There's a simple solution to this


Martin Kettle gets very worried about the fact that we in the UK seem to be much more interested in the Anglosphere than in Europe:

In the 20th century, political, cultural and intellectual Europe was a reality. Sometimes a threat, often an opportunity, but always a presence. That's not true now. In the 21st century, to a degree we seem slow to recognise, let alone think about, our minds have never been more narrowly oriented towards the English-speaking world, above all the US.

If we're culturally attuned to the Anglosphere and not Europa, perhaps we should simply detatch ourselves from Europa and go off and join the Anglosphere then? We are indeed united by language, in a way we're not with Europe. Similarly the law, we all have some variation of the Common Law system which nowhere in Europe does.

Yes, yes, I know, I'm hardly the one to be even handed about this given my well known hatred of all things European Union. But just one further point that we might make.

One of the original points of the EU was that we should all be trading with each other more. Trade is indeed good, so why not? And trade with those geographically close to you is a better idea perhaps. Certainly it reduces transport costs. But one little point that gets missed in these mutterings over trade. Since 1957, when it all started with the Treaty of Rome, the technology of trade has changed completely. Geographical distance is almost irrelevant now, it's whether you are on the container shipping lines or not that does matter. Birmingham to Barcelona or Brindisi is little different in cost than Brum to Brisbane if you're in a container: and if you're not in a container then the cost is exorbitant for any of them.

In fact, the first containerised ship set sail 6 months before the Treaty of Rome was signed. Not to crow or anything but just yet another example of markets solving problems before politicians can.

But as to the larger point raised by Kettle: if we really are more attuned to the greater world rather than Europe, why is everyone trying to shoehorn us into Europe and cutting us off from the wider world?