Of all the worst ways I’ve ever spent a Saturday night, I can safely say that reading about the Commonwealth, as I spent most of last night trying to do, probably features quite high on the list. On Monday (Commonwealth Day, woo hoo) I have to go to the Foreign Office and pretend, by supporting the motion This House Believes That The Commonwealth Matters, that I both know and care about this organisation in front of its Secretary-General and, of course, the huge Internet audience of schoolchildren that will be forced to watch.
I am now a fount of knowledge about this wondrous organisation. If I am ever on holiday in Lahore and another military coup erupts, I will walk through its turbulent and strife-ridden streets, past Uzi-toting gunmen at military blockades, and demand an audience with whichever General is in charge. I will tell him that this is a blow at the heart of democracy which the Commonwealth will not stand for, and apprise him of the numerous mechanisms through which it will make its displeasure felt. The latter task will take all of five seconds. He will listen attentively, only occasionally twiddling the ends of his moustache. He will then have me summarily executed.
Perhaps this is overdoing it a bit, but I really don’t enjoy doing debates where at the very moment my mouth is saying “Truly, the Commonwealth is a unique and valuable organisation which has much to contribute in bettering the lives of its peoples”, my brain is saying “MY ARSE”.