Politics & Policy

The U.K. Should Become Part of the U.S.

After Brexit, what?

It has been two months since the U.K. voted to leave the EU, and the dire predictions of “Project Fear” — the campaign to frighten British voters into choosing to stay in the EU — have not come true. Not only have the British economy and job market not collapsed since the Brexit vote, there have been unexpected gains: According to the British Express, U.K. consumer spending rose in July, up 1.9 percent from last July. There have likewise been gains in tourism and food sales. “If you look at the hard data,” said pro-Brexit Member of Parliament Douglas Carswell, “. . . the vote to leave the EU has been followed by a Brexit boom.”

Of course, Britain hasn’t actually left the EU yet — but the wheels are turning. To that end, the U.K.’s new prime minister, Theresa May, has created a new cabinet position, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union. That job has gone to David Davis, who says he plans that, by year’s end, the U.K. will invoke Article 50, which will withdraw it from all EU treaties and begin a two-year process to dissolve all remaining political bonds that connect the U.K. to the EU.

That begs the question: What’s next for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland? Allow me to suggest that, once it’s free of the European Union, the U.K. should join a different, more perfect union.

When 13 British Colonies in North America decided to sever themselves from Britain — after the European bureaucrat George III refused to redress their grievances — they did so not without reluctance. It was a permanent estrangement of siblings, and a painful one. But their kindred spirit never died out. Twice, America came to the aid of her sister across the sea so they could jointly win a world war. Then America and Great Britain joined together to stop the spread of Communism, and eventually to toss it on the ash heap of history. Together the U.S. and the U.K. have, as Churchill said during his 1946 visit to the United States, proclaimed “in fearless tones the great principles of freedom and the rights of man which are the joint inheritance of the English-speaking world.”

Churchill went on: “If the population of the English-speaking Commonwealths be added to that of the United States, with all that such cooperation implies in the air, on the sea, all over the globe and in science and industry, and in moral force, there will be no quivering, precarious balance of power to offer its temptation to ambition or adventure. On the contrary, there will be an overwhelming assurance of security. . . . if all British moral and material forces and convictions are joined with your own in fraternal association, the highroads of the future will be clear, not only in our time, but for a century to come.”

Who dares contradict Churchill?

According to the United States Constitution, “New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union.” The U.K. is not part of America, geographically speaking — but then neither is Hawaii, and it has had no difficulty being a U.S. state. And Hawaii — like Vermont and Texas — was an independent, sovereign republic before seeking American statehood.

Speaking for America, I believe we would eagerly welcome England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland as our 51st, 52nd, 53rd, and 54th states.

Speaking for America, I believe we would eagerly welcome England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland as our 51st, 52nd, 53rd, and 54th states. They would have to submit state constitutions for approval by the American Congress, but I don’t see that as too serious a problem. Or one requiring too serious changes on their parts: After all, our common law comes from theirs. There’s no technical reason an American state can’t have a titular Head of State, so long as she doesn’t exercise any power. The Church of England could no longer be the official state church, but the Queen could remain its Supreme Governor (I imagine). And under our federalist system, English law would still be made by the English Parliament, and Scottish by the Scottish; England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland would also send, combined, about 100 representatives to Washington, along with eight senators.

England would slot in as the largest state, outstripping California by 10 million  people. Scotland would be the 24th largest, Wales the 33rd, and Northern Ireland the 41st. And then England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland could begin taking credit for the moon landings. And the United States, for Shakespeare.

To NRO’s British readers: The U.K. has some time before Article 50 is invoked. You should use it to consider turning west. We’d be very happy to have you.

Josh GelernterJosh Gelernter is a former columnist for NRO, and a frequent contributor to The Weekly Standard.

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