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article imageOp-Ed: The Queen and the Arms Trade

By Alexander Baron     Aug 23, 2013 in Politics
The Stop-The-War Coalition has made an extraordinary attack on the Queen branding her a war profiteer. As usual, things aren't that simple.
The nearly 9 minute video called How Britain's Queen Elizabeth II profits from the arms trade was uploaded at the beginning of this month.
Among other things, the video points out that the Queen is one of the wealthiest women in the world. Few would dispute that, but what it neglects to point out is that she is also without doubt the hardest working 87 year old in the world, as can be seen here.
In this video, the Queen is blamed for everything from the nuclear industry to the asset stripping of Africa through Tiny Rowland and his Lonrho corporation. Rowland, who died in 1998, was once described by then Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath as the unacceptable face of capitalism. But how exactly is the Queen the root of all this evil?
The video misses the point, in fact it misses many points. To begin with, the Queen does not actively manage her own portfolio, she is far too busy even on her off-days, and anyone who owns a substantial fortune probably has some of it invested in something unpleasant, as the Archbishop of Canterbury discovered after he announced his intention to put the payday loan company Wonga out of business.
Although the Queen may be "worth" £17 billion or whatever figure is attributed to her, that does not mean she could sign a cheque for that amount. The vast bulk of this "money" is investment capital, which among other things provides countless ordinary people with their livelihoods. What about her nuclear investments?
What is conveniently forgotten here is that - Hiroshima and Nagasaki excepted - nuclear power was once sold to the world as the future of energy. Here is what appears to be a comprehensive list of nuclear reactors worldwide. Can the Queen really be held responsible for those? Then there is the arms trade; according to the video, Africa has been asset stripped by wicked predator capitalists. Oh dear, here we go again with the fantasy of Imperialist plunder.
Yes, the arms trade has profited enormously from Africa; is that the Queen's fault? Maybe Africans should do something about it themselves? How exactly was the Queen complicit in the Rwanda genocide (where much of the killing was carried out with machetes), the Somali civil war of 1991, the Sudan, Darfur, the current conflict in Nigeria or the latest horrors in both Egypt and Syria?
Usually Stop-The-War has something intelligent to say; it is currently lobbying against intervention in Syria, though clearly something must be done about the appalling refugee exodus which is now underway. If nothing else that proves Africans, Arabs and indeed the rest of the world are perfectly capable of murdering each other without either Western or Royal assistance.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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