6 MARCH 1953, Page 2

The Crown and the Commonwealth

• It is a pity that there should have been any difference of opinion, still more that an actual. division was forced, on the Royal Titles Bill in the House of Commons on Tuesday. Yet the Bill raises many points of interest, on which a restrained discussion was well worth while. The evolution of the Commonwealth. has brought inevitable changes in the style and title of the sovereign, and there is no need to regret them. Her Majesty cannot be " of all Her Dominions beyond the sea Queen," for the name Dominion has been dropped by common consent, as suggesting a difference of status between the United Kingdom and the other members of the Commonwealth, whereas, even in Lord Balfour's historic definition and still more in public opinion throughout the Commonwealth, all are equal in status. But there is much to be said for Mr. Patrick Gordon-Walker's suggestion that the term " United Kingdom " is all-sufficient, and the addition to it of the words " and Northern Ireland " superfluous. It may be criticised indeed as being more than superfluous. It is undesirably obtrusive. If there is no need to mention England or Scotland or Wales why should Northern Ireland be specially named ? It is no compliment to that territory itself, which is in a stronger position if it is so definitely understood to be an integral part of the United Kingdom that any specific reference to it is beside the mark. This is a matter that might well be recd ercd; a change could still be made by a Government amen..0 ent in the Lords, which the Commons would in that event naturally accept. Anomalies still remain. It is perfectly true, as Mr. Enoch Powell pointed out in language which might perhaps have been rather more carefully chosen, that the terms on which the unity of the Commonwealth are based have been stretched very considerably to prevent India from - going out of it altogether. The Crown is no longer the supreme symbol that it was. That relaxation was probably wise in the circumstances. But any further relaxation. would -simply produce unreality.