Sunday Column: CANZUK is Britain's way forward after Brexit.

Updated: Aug 16, 2020

By RaviC - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

By Derek W Gardiner

Now that we have finally got Brexit done, we are able to move on to the more exciting part of the process. Drawing up trade deals for the first time with an independent trade policy in almost half a century and where better to start then the countries that share with us a common language, common culture and the same head of state. The states of Canada, Australia and New Zealand, with the UK, collectively known as CANZUK.

A major breakthrough in this endeavour occured on Wednesday when negotiations formally began for a free trade agreement between the UK, Australia and New Zealand. With the Prime Ministers of Australia and New Zealand posting videos expressing their aims and hopes for the future. While the EU has been dragging their heels in the negotiations demanding huge sums of money and continued access to our fishing waters, the countries of CANZUK have shown great optimism in getting a deal done. This really should be the easiest trade deal in human history.

It is to our everlasting shame that we abandoned our partners in the commonwealth in 1973 when Australia went from being Britain's third-largest trading partner to it's 12th. While Britain was a leading member of the commonwealth prior to 1973, its accession to the EU in 1973 has diminished its influence. While we share the common law system with CANZUK and much of the rest of the commonwealth, the EU has been salami-slicing our legal system in an attempt to impose their own codified system. While the EU has milked us for cash for the past 50 years, a free trade deal with CANZUK will bring massive economic benefits as we all recover from the severe economic damage caused by COVID-19 and we won't have to pay £250 million a week for the privilege.

Not only will the economic benefits be huge but it will be the first step on the road to the path of commonwealth integration that I and other supporters of CANZUK have been advocating for. After free trade, freedom of movement should logically follow, the Trans-Tasman travel area allows free movement between citizens of New Zealand and Australia, it's time to extend that to include the rest of CANZUK. No subject of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II should be subject to immigration controls when moving between her realms.

If we stand together we will be stronger in the face of the growing threat that is the People's Republic of China. We already came together in condemning their illegal attacks on the autonomy of Hong Kong and we must also work together to end our dependence on Chinese imports to prevent the spread of another pandemic.

I campaigned for Brexit in the hope that we could rectify the historical injustices that our decision to join the EU customs union had on our closest allies and today we have come one step closer to that.

We need to end online censorship

Today has been a bad week for those of us who still believe in freedom of expression. From the removal of certain episodes of Faulty towers from the BBC and Netflix to the taking down of Katie Hopkins twitter account, the mob mentality is changing our culture for the worse.

The online censors are now going after comedy not only classics such as Fawlty Towers but also shows as recent as little Britain and The Inbetweeners. If the views of the early 2000s are now unacceptable then no one is safe from being accused of an ism or a phobia.

Over the past few years, we have put too much power in the hands of tech giants such as Facebook, Twitter, Google and Netflix, on the understanding that they were platforms rather than publishers but now they are abusing this power by removing opinions they do not like.

I hold no candle for Katie Hopkins and her views but the fact that she has been removed from twitter shows an increasing spiral towards censorship which is now being cheered by the hard left. As Ayn Rand once said, "In the transition to statism, every infringement on human rights has begun with the right's least attractive practitioners".

Perhaps it's now time to abandon these social media outlets to the dustbins of history and move on to platforms that are platforms rather than publishers.

The SNP have lied to the hospitality industry and more jobs will be lost as a result.

Unemployment in Scotland is on the rise, figures released last week show at least 30,000 jobs have already been lost despite the continuation of the furlough scheme paid for by the UK treasury. As First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the move into phase two of lockdown exit many pubs were working on the assumption that they would be allowed to reopen on Friday. However, this wasn't to be. Despite only 0.05 % of the population now estimated to be infectious and the death rate being in the single figures for most of last week. Still, the anti-fun brigade led by Ms Sturgeon still believes it is unsafe to open pubs, even strictly outdoors, putting thousands of jobs at risk.

Meanwhile yesterday in Glasgow another round of mass protests took place with no social distancing and there was not one word from Sturgeon, despite the fact that outdoor gatherings are limited to 8 people from three households under the Scottish Governments own guidance. The Scottish Police Federation has now said lockdown would be unenforceable if it is one rule for some and another for everyone else.