by Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah
March 9 was Commonwealth Day. To mark it, Queen Elizabeth was set to join 2,000 others at Westminster Abbey, London, for the U.K.’s largest multifaith observance. Since emerging from the colonial era as a voluntary grouping of independent nations 60 years ago, the modern Commonwealth has done a great deal to promote democracy, international understanding and the interests of vulnerable states. Yet, at least in the U.K., if more is not done to raise its visibility and relevance the Commonwealth risks disappearing from the national consciousness.
In 1969, a Gallup poll found that 34 per cent of British people identified the Commonwealth as the most important part of the world for Britain, on a par with those who said America, and one and a half times those who said Europe. An RCS/YouGov survey finds that only 14 per cent of British do so now, well behind America and Europe.
[Britain's Queen Elizabeth II arrives at Westminster Abbey in London, ahead of the annual Observance for Commonwealth Day, on March 9, 2009. AFP PHOTO]
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