October 27

Commonwealth not in danger


Exaggeration does not help a case, particularly from one which by its very name suggests some gravity. The Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group is trying to sell its package – which may very well be very worthwhile – to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth by making a claim which, if it is correct, means that no international organisation is at all relevant.

Last March, the Eminent Persons Group warned that, "The Commonwealth is in danger of becoming irrelevant and unconvincing as a values-based association."

The Group then made several no doubt well considered and worthwhile  recommendations. These include the writing of a charter of shared values for the Commonwealth and the appointment of a commissioner for democracy, the rule of law and human rights.

These will need to be carefully considered. But in the meantime, we ought to recognise the value of the Commonwealth for what it is and what it has done. We should also be realistic and make fair comparisons with other international organisations.

The Commonwealth may not be a perfect organisation. But in requiring compliance with standards, it is  superior to most other international organisations


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