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Former Commonwealth Secretary-General on Commonwealth's challenges
Most New Zealanders will remember Don McKinnon as our minister of foreign affairs during the 1990s. In the Ring is his memoir of his next role as Commonwealth Secretary-General from 2000-2008. I haven't read the book myself yet (I'll put in an order soon) but from the reviews online - particularly this one from the Commonwealth Journalists Association - it sounds like a fascinating read. McKinnon doesn't pull his punches, taking aim (equally) at the United Kingdom, Canada, and emerging powers such as India for their lack of support for the Commonwealth.
McKinnon apparently devotes an entire chapter to his relationship with the Queen as Head of the Commonwealth, but you can't help but think (especially from The Telegraph review) that he has glossed over the challenge the Commonwealth faces with its headship post the Queen, who is widely respected. McKinnon accurately states that the role isn't hereditary and has to be decided by consensus - and that he would push for the Prince of Wales (Prince Charles) to be the next Head of the Commonwealth. He seems to assume this would be a non-issue - yet during his own term, there was often breakdowns in consensus on critical issues.
There was also an attempt by Zimbabwe to have him removed as secretary general, before that country threw its toys and left the Commonwealth all together. Hence there's no reason to assume the consensus needed to deliver Charles the headship of the Commonwealth could be easily achieved. And anyway, even the Royal Commonwealth Society in the UK thinks the links to the British monarchy mean the organisation is too closely associated with its "Imperial legacy". There's no reason to suggest that after the Queen the position might change. Of course even if it doesn't it doesn't really affect our campaign for a New Zealander as head of State, but this is still an issue in the head of State debate.
Perhaps what's most interesting is that hardly anyone outside of the UK has covered the launch of McKinnon's book. Despite his previous roles as our man overseas, the New Zealand media has completely ignored the book, with the notable exception of Scoop. Yet according to its reviews - and there's a few of them - this is probably one of the most insightful and important books on the Commonwealth's future since... well, ever. The fact it's being ignored confirms McKinnon's views on the challenges the organisation faces.