A Guide To the Contemporary Commonwealth - download pdf or read online

By W. McIntyre

This lucid advisor meets the necessity for an up to date review of the modern Commonwealth. It has a succinct part on its historic history and offers awareness to symbols and to the "People's Commonwealth" of voluntary agencies, activities, and enterprise. It highlights serious questions of stability that experience emerged among the relative roles of governments and respectable organisations, voluntary institutions, and personal company.

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Commentary on the Queen’s role must make, at the start, the vital distinction between the two symbols, Crown and Headship. In the member countries where the Queen is Head of State (16 of them), the Crown is the metaphor for sovereignty, authority, in effect, executive government. By the 150-year-old conventions of responsible government, the Crown acts on the advice of ministers. Thus in Britain, the Queen herself, and in the countries retaining allegiance, the governors-general (her vice-regal representatives) are the symbols of the sovereignty of their respective nations.

Above all, he stamped the Secretariat with a philosophy of consultation and a jargon with which to proclaim it. Consultation rather than confrontation was his constant plea. ’ The first Secretary-General was not responsible for one of the many landmarks of his period, namely the Declaration of Commonwealth Principles which was also adopted in 1971. The meetings that year were held in Singapore, and were the first to sport the new title, ‘Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings’ (Chogm). They were dominated by controversy over British arms sales to South Africa and Commonwealth bitterness over events in Southern Africa generally.

UDI became a possibility in 1964 when the prime minister of Southern Rhodesia was not invited to Commonwealth meetings where his predecessors had been observers for over a quarter of a century. The key point in understanding these issues is that Southern Rhodesia (later Zimbabwe) had, in fact, never been ruled from London like the other colonies. 4 First settled by a chartered company, the Rhodesian colonists conquered the rulers of the African-majority peoples – the Ndebele and Shona – in the 1890s, and enjoyed, from the start, a measure of self-government.

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