Britain and the Commonwealth
The Commonwealth is a mystery. It is mysterious because it is so complex and ever-changing; it defies simple explanations. This is why so many statements about it are simple - indeed, oversimple. The contribution of British ideas and practices to the Commonwealth of the recent past and the present has been, and is, profound; British public interest and understanding of the Commonwealth has mostly been perfunctory. The purpose of this chapter is to try to explain this paradox, and to assess the nature and importance of Commonwealth links for Britain in the present and in the immediate future.