The UK as the 51st State?

I came across an interesting twitter thread the other day which posited an interesting question.

It’s an interesting question, as a pure theoretical, but my short answer is no way.

The US and the UK are too dissimilar to form a cohesive union. The almost 250 year separation has led to totally different economic, political, and national cultures. The UK couldn’t tolerate either a First or Second Amendment; both are alien concepts in their political culture, and there are no doubt many other aspects of our political culture that the UK would simply find intolerable.

The US doesn’t need any more States (I’m looking at you Puerto Rico!) The trend of a few massive super states, the condition we found ourselves at the beginning of the 20th Century, has reversed itself, usually after each war. The Ottoman Empire, the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and decolonization have left a multitude of nation states (and chaos) as a result. That process is still going on. Scotland, Catalonia, and a multitude of others want to be independent countries, and of course here in the US, we have California…

That being said, in a post Brexit Britain, we should seek closer economic ties.  President Trump has proposed a trade agreement with the UK and that will probably be an economic necessity for the British economy after leaving the EU.  I would suggest going further with a common market among the Anglosphere nations, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK.  This isn’t just my daydreaming, but a serious proposal.  None other than the current British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has endorsed that as a goal.

An Anglosphere common market and relatively easy movement would be more than an economic match for the EU and China.  It has a lot of the benefits of freer trade without the downsides that the US has fallen into by seeking trade agreements with third world countries that serve as large “sucking sounds” of US manufacturing to take advantage of third world wage rates. The economies and wage rates of the Anglosphere countries are more or less equivalent, meaning competition will depend on more than who can pay their shoeless employees even less money.

I’m no isolationist, but isolationism is a better alternative than the course the US has been following for the last 30 years; a race to the bottom for wages and the deindustrialization of the American heartland. An Anglosphere alternative would help provide a better alternative, larger markets among equivalent national economies.  Will it happen?  I wouldn’t bet on it but there is a better alternative than the one we’ve been on for the past few decades.

 

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