Even more significantly India ‘s prime minister, Manmohan Singh, gave a speech at Oxford, his alma mater, in 2005 that neatly stole the entire concept for New Delhi : “If there is one phenomenon on which the sun cannot set, it is the world of the English-speaking peoples, in which the people of Indian origin are the largest single component.” Hitchens noted rightly that the speech was “not uncontroversial in India,” but it was certainly popular in the large Indian diaspora on which the sun never sets inside the Anglosphere.
That raises a painful question. If Australians, Indians, Canadians, and even Americans can recognize the Anglosphere as a new and growing factor in world politics, why is it something from which the Brits themselves shy nervously?
To the best of my knowledge, the only leading politician to have embraced the idea is Lord Crickhowell, formerly David Howell, who held several ministries under Margaret Thatcher and who, from his City experience, knows that Britain’s prosperity lies with the growing markets of Asia and North America. Their fading British Commonwealth ties give them an advantage over Europeans and other competitors in these markets.
If the Brits were to pursue a deliberate strategy of strengthening such ties, as Greg Sheridan helped them to do over AUKMIN, they would discover a better “grand strategy” than the present muddled policy of shuttling back and forth between Washington and Brussels, feeling a “poodle” to both.
Is their reluctance because they fear to touch anything that smacks of the Empire? No such timidity restrained Prime Minister Singh.
Are they nervous that anything “English-speaking” might be thought incompatible with multiculturalism? Well, as Mark Steyn could have told them, the first multicultural identity was the British one; and today the Anglosphere spans every continent.
Is the idea of the Anglosphere politically dangerous because it might be seen as an alternative to membership of the Europe Union? But that would only be true insofar as “Europe” failed to meet Britain’s needs — in which case the Brits would need an alternative?
Or is it, as I suspect, that the Anglosphere offers the Brits the prospect of national adventure that in their present cultural funk they find too exciting — preferring to roll over and go back to the sleep of the subsidized?
It is still not too late to join the game. But the world — even a world that Claudio Veliz tells us was made in England — moves on.
– An earlier version of this article appeared in the LondonDaily Telegraph.