Letter: Commonwealth betrayed by UK

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The Independent Online
From Mr Nicholas Burke

Sir: Your editorial "Commonwealth: a revival of hope?" (21 March) reeks of hypocrisy and arrogance and is offensive to people from other Commonwealth countries.

People in the United Kingdom fail to appreciate the feeling of rejection and betrayal felt throughout the Commonwealth regarding its actions since it has joined the European Community. One has only to witness Leon Brittan on the Canadian turbot war to understand Great Britain's true position and loyalties.

Most people acknowledge that it was inevitable and economically right for the UK to join the EC. However, since then, in all matters of substance, it has chosen to reject its Commonwealth heritage and to side with Europe. In so doing, it has forfeited any right to a special relationship with Commonwealth members.

My father, a fourth-generation Australian, joined the RAF in 1939, and served with them until 1945. He will return for VE Day to a country that does not accord him or his country any special privilege or gratitude.

Commonwealth countries have learnt to accept this state of affairs, but when the Independent trumpets for John Major to ask "not how much Britain does for the Commonwealth but what the Commonwealth can do for Britain", because "five of the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world were Commonwealth members", then our collective blood boils!

Yours faithfully,




21 March