MELBOURNE – One of the most bizarre arguments made by the people who support Britain’s exit from the European Union is the notion that a self-exiled UK will find a new global relevance, and indeed leadership role, as the center of the “Anglosphere.”
The idea is that there are a group of countries – with the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing community of the US, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand at its core – who share so much of a common heritage in language, history, law, democratic institutions and human-rights-respecting values, that they can be a new, united force for global peace and prosperity.
Britain’s capacity to energize and become the heart of this group will, it is said, more than make up for its exclusion from the sclerotic, culturally and linguistically divided, and increasingly marginalized EU.
Perhaps I am just a jaundiced colonial, but let me count the ways this all seems to me to be a fantasy. The basic problem for Anglosphere advocates is that none of the candidates for membership of this new club are likely to have the slightest interest – geostrategic, economic or political – in joining it.