Douglas Carswell

07 NOV 2015

Brexit or not, America wants to trade with us

Remember the American bureaucrat who claimed that the US would never do a free trade deal with the UK post-Brexit? His credibility took a hit when it emerged that he used to work for the European Commission, and so did his wife.

Now it has taken another, thanks to presidential candidate Jeb Bush.

"Great Britain is a sovereign nation, and they must make this decision about their relationship with Europe on their own," the former Florida Governor told Breitbart. "As President, if Great Britain made that decision of course the U.S. would work with them on a trade agreement."

Jeb Bush may not become president. But I suspect he speaks for the American people more than the State Department when he says the constitutional arrangements of a sovereign nation are no one else's business. That's the idea America was founded on.

Back in 1776, Americans felt the same toward London as many Brits feel toward Brussels today. They didn't understand why they needed to be taxed, regulated, and governed by a remote elite that didn't represent them. They believed they could just as well govern themselves.

Like Britain today, some pessimists believed they could never make it outside the British Empire. An independent outpost in a world dominated by European great powers seemed like a fantasy. But the optimists won the day, and the United States went on to become the most prosperous country the world has ever seen.

The idea that the US wouldn't do a bilateral free-trade agreement with the UK when it has happily done deals with a host of other countries is absurd. But the pessimistic prediction that Britain can't prosper outside the EU's red-tape curtain totally misses the lessons of history. Government by remote bureaucratic superstate is what holds nations back.

If we need an American to tell us about the consequences of independence, let's make it George Washington.

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