- Danny Sriskandarajah is Director of the Royal Commonwealth Society. The opinions expressed are his own -
In recent years the Commonwealth has become an easily derided organisation. From its inception as a clever way of easing de-colonisation to the heady 1970s and 1980s when the association showed a radical dynamism on issues like Apartheid, the international association has shown itself to be unique and useful.
However, today, the Commonwealth risks being drowned out in a more crowded field of international organisations, many with a clearer sense of purpose, more collective will and better resources.
Before the 2002 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), in Durban, South Africa, Tony Blair reportedly said he would rather be at home watching football than meeting his fellow heads of state. A candid indictment of how irrelevant the Commonwealth has become?
Polling done in seven member countries to mark the launch of a public conversation on the future of the Commonwealth shows some worrying signs. Globally, only a third of people polled could name any activity carried out by the association and only about a third of people in Australia, Canada and Great Britain would be sorry if their country withdrew altogether.