087_Global12_CWN_V4

Global issue 12

wealth must have a view, particularly if it six months later. He had to go because the day. It would indeed make the Com- commonwealth networkCommonwealth in Actioncould carry more political clout. It wouldnot be left to the Secretary-General aloneto make the running on the big issues ofelected would be up to the organisation-tional: “Queen on collision course withMaggie on race”. The Press Secretary,Michael Shea, left Buckingham Palaceby a patient courtier that it was “constitu-It is clear that the Head of the CommonIn the 1980s, two clever reporters 15 other Commonwealth countries where she is Head of State. is against something as central to the Com- he had involved his principal in poli- monwealth more relevant. monwealth’s beliefs as racial equality, and tics. At present, the Secretary-General is se- yet the Queen can only show her political I wondered if the incident had embar- lected by the Heads of Government. How views at the risk of creating a crisis. rassed the Queen. It was explained to me the Head of the Commonwealth might be fromThe Sunday Times got the Queen’s tionally impossible” for the Queen to be itself, but I’m sure some means could be Press Secretary to agree that her views embarrassed. Maybe, but on that occasion devised. The model of the conclave of car- on South Africa might be at odds with it was pretty close. dinals comes to mind; that seems to work those of the then British Prime Minis- If the Commonwealth had an elected quite well. Whatever the method, it is cer- ter Margaret Thatcher, and the resulting Head, such a problem would not arise. It tain that an election would create both in- headlines, in July 1986, were sensa- might also mean that the Commonwealth terest and added relevance. Let’s have continuity: the Queen’s successor must also head the Commonwealth Bill Cash, MP for Stone (Staffordshire), House of Commons Over the Diamond Jubilee weekend, we What is more, a recent poll published saw the best of the United Kingdom’s byThe Guardian newspaper demonstrated great monarch as we came together as a that support for the monarchy was at its country to celebrate the Queen’s 60 years highest level since the survey was first ini- of service. Her Majesty the Queen brings a tiated in 1997 – almost 70 percent of Brit- sense of national unity and stability. She is ons said the country would be worse off someone who the whole country can iden- without the monarchy, compared to 22 per- tify with. cent who felt it would be better off. Only It was not only in the UK that there had 10 percent backed an elected head of state. been cause for celebration. The Queen is Another poll in the UK showed that Head of State of 15 Commonwealth realms some 90 percent of people said they were in addition to the UK. She is also Head of satisfied with the Queen’s work, against 7 the Commonwealth itself, a voluntary as- 90% of the UK are satisifed with the Queen’s work percent who said they were dissatisfied. It sociation of 54 independent countries. change in the world today. is the highest level of satisfaction recorded Politically, it doesn’t matter whether The origins of the Commonwealth come since Ipsos MORI first asked the question people are Labour or Conservative or Lib- from Britain’s former empire. Many mem- in 1992. This shows why so many people eral Democrat, or can’t bear any politi- bers of the Commonwealth were territories attended the immensely successful Jubilee cians. We have as Head of State someone that had historically come under British celebrations across the country. whom the whole country can look up to, a rule. The administration of such colonies Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Common- great symbol of national unity that relates evolved in different ways, to reflect the dif- wealth, Australian support for the monar- all parts: the British people to their institu- ferent circumstances of each territory. We chy has hit a 25-year high. According to tions, their history, and their relations with live in a new age but the Commonwealth’s the Roy Morgan poll conducted during the other countries and the Commonwealth. traditions are more important now than Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebration, 58 Collectively, that unity provides an anchor ever. percent of Australians support the mon- to the British people. It is a great source A notable historical fact is the Common- archy, while support for a republic stood of strength and stability, both now and into wealth’s voluntary nature. After achiev- only at 35 percent. the future. ing independence, India was the first of a The idea of an elected politician as Head The Queen is at the centre of grav- number of countries which decided that, of the Commonwealth is profoundly mis- ity of our nation and the Commonwealth. although they wished to become repub- guided and would lead to division. The Politics in general in the UK takes place lics, they still wanted to remain within the Queen is the embodiment of the monarchy, within the framework of a constitutional Commonwealth. Membership of the Com- its values and its traditions, and is above monarchy. The Commonwealth is an inter- monwealth is still entirely voluntary and a politics. national organisation, spanning every geo- member can withdraw at any time, as did The natural successor as the next Head graphical region, religion and culture and, the Republic of Ireland in 1949 and Zim- of the Commonwealth is the natural suc- after 60 years, it remains a major force for babwe in 2003. cessor to the Queen. globalfourth quarter 2012 www.global-briefing.org l87


Global issue 12
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