Shropshire Star comment: Brexit is our chance to forge trade
Brexit has brought a host of unexpected and unforeseen changes.
As we continue our long farewell from Europe, our nation is becoming increasingly out-looking.
It is no longer acceptable for us to focus on the frictionless trading relationship that we have enjoyed with Europe for many years. We now have to strive to create better trading partnerships with other nations around the globe.
The point of Brexit was that it would not only give us back control over our borders and laws; it was also intended to bring about a trading windfall as we made better deals with nations of all sizes around the world.
And so as we mark Commonwealth Day, our minds might become more focused than once they were. For nations of the Commonwealth might offer us the opportunity to make Brexit a success in this post-EU age.
Of course, our thoughts should not only focus on the potential trading benefits from striking new deals with our Commonwealth friends. The old club of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa has swollen to include many African nations and a number in parts of South Asia.
Some see it as a peculiarly British construct following the loss of Empire, which bolsters the UK’s sense of self-importance. Many of the nations included might not be particularly important on a global scale and most have in common the unhappy connection of once having been colonised by the English.
And that colonisation is something that we ought not to take pride in. For a great many crimes and immoral acts were conducted in the name of Empire. People lost lives, tragedies became an everyday occurrence and nations were stripped of identity and assets.
We have a lot to apologise for. Not all take that view, of course, and there are those who believe we, the English, generated wealth and prosperity during its years of Empire.
In the present day, the purpose of the Commonwealth is less clear. It does not confer trade privileges or influence economic or defence policy. And yet as we head through Europe’s Exit Door, such matters might become more important. Bi-lateral trade deals might be easier to bring about under the umbrella of the Commonwealth.
The 2018 Commonwealth Games are also soon to begin in Australia as Gold Coast 2018 kicks into gear.
Sporting success and better trade deals are high on the national agenda.