Monday, April 14, 2014

The silly irrelevance that is the"Commonwealth"

The Commonwealth is an idea whose time should never have come - and a very bad one. In the main Britain's withdrawal from Empire was swift if not entirely peaceful. But we got out, as we had to, and those Nations we had subjugated became independent. The detritus from Empire is sadly still there to be seen in all too many cases and our hands will never be entirely clean. But we are, thank God, no longer an Imperial power - a few embarrassing possessions aside.

The Commonwealth was the invention of those who could not come to terms with the loss of Empire. It was, remember, initially called the " British Commonwealth". Gradually, however, the old Imperial ties became largely unimportant - the notion of "Commonwealth Preference", for example, withered on the vine. And what are we left with? Not a lot. Some still peddle the notion that there is an "Anglosphere" (the Commonwealth plus the United States) - but few pay this much attention.

We may not all like the modern political and economic realities but they are not going to change. They are (1) China and ASEAN - the Pacific Rim. (2) The United States and Canada. (3) The European Union. (4) Africa (5) The Middle East (6) South America - oh and (7) Russia and its friends of course. Each grouping has geographical and economic logic. Britain has one home and one home only - in the EU.

The Commonwealth is at best a talking shop and one that is largely ignored by the rest of the World. It has no political or economic relevance. It can do nothing. Pass no laws. Create no wealth. Protect no citizen. It's a preposterous anachronistic irrelevance long past it's sell-by date. And its "Games" count for nothing in a world which has events of real substance galore.

(Just a post script for avoidance of doubt. I am not saying that Supra-political bodies are not important.  Just that they need to be universal, like the UN, and have a logic to their construct. The Commonwealth isn't one and can't ever be.)


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