Letter: A short-sighted decision

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The Independent Online
Sir: I would like to thank you for publishing the letters on the proposed closure of the Commonwealth Institute (9 November).

As a governor I, too, am shocked by the Government's short-sighted vision. Are monetary considerations to determine all of the Government's policies? Does moral leadership go out of the window as well? Britain is now, whether we like it or not, a multicultural society and, as such, is a microcosm of the world. Our image should be reflecting this. The Commonwealth Institute deals with educational issues important to students in these isles as well as those in Dijon. It promotes not just an awareness of the Commonwealth but also of the reality of present-day British society.

This country has always claimed to be guided by a set of values which had put it in the forefront of world affairs. This kind of leadership is desperately needed in a world beset by ethnic, tribal, cultural and religious divisions; divisions that bring about so much warfare, destruction and misery.

Supporting the Commonwealth Institute would not solve these problems but it would demonstrate an awareness of global concerns. This country owes its past glory to the old Commonwealth. Would it be wise for us now to be saying to them, 'thank you very much, but we don't need you any more, you are no longer relevant'? We needed the Commonweath once. We may well need it again.

Finally, the Commonwealth Institute is a symbol, not only to people in Britain but to all the member countries, of a commitment to achieving good relations world wide.

Yours sincerely,


London, N6

9 November