Just read an overoptimistic reason for the UK leaving the EU. The optimist believes that the UK can repair strong links with the commonwealth lost when we entered the common market in 1973; while at the same time leaving us free to forge international agreements with whomsoever we wish.
Why would commonwealth countries mend the links broken by the UK when it joined the Common Market in 1973? Many of these countries have since found new trading partners. They have entered binding trading agreements with neighbouring countries or those within their geographical and commercial sphere of interest.
On top of the loses made since the break in 1973 Britain is still losing commercial and business ground with its former colonies. For instance, the Chinese are making massive inroads into Africa. Chinese trade growth with Africa has increased over 20-fold in under 20 years. Given our reduced standing in the world over the past 40-years I can’t see us making great inroads into these developing markets.
Further to this, I can't see commonwealth countries making any concessions for their former overlord just for auld lang syne. In fact, if anything there will a sense of schadenfreude on the part of the ex-colonies.
This country has not had total control over its own international agreements, whether commercial or defence, for decades. As part of NATO we can be controlled defence-wise, usually by the USA.
And as we’ve had capitalism foisted upon us, and more especially in the past 40 years that most virulent strain of capitalism, neoliberalism, how free are we to act independently? We’ve as much freedom as the unelected corporations who control everything from the education curriculum to our pension schemes will allow – very little. If TTIP gets its vampiric fangs into our services and utilities we can say ta ta to them, a bit like Tata saying ta ta to the last vestiges of our steel industry.