The Anglosphere Rises

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The Anglosphere Rises

Among a growing number of Eurosceptics, the long-standing goal of leveraging connections across the English-speaking world has steadily moved from a marginal curiosity to a position of centrality.  In fact, over the past 30 years, the idea of the “Anglosphere,” has become a source of almost magnetic influence among British conservatives.  And it may well provide its governing intellectual framework now that the UK is free to go its own way.

The concept of the Anglosphere reflects the long-held belief that Britain’s best interests lie in forging closer relationships, including an institutionalized alliance, with those countries that have broadly similar political structures and systems, since those are countries which also tend to cherish the values of parliamentary government, individual liberty, the rule of law and the free market.  The membership list of this club varies quite a bit depending on the author, but at its core are the English-speaking countries of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States, plus the UK.  Each of these was once a British colony and is still united by a shared political and economic culture, nourished from the roots of British parliamentary institutions, economic liberalism, and Protestantism.  Other countries with large English-speaking populations and market economies such as India, the Philippines, Singapore, Ireland and much of sub-Saharan Africa, could also play a mutually rewarding role within such a community.

Importantly, what gives the concept of the Anglosphere striking modern-day appeal for British conservatives is that it fits the narrative of how the independent UK can prosper in a global economy confronted by the rise of Asia and increasing dysfunction on the European continent.  Liberated from the EU and allied with the rest of the Anglosphere, the argument runs, Britain will reinvent its open trading heritage, harnessing its colonial history to integrate itself into the new global economy led by the United States.

Individualism, liberty and the rule of law are the normative cornerstones of Anglo-American culture that would be validated by this move.  And they are increasingly framed in stark contrast to the corporatist, bureaucratic and authoritarian political cultures that are widely believed to prevail on the European continent.

Meanwhile, the so-called “European project” seems fundamentally out of kilter with the dynamics and leading technologies of the world we inhabit in the 2020s...

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