…their sovereign’s dominant role is to inspect
Row after row of the state’s armed forces –
Broken down in training, reconfigured from scratch
And then programmed to kill on command.
The sovereign is crucial to the lubrication of Britain’s wars
By its gulling soldiers into dutifully dying;
Then, after paying homage to such victims of state carnage,
By its encouraging arms-trade profiteering.
Arms-makers and their customers are brought together
At Windsor Castle to be honored with fly-pasts –
Monarchy and military business being intimately connected:
The UK’s ‘Defense Industrial Base’ is a royal brand.
A landowning cabal with its heraldry denoting privilege
Still forms an elite network that stakes out the land,
And retains monarchy as its god to deceive those living here
Whose Common land they once stole and enclosed.
The monarchy’s militarism echoes a time when royalty wasn’t flouted –
When to criticize royalty was treason and when those threatening
The status quo could be seized, and their limbs tied to horses
Which took off in every direction as they were whipped.
On seeing royal victims torn to shreds while still alive,
Royal minions sliced their hearts into sections
Then dispatched them across the country for public display,
As a warning to anyone considering rebellion.
In the past, the brute power of the monarchy was this unrestrained
Whereas now it pretends to more decorum
By dressing in fancy costumes, and awarding itself unearned medals,
And laying wreaths to those dying in its name.
For its politicized charisma still yields a large body-count;
Lives are still culled by its ‘Queen and country’ spell;
Royalty routinely pays its dead subjects with a march-past
When they’re boxed up and returned to where they once lived.
Meanwhile royalty’s own patriotism bears scant inspection:
It being revealed in 1915, in World War One,
That when millions were dying in Flanders for King and Country,
The King himself was tobogganing in St Moritz.
He returned to set a record for shooting Sandringham pheasants
As he cut his annual swathe through its wildlife;
Similarly, in 1939, George VI determined that the war
Shouldn’t “interrupt the grouse season at Balmoral.”
The UK’s military-monarchy-complex is a cynical industry
For which the Queen was groomed by a General Browning
And, likewise, Prince William’s mentor has been Blair’s wartime apparatchik:
The UK’s former man in Washington, David Manning.
“It is Manning who is running the conflict with Iraq.”
Wrote John Kampfner, the author of ‘Blair's Wars’.
Thus the heir to the heir is being initiated by a prime mover
In Britain’s centuries-long killing sprees.
While all the time royalty profits from arms, due to its Crown Agents
Who tend to its shares in Lockheed, makers of cluster bombs
And nurture bundles of the royal investments in BAE Systems –
In its Depleted Uranium shells and its landmines.
The latest landmines are designed to leap up out of the ground,
Triggered by children playing or walking nearby.
They’ll detonate in mid-air and they’ll sever limbs as bodies fall
While the shareholdings of the super-rich rise.
The Times has claimed the sovereign’s wealth grows yearly by 20m
And in 2010 it announced the Queen “crowned a successful year
For her share portfolio, with a personal fortune totaling £290m”
Though elsewhere others have assessed it in billions.
Yet confronted by the true cost of UK weapons exported abroad,
Namely the Indonesian massacres in East Timor,
Her son Charles said, “If we don’t sell arms to them, someone else will,”
Blithely exposing the monarchy’s moral vacuum.
- Heathcote Williams, The Windsors
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