Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Lukács

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Should Prince Harry go (and get a job)?

As the compiler of the official Dead King Watch, you can imagine how often I am asked by journalists to comment on matters concerning the royal family. The recent controversy over whether or not Prince Harry should serve in Iraq is obviously a question which is close to my heart. According to many bourgeois historians - to pick one at random, say, Tristram Hunt, Harry should go as after the Royal Navy's hostage fiasco, a bit of 'gung-ho militarism' could restore a bit of 'lost mettle...a touch of Old Britain might not come amiss.'
The young aristocrat certainly symbolises the Old British imperial spirit alright - ever since he attended a 'colonials and natives' party (dressed in a tasteful German Nazi desert uniform and a swastika armband in the run up to Holocaust memorial day) - there have been no worries on that score. Whether the presence of Harry's 'gung-ho militarism' would have been enough to turn the tide in Iraq is more questionable. Yet the fact that Harry is not now due to go to Iraq does indeed raise some awkward questions, one of which Hunt did put his finger on - if Harry had gone, this would have shown 'not only that there remains a continuing connection between monarchy and militarism but that the wider royal family still has a purpose. For if he can't join his fellow Sandhurst cadets in the back of a Scimitar, what can he do?' Indeed - Harry is now 21 years old and despite the most privileged education he hasn't actually ever really had a job - though there is form here among the upper class and particularly the monarchy. But more to the point, the whole catastrophe of Iraq and the fact it is 'too dangerous' for Harry to go surely underlines the need to bring all the British troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan now - unless we really do want them all to come back in bodybags. Socialists in Britain need to be agitating through the Stop the War Coalition and making sure that if it is 'too risky' to send a rich braindead drink-sodden ex-Nazi little shit like Harry to Iraq, then it is also too politically risky for Brown to act as an imperial overlord and maintain New Labour's disastrous occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

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