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Now that is a great epitaph, the world’s largest, richest empire fighting for survival and ended up fighting for democracy. A lot of blood was spilt it was not all British/European , sorry Mr Gibson, it was not all American or Australian either. People came from EVERYWHERE India, Jamaica, Canada, Texas, Africa even Argentina and Yes Australia too. The Commonwealth and others did an amazing act, and some parts (which for reasons of tact and it’s none of my business, I won’t mention) have yet to recover.
Its strength was spent and has now changed, becoming a talking club, probably the best in the world. There is little evidence of great trade agreements, political acts or ships-of-the-line been built at Commonwealth meetings, but they still meet. Competition between these countries is more often than not carried out in the sports field, with the highlight of the Commonwealth games. Though there are many others Ruby (though I prefer the Six nations cup), Cricket (we just did great in NZ and looking forward to victory), Badminton, Tennis etc and the Mighty Football.
Football is the greatest sport in the World. Look at the importance of the World cup, but it is not the only sport. Take away Downhill Skiing from the alpine states and you’re in trouble or Cricket from the West Indies or India, that action could be repeated for many hundreds of sports. But football is still huge even in America now.
The same comparison can be made for the Commonwealth for many people (under 40’s) who see the Empire as an interesting piece of History, along with Queen Victoria, Drake, The Romans and Ancient Greece. The World has moved on at breakneck speed, so that those who still remember the European Empires act more like living memory banks, than day to day advisors.
A collection of countries, that only meet because of an historical accident and base competition mainly on sport and economics. That sounds like a great idea, almost like Ancient Greece and the Olympics. This could be very relevant for the 21st Century, not all meetings between heads of state need to be based on the justification of preventing conflict. If you also consider that the Commonwealth has two G8 members and the world’s second largest country India, Africa’s largest Nigeria and a host of other gems, to give up would be a shame.
We are all parts of other clubs as well, the EU, NAFTA, and economic Communities modelled on the EU. These are great, help with jobs, improve living standards and provide aid for the environment. But a get together every now and then of the Commonwealth that “throw’s up” some useful result, now that can’t be bad.
Two points of historical reference;
The UK did not exactly give up the Empire on a silver plate, it took decades, and involved a few wars with some countries only been had independent for a few decades. It was a long civil war in the UK’s heart and mind very similar to the events now occurring in the EU, but it was mostly given up peacefully.
Also the others countries Portugal, Belgium, France and more had extremely large protest movements against their empires too. The UK was a part of a greater European movement that looked at empires as essentially wrong after WWII.
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