As globalisation lurches onwards cooperation is being selected for at the cultural-linguistic level; regions which remain divided and plagued by conflict fall prey to more powerful neighbours. Any region which can achieve greater levels of political (interstate) and class (intrastate) cooperation become economically and politically stronger, and are able to expand their territory and population. As our Nordic neighbours edge pragmatically towards a federal structure (The United Nordic Federation) which centralizes power over “foreign and defence policy, and the fiscal policy framework” whilst leaving power over peoples day to day lives (e.g. social welfare, education, local transport) up to more local and accountable regional governments, some reflection on the situation this side of the North Sea is warranted.
Devolution in The British Irish Isles
England’s domination of its neighbours peaked before WWII. Even within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, power is no longer held exclusively in London. It remains highly concentrated there, however, and many in the Home Counties and the Big Smoke are doing their damndest to cling on to what hegemony they have left. They lost political control of Southern Ireland, and have now ceded much control over The North (both to Belfast and Dublin). The passing of a referendum on primary law making powers in Wales and the SNP landslide in Scotland have confirmed that they are set on a trajectory of increasing self sufficiency.
Even so, England’s dominance within the British Irish Isles is here to stay. With a population of 51.4 million it dwarfs its Celtic neighbours cumulative 16 million, with an economy similarly as huge. The United Nordic Federation is made possible because each of the countries within a cultural linguistic area not only have a huge amount to gain from greater cooperation but, crucially, don’t fear domination from any individual member (Denmark’s 10 million being smaller than it’s three neighbour’s combined 15). Conversely, England’s neighbours have everything to fear from its domination over them (being forced, as they are, to continue their struggle against it). Although strong English regional identities do exist, the dissolution of England itself (into so many regions) is unlikely to ever be popular as the English national identity is far greater than the British one ever was.
The continued status of the UK as a world power is endangered. Its economy has been hollowed out (due to the outsourcing of industry and manufacturing) and its military worn down and discredited (by illegal wars). The power of London has diminished at the expense not only of Dublin, Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff, but Brussels and Washington. It will emerge from this economic depression having ceded powers both to its continental neighbours and to Third World Newcomers.
Recipe for Renewal? Cooperation, Cooperation, Cooperation.
On the one hand we need progressive reforms that will decrease unemployment and crime as well as illiteracy/innumeracy and malnutrition (costly symptoms of class conflict) etc. On the other hand, like the Nordic, we need greater cooperation within our cultural linguistic area. The benefits to us are the same ones that drive the United Nordic Federation towards existence.
Towards a United Anglo-Celtic Federation
Historic and present day links are just as strong within the British Irish Isles and Canada, Australia and New Zealand as they are within the Nordic world. Within a United Anglo-Celtic Federation including Canada and the Antipodes, The English would be a minority and no longer more than twice as numerous as the second biggest country (Canada = 40 million). With a proportionally representative English Parliament, alongside its already proportionally representative neighbours, a less aggressive foreign policy would be inevitable. This would enable us to redirect war money to education, healthcare, industry and science, and would propel us back towards the status of a world leader in literature, film, (green) engineering, (bio) technology, and more.
The parallels between The United Nordic Federation and the United Anglo Celtic Federation are many. One nation is in the euro, the rest not. Some are NATO members, some not. Some are in the EU, some not. Some are powerful states formerly centro-poles of empires, others formerly dominated by the previous, and others sparsely populated faraway lands and islands inhabited by the descendents of colonists. Both are major stake holders in the Arctic, and even the Antarctic.
The alternative is messy and costly divorce leading to angry and resentful neighbours. The alternative is the few profiting from selling off what we have left of our once proud nation. The alternative is an aggressive post imperial power failing its people at home and then sending them to their deaths on foreign battle fields.