G20 Survey

Still Swearing Allegiance to the Queen

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 20: Queen Elizabeth II smiles as she waits with dignitaries for the arrival of the II Chinese President Xi Jinping at the official welcome ceremony at Horseguards Parade on October 20, 2015 in London, England. The President of the Peoples Republic of China, Mr Xi Jinping and his wife, Madame Peng Liyuan, are paying a State Visit to the United Kingdom as guests of The Queen. They will stay at Buckingham Palace and undertake engagements in London and Manchester. The last state visit paid by a Chinese President to the UK was Hu Jintao in 2005. (Photo by Alastair Grant - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II, still popular with citizens across the Commonwealth nations.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Commonwealth countries include established economic powers like Australia, Britain and Canada as well as important emerging nations like South Africa.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • The Commonwealth is an association of 53 countries, most of which were once part of the British empire.
    • Queen Elizabeth II is the head of the Commonwealth.
    • Several countries including Nigeria, Pakistan and Zimbabwe have been at times suspended from the Commonwealth for human rights abuses.
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    Audio

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United by their colonial heritage, Great Britain continues to loom large in the worldview of its fellow Commonwealth nations, despite the rapid rise of new powers on the global stage, according to a recent survey conducted by YouGov and commissioned by Handelsblatt.

South Africans view Britain as more important than even China, though its economy is one-fourth the size of the East Asian powerhouse. And Australians put the old mother country in third place, behind only the United States and China in terms of global significance.

Both Australians and the Canadians believe Britain has a quality of life that’s second only to their own.

The Brits, however, have a more sober assessment of their standing in the world. They put themselves in fourth place in terms of global influence and many feel recent foreign policy decisions have undermined the country’s standing in the world.

Ian Macsporran, a 67-year-old retired teacher, who lives in Northampton 100 kilometers north of London, for example, believes the country lost its way when former Prime Minister Tony Blair led the country to war against Iraq back in 2003.

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