up to America all the time and go on all their stupid wars.
  • The UK will get help in paying for their nuclear capabilities.
  • One country, with historically good financial regulation, on which the sun never sets (almost), is a natural to dominate the world financial industry.
  • Australia (and NZ) get an operating nuclear industry in case we need to stop burning coal (which we do).
  • I think that all the participating nations will be more comfortable with this union than the various regional groups which they are currently involved in. (Except Quebec will likely be grumpy).

[Update: I did a google for "CANZUK" and found that this is not a new idea. An obvious name, since all the parts have retained the British monarchy, is the "Federated Kingdom of ..." It is a delicate balancing act but it is most likely to work if the individual countries (with England, Scotland and Wales separate) are regarded as independent, so that the FK (and the old UK/GB) doesn't have any sporting teams.]