The first issue of News of the Realms has been sent out to UCS members. If you would like to join the Society and receive a copy of this and future issues, please visit our membership page and become a registered member. An email address will be required.
In the years since its creation, the United Commonwealth Society has been joined by several groups in its advocacy for greater relations between the Commonwealth realms.
The newest group is the Commonwealth Freedom of Movement Organisation. As their name indicates, CFMO advocates for the freedom of movement between Commonwealth nations, and Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom (CANZUK) in particular.
Since launching it at the beginning of March 2015, CFMO’s petition on Change.org has gained over 68,000 signatures and widespread media attention. A poll on the issue in an article on CBC.ca was answered by over 72,000 people, nearly 91% of whom supported the move.
To show your support, please click here or on the image below to sign the petition.
The petition has been submitted to both the New Zealand and Australian governments; Canada and the United Kingdom will receive the petition after the completion of their general elections. If you are in Australia or New Zealand, please show your support after signing by contacting your elected officials.
David J Haisell
The United Commonwealth Society wishes all of you a Happy Commonwealth Day!
The votes have been cast and the results are in. Please meet your Council for 2015:
Chair: David Haisell (returning)
Vice-Chair: Jon-Paul Teasdale (new)
Secretary: Edward Harris (returning)
Representative, Australia: Sam Carruthers (new)
Representative, Canada: Liam Hill, UE (new)
Representative, Caribbean Realms: Jason Green (returning)
Representative, Pacific Realms: Wilson Thompson, MBE (returning)
Representative, United Kingdom, Territories, and Dependencies: Jon-Paul Teasdale (returning)
I would like to issue my thanks to all who voted and my welcome to those who are new to council this year. I would also like to issue my heartfelt thanks to Stephen Hale and Rowan Smith for their service to the Society over the past two years.
I wish everyone the best for the coming year!
In the coming weeks the United Commonwealth Society holds its annual council elections. All posts are being contested, including:
– Regional Representative (Australia, Canada, Caribbean realms, New Zealand, Pacific realms, United Kingdom)
If you would like to help shape the future makeup of the UCS council, join today to cast your vote. It may be your name on the ballot this time next year!
I would like to thank the current council for their work this past term and wish all candidates good luck in the election.
David J Haisell
United Commonwealth Society
This past Tuesday, 18th November, was the 130th anniversary of the founding of the Imperial Federation League. The league, which you can read more about here, marked the first time anyone proposed that the self-governing territories of the British Empire should be governed as one. 130 years on, the United Commonwealth Society keeps the dream alive.
Recently, supporters of the United Commonwealth Society have had only two options to become members: joining our discussion groups on Facebook and Google+.
As of this month, supporters can join the UCS by email. Send an email to our chair at firstname.lastname@example.org with your full name, email address, and location. You will receive a welcome email in response with further details about your membership.
We are thrilled to be able to expand our range of membership options to you, our supporters. Help us grow as a Society and as a voice in the realms by sharing the graphic below with your friends!
Now that the dust has settled on the Scottish referendum, it is time to turn our attention to the next big referendum to be held in the Commonwealth: that of the future of the New Zealand flag. Shortly after his re-election as Prime Minister, John Key indicated that a referendum on the flag could be held as soon as 2015.
Mr. Key has labeled the the current New Zealand blue ensign a relic of the nation’s colonial past, and wants a design that is uniquely New Zealand, “Whether it’s stitched on a Kiwi traveller’s backpack outside a bar in Croatia, on a flagpole outside the United Nations or standing in a Wellington southerly on top of the Beehive every working day.” Others disagreed, pointing out the flag’s symbolism: the blue field, which symbolises the ocean that surrounds the island realm, and the Union flag, which symbolises its lasting connection to the Commonwealth.
New Zealand has no shortage of alternatives. Several flag designs have been proposed, most often featuring the “silver fern”, New Zealand’s botanical symbol, or the red Southern Cross from the current blue ensign. Nor is such a move without precedent; of the 15 Commonwealth realms excluding the United Kingdom, only Australia, New Zealand, and Tuvalu currently have an ensign as their flag. (The ensign is much more common among territories and subnational units; six Australian states, fourteen British Overseas Territories, two Canadian provinces, and both New Zealand territories fly ensigns as their official flags.)
Where, then, does this leave the United Commonwealth Society? It is perhaps not surprising that many of our members from New Zealand have expressed a desire to retain the current flag, as do several members from other realms. Does this mean that the Society’s official position – if, indeed, we should have one – should be the same?
Have your say by clicking HERE or on the image below to vote in our poll. Help shape the policy of this Society by having your say!
David J Haisell
10 October 2014