First among our links with the rest of the world is the British Commonwealth. It is composed overwhelmingly of coloured people — two out of three Commonwealth citizens are Indians — and the vast majority of the Commonwealth is non-Christian. Although the Queen normally lives in Britain she is Queen of Australia just as much as Queen of the United Kingdom. London has no power over Delhi’s politicians and the British Prime Minister has no right even to speakto the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, yet the influence one member of the Commonwealth has on another is often enormous. The advantages of belonging to the Commonwealth are difficult to define, yet many leaders of newly independent countries — some of whom the British government had jailed for years — have decided that their countries should remain members of the Commonwealth. They do so only after satisfying themselves that it is to their advantage to stay in. Their actions are sometimes castigated as bowing to a disguised form of colonialism and sometimes hailed as truly statesmanlike in recognising the Commonwealth as the greatest power for good in the world. Which view is right?
KeywordsBritish Government North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Independent Country Colour People Commonwealth Country
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© P. J. Sidey 1966