Monday, March 11, 2013
As readers of this blog already know, I am a huge supporter of increasing Commonwealth trade and other ties. Our Sovereign Lady has worked tirelessly to serve the Commonwealth. HM's Commonwealth Day Message: This year’s Commonwealth theme, ‘Opportunity through Enterprise’, is a celebration of our achievements, particularly those that may have seemed challenging, daunting or even impossible, which have helped to build strength, resilience and pride in our young people, in our communities and in our nations. Great achievements in human history have a number of common characteristics. From climbing the highest mountain, to winning a sporting competition, making a scientific breakthrough, building a successful business or discovering unique artistic talent – these outcomes all begin as a simple goal or idea in one person’s mind. We are all born with the desire to learn, to explore, to try new things. And each of us can think of occasions when we have been inspired to do something more efficiently, or to assist others in achieving their full potential. Yet it still takes courage to launch into the unknown. Ambition and curiosity open new avenues of opportunity. That is what lies at the heart of our Commonwealth approach: individuals and communities finding ways to strive together to create a better future that is beneficial for all. Our shared values of peace, democracy, development, justice and human rights – which are found in our new ‘Commonwealth Charter’ – mean that we place special emphasis on including everyone in this goal, especially those who are vulnerable. I am reminded of the adage, ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’. As we reflect on how the Commonwealth theme applies to us individually, let us think about what can be gained with a bold heart, dedication, and teamwork. And let us bear in mind the great opportunity that is offered by the Commonwealth – of joining with others, stronger together, for the common good. I also pray for a full and speedy recovery for Her Majesty! My friend Tim Hewish has it right: People of the Commonwealth are family, not foreigners A Happy Commonwealth Day to you all. I suspect that many of you did not know that today was precisely so. In fact, the whole week is dedicated to all things Commonwealth. This year has been dubbed “Opportunity through enterprise” for those in the Commonwealth, which, given my publication’s vision, very much has my approval. It would seem that the powers that be are slowly moving in the right direction. For those fortunate enough to be based in London, I warmly recommend that one takes a lunch on Parliament Square, as for one week only, it will be flanked by every national Commonwealth flag: a treat for the vexillologist in all of us. Surprisingly, since the start of the year there have been a number of welcome developments for the Commonwealth. David Cameron visited India on the biggest British trade mission and pledged that the UK would start to offer same-day visas to Indian businessmen. This is a small fulfillment of my recommendation for a Commonwealth business visa (page 82). Surely, what is good for India must be good for the 52 remaining nations? Cue shock murmurs from Nigeria that the Commonwealth is planning to introduce a visa-free programme for its members. The Nigerian Foreign Minister was quoted saying: It used to be that holders of Commonwealth passports could travel within the Commonwealth countries easily without having to go and queue for visas. We are now thinking for ways to ensure that we bring back this tradition.