God save the Queen as She and Her Family Lubricate Britain's Wars
Extracted from Royal Babylon: the Criminal Record of the British Monarchy. An investigative poem by Heathcote Williams.
By Heathcote Williams / stopwar.org.uk

IN THE YEAR of the Queen’s Jubilee tourists peered as usual 
Through the railings of Buckingham Palace,
But her fairy-tale was fading; the fairy queen’s wings were being clipped 
By the Sex Pistols putting monarchy in their sights.

“God save the queen,” they sang, “it’s a fascist regime.”
And the song’s hook-line became a new anthem –
Disturbing to clutches of flag-wavers lining the streets,
And horrifying to Middle England and the Daily Mail.

The Sex Pistols proclaimed, “She ain’t no human being,”  
And their subversive posters for the record
Placed the band’s salacious name right across the Queen’s lips 
Masking her eyes with two spidery swastikas.

They sang, “I don't believe illusions ‘cos too much is real”.
They accessorized the Queen’s nose with a safety pin
Like a voodoo doll then covered her face with cutout letters, 
As if presenting the world with a kidnapper’s note.

 ‘Oooh no,’ people would say, ‘you can’t have a go at the Queen,’ 
Sucking their breath in to indicate caution, 
‘Oooh no, not the Queen, the Queen’s above politics you see.’
‘They can’t answer back, can they, so it’s not fair.’

Then they’d earnestly claim, ‘It’s in the constitution, isn’t it?’
Forgetting that Britain’s never had such a document –
For the Brits, despite their inordinate pride in their own history,
Can reveal they know less about it than anyone.    

The country survives despite its own past not because of it
And its infantile wish for a benign parent above politics 
Persuades it to ignore unpleasant facts, such as the sovereign’s endorsing 
The very nastiest political act of all, namely killing.

For 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.

This is extracted from Heathcote Williams' investigative poem, Royal Babylon: the Criminal Record of the British Monarchy. For more of Heathcote Williams work published by Stop the War, see here »

4.2 ·
What's Next
Trending Today
Noam Chomsky Has 'Never Seen Anything Like This'
Chris Hedges · 14,584 views today · Noam Chomsky is America’s greatest intellectual. His massive body of work, which includes nearly 100 books, has for decades deflated and exposed the lies of the power elite...
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 9,714 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
25 Mind-Twisting Optical Illusion Paintings by Rob Gonsalves
Dovas · 8,406 views today · The beautiful and mind-bending illusions in Canadian artist Robert Gonsalves’ paintings have a fun way of twisting your perception and causing you to question what in his...
Forget Shorter Showers: Why Personal Change Does Not Equal Political Change (2015)
11 min · 6,480 views today · Would any sane person think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday; or that chopping...
No Moral Superpower: Arundhati Roy, Edward Snowden, and the Crimes of Empire
Jake Johnson · 4,020 views today · When Arundhati Roy was preparing, in 2014, for a trip to Moscow to meet Edward Snowden, she was troubled by two things. One of them was the fact that the meeting was arranged...
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 3,083 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
Dinosaur explains Trump policies better than Trump!
8 min · 2,609 views today · Donald Trump is actually the corporate triceratops, Mr. Richfield, from the 90's TV show sitcom, "Dinosaurs". 
The Empire Vs. The People - Police Attack and Arrest Peaceful Protestors at the Dakota Access Pipeline
6 min · 2,525 views today · On October 22, just before dawn, hundreds of people, including many families, gathered and prepared to march toward the Dakota Access pipeline construction site near Standing...
Men Loving Men
Bianca Vivion · 2,203 views today · When my father was seven he and his best friend Phil cut their index fingers open and placed them together to create a “blood pact” that they would always be brothers. To this...
These Incredible Stories Remind Us of Our Better Selves
36 min · 2,186 views today · #WhoWeAre is a campaign to share the stories of people whose actions show us compassion and to send a message of empathy, hope and optimism. These videos will automatically...
The Burden of the New Story
Adebayo Akomolafe · 2,127 views today · The 'new story' - that longed for milieu when all is right with the world and things are set straight - seems to be taking its sweet time coming. Why?
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 1,749 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
And After the Election, The Reaction
Ret Marut · 1,028 views today · Could there be any better illustration of the shortcomings of representative democracy than this year’s Presidential campaign? For months upon tiresome months, the whole world...
Writers Tom Hayden and Naomi Klein Talk About Journalism and Activism
27 min · 965 views today · Author, Activist and Former California State Senator Tom Hayden talks in depth with the author of No Logo and The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein, about the state of the fourth...
'The Climate of Fear Is Unacceptable' - Ken Loach on I, Daniel Blake
6 min · 794 views today · Ken Loach’s Palme d’Or-winning film I, Daniel Blake tells the story of a man who is denied disability benefit after a heart attack and who is then subsequently caught in a...
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World
Films For Action · 724 views today · A more beautiful, just and sustainable world is possible. Take this library and use it to inspire global change!
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 629 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Three Massive Mergers - Millions for One Bank and a Disaster for Food, Water, and Climate
Wenonah Hauter · 610 views today · In addition to advising on all three mega-mergers, Credit Suisse is playing a big role behind the scenes of the Dakota Access pipeline.
Ode to Lesvos
5 min · 547 views today · An inspiring story of a few remarkable heroes on the Island of Lesvos who helped almost half a million refugees in 2015 has been documented in a new short film called Ode to...
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 463 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
God save the Queen as She and Her Family Lubricate Britain's Wars