December 08, 2003


Robert Mugabe has quit the Commonwealth. Spokesman for the psychopath, George Charamba, explains:

It's so obvious. Zimbabwe pulls out precisely because the Commonwealth is racist. The Commonwealth is, at least as dominated by Britain, New Zealand and Australia, is taking the path of racism.

Ay Charamba! Meanwhile Amnesty International’s Kate Allen asks why we’re picking on Mugabe when so much other wickedness goes unpunished:

The clampdown on the right to asylum has seen the Australian government's "Pacific solution" set of policies enable it to hold for months scores of people, who have been recognised as refugees, in detention centres - a policy branded by a UN delegation as "offensive to human dignity".

Well, what do these people expect from genetically-modified criminals?

Posted by Tim Blair at December 8, 2003 08:06 PM

Hey, this ain't fair man. Why can't the US be part of this Commonwealth thing? We were once an English colony too you know. Yeah, just like India and South Africa. Since having the Queen on the stamps isn't required anymore, I think we should be in. Some of our states in fact aren't states. They are commonwealths. Kentucky and Massachusetts for example. So I think we should be in. And due to a recent stroke of good luck, there is an opening.

Posted by: Charles at December 8, 2003 at 09:40 PM

US and Ireland are eligible to join the Commonwealth but they choose not to. If only Australia were to pull out. But whose arse would we get to kick in sport?

Posted by: Mike Hunt at December 8, 2003 at 09:52 PM

Is anyone NOT eligible to join the Commonwealth? What exactly are the criteria?

Posted by: Peggy Sue at December 8, 2003 at 11:04 PM

You must be able to explain cricket's LBW law.

Posted by: tim at December 9, 2003 at 12:49 AM

You can find out about admission criteria here:

Membership Criteria

"Commonwealth membership entails acknowledgment of the British monarch as a symbol of the free association and as such the titular Head of the Commonwealth."

Posted by: Clarke Kent at December 9, 2003 at 01:02 AM

Lex Luthor: The world is a big place. Thank goodness my needs are small. As it turns out, I have this affinity for beach front property.

Gen. Zod: What do you want?

Lex Luthor: Australia!

And a nation of genetically-modified criminals was born.

Posted by: papertiger at December 9, 2003 at 02:40 AM

"You must be able to explain cricket's LBW law."

Does this mean we can kick out Scotland?

Posted by: Ross at December 9, 2003 at 02:45 AM

Mozambique are in it and they wernt part of the Empire. Could US states apply to join individually or would the State Department not allow that?

Posted by: Pat at December 9, 2003 at 03:13 AM

Can't kick out Scotland, Ross. Remember Mike Denness. And I think Tony Grieg's mother is Scottish.

Posted by: tim at December 9, 2003 at 04:40 AM

I once dated a girl named Cricket.

Her rules were keep your hands to yourself.

Posted by: papertiger at December 9, 2003 at 06:02 AM

"Commonwealth membership entails acceptance of Commonwealth practices, including the use of English as the sole official language..."

That means Canada's out, right? They have two official languages.

Posted by: Richard at December 9, 2003 at 08:14 AM

Pat: The Constitution says

[Article I Section 10 Clause 1] "No State shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation[.]"


[Article I Section 10 Clause 3] "No State shall, without the consent of Congress . . . enter into any agreement or compact with another state, or with a foreign power[.]"

So, on the U.S. side, a state could only join the Commonwealth with Congressional permission. The State Department officially has no voice in the matter.

On the Commonwealth side, the sovereign nation requirement would have to be waived, and the "constitutional association with an existing Commonwealth member" arguably excludes those states that were never British territory, unless a U.S. state that was once British territory joined first.

(With maximal stretching regarding old British claims, it would still exclude those states carved entirely from the areas of the Louisiana Purchase, Republic of Texas, Mexican Cession, Gasden Purchase, and Hawaii. So Hawaii, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Missouri, and Arkansas would be out.)

Posted by: Warmongering Lunatic at December 9, 2003 at 11:08 AM

Dear Warmongering, it's just as well. I don't think the great State of Texas is much interested in joining the Commonwealth. However, if approached with the proper humility and due considerations, we might consider letting the Commonwealth join us. However, we would insist on it giving up numerous silly notions about the proper role between the individual citizen and the Authorities. All y'all are just too squiggly, this past century, when it comes to giving up your individual rights.

Posted by: CGeib at December 9, 2003 at 06:34 PM