by Wayne Swan
"There are many in British politics who make the passionate and articulate case that a strong alliance with the Commonwealth, and with the English-speaking countries in particular, could be a viable alternative to the EU. I cherish and value the Commonwealth of Nations. It allows countries with a shared history to retain a link and to work together in pursuit of goals like greater democracy and ending extreme poverty. But the Commonwealth cannot be a replacement for the European Union. Turning the Commonwealth into a free trade area with harmonised regulations and a common trade policy is not on the agenda.
And it is wrong to say that the EU holds back UK-Commonwealth trading relations. UK trade with the Commonwealth has risen while being in Europe. It is a false choice to suggest that Britain can only have one or the other. Those who advocate using the Commonwealth as a replacement for the EU are guilty of gazing through misty eyes to the past rather than focusing clearly on the future."