Commonwealth offers UK a wider global perspective

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From Mr Algy Cluff.

Sir, Philip Stephens writes a cogent analysis (“British foreign policy should be realistic, not romantic”, September 21), without mentioning the Commonwealth once.

Unhappily, lack of interest in the Commonwealth has characterised European-inclined British policy since the last war, in particular during the Tony Blair governments. Indeed, there were rumours that the word Commonwealth was to be dropped altogether from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

There are, happily, signs that the present government is rectifying this. It is my humble view as a longstanding businessman operating in Africa, in particular, that there obtains a 20 per cent cost advantage for British companies operating in Commonwealth countries vis a vis francophone countries, as a result of a shared language and legal system, shared interests (sport, in particular) and humour.

Let us hope the reshuffle will further invigorate the coalition’s Commonwealth policy. I would like to pay tribute to the departing minister of state in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Henry Bellingham, who worked diligently to promote British interests in Africa.

Algy Cluff, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive, Cluff Natural Resources, London, UK

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