Saturday 8 April 2006

Cuba, Cricket and the Caribbean

[Published last month in the Daily Mail, with the parts in sqaure brackets cut.]

It is easy to mock Fidel Castro's desire for Cubans to play cricket in order to emphasise that they are West Indians and distinct from the United States. However, he has a point[, and good luck to him]. Furthermore, something else unites the nine West Indian countries among the 16 independent Commonwealth Realms (Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), and the six among the 10 permanently inhabited British Overseas Territories (Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Montserrat, and the Turks and Caicos Islands), namely their shared monarchy[, which also distinguishes them from the United States].
The monarchy unites them to each other and to all the other Commonwealth Realms (including Britain) and British Overseas Territories (including Saint Helena, where I was born). [All of these 26 countries around the world fought in both World Wars from Day One of each, while the Commonwealth Realms retain the Crown entirely by choice, and the British Overseas Territories remain British entirely by choice. It is high time that citizens of all of them enjoyed at least the same rights of access to this country as are enjoyed by EU citizens, who might have been SS officers or, as late as 1989, high-ranking Soviet officials in Latvia, Lithuania or Estonia. Furthermore, their respective National Days ought to be observed in some way in our public institutions, especially schools.

It is notable that none of the Commonwealth Realms except Britain is mentioned anywhere on the website of the Henry Jackson Society, and that none at all is mentioned anywhere on the website of the Project for the New American Century: this is the true face of "neoconservatism", actually a direct threat to the territorial, political, economic and cultural integrity, certainly of all the above West Indies and of Canada, and at least arguably of all the Commonwealth Realms (including Britain) and all the British Overseas Territories.]

If Cuba wants to emphasise that she is West Indian and not American, then, in addition to playing cricket, she ought to provide for Castro to be succeeded upon his death by the Westminster model of parliamentary democracy, capped and safeguarded by the Crown.

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