Debacle shows we all deserve better

Many changes in our nation networking are occurring, including Britain's ties to other European nations.

Tuesday, 8th May 2018, 6:50 am
Updated Tuesday, 8th May 2018, 7:01 am
Boxer Lisa Whiteside celebrates her Commonwealth Games gold medal.

It is fact that inevitably, old ties will need strengthening and others developing, including having a focus on the value of the Commonwealth to its members, inclusive of the UK.

The Commonwealth is home to 2.4 billion people, one third of the world’s population and includes both advanced economies and countries who are progressing their economies.

Cynics might say that the Commonwealth is a ‘consolation prize for the loss of the British empire’ and that there has been increased Governmental profiling and promotion of the Commonwealth.

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Some claim that the UK is now scrambling to secure and extend its international influence and reach after the Brexit vote.

Whatever these cynics might say, they cannot but acknowledge that membership is voluntary. No nation is compelled to be a member and there are no formal obligations to bind any member to the Commonwealth.

Rather, it is through goodwill, common cause, friendship and historical ties that the nations come together. Shared values and principles are signed up to by each member state, and the members are linked and supported by a network of intergovernmental, professional and cultural organisations.

Furthermore, no one should decry how over the years Her Majesty the Queen has invested substantial time and effort in supporting the Commonwealth.

Even this year at the age of 92 Her Majesty undertook a gruelling schedule of official duties supporting the Commonwealth events and the building of relationships between nations.

We have recently also had screened into our homes the XXI Commonwealth Games, commonly known as the Gold Coast 2018, bringing together, through the voluntary association of 53 independent and sovereign states, and 71 participating teams an extravaganza of sports and a wonderful demonstration of unity and camaraderie.

Thirty members are small states, many of which are island nations. Inclusivity was priority for of this year’s Games and the opening celebration demonstrated the breadth and diversity of these member nations and their peoples.

Here in the UK, we do not give enough credence to the Commonwealth and what it stands for and very rarely in the past would schools celebrate Commonwealth day in March of each year, and yet in other Commonwealth nations they do, valuing what the Commonwealth means and stands for.

We need to take a leaf from their book and have as part of our core school curriculum education on how people from the Commonwealth have made significant contributions to our great country and to the world.

The recent citizenship debacle demonstrates that we all need better information and we should not be playing Commonwealth Games with British Citizens.

We all deserve better.

Patrick Meleady

Sheffield, S8