It’s been a busy year for Henry Charles Albert David Schleswig- Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg. Firmly ensconced as British imperialism’s favourite poster-boy, ‘Prince Harry’ has been shunted around the world in search of photo-opportunities and this week wound up in Cardiff, capital city of the nation whose name he presumes as his own.
Harry has learned to curb his enthusiasm for Nazi uniform – and why not, when the donning of a British army lieutenant’s kit gives him all the leeway he needs to lay waste to semi-colonies such as Afghanistan and Iraq?
None if this apparently bothered Rod Phillips, head teacher of Cathays High School, who saw fit to use his pupils as propaganda tools for the latest act of royal patronage. The premise of this was the school’s links with Lesotho, in which the ex-Eton schoolboy also has an interest via the charity Sentebale. Sentebale has given the slavering media ample opportunities to portray an immensely privileged white man holding hands with grateful black children, the ancestors of which once trounced the British army for trying to disarm them.
If Rod Phillips had been interested in educating his charges rather than having them indoctrinated, he might have pointed out that charity is the flipside of imperialist force, and that the same Prince Harry had allegedly been ‘calling in’ UK warplanes to bomb the hell out of the less grateful inhabitants of Afghanistan, where, as in Iraq, children have been prime casualties of UK aggression.
However, the whole point of the Harry PR offensive is to counteract the massive unpopularity of such wars and the increasing problem of recruitment to the armed forces. The belief that the armed forces are ‘our boys’ , ‘doing a fantastic job in difficult circumstances’ etc etc, is a fundamental tenet of capitalist rule; not surprising, when ultimately that rule depends not on the elected parliament, but that army, the police force, the unelected judiciary and the unelected civil service, all topped off by unelected royal figureheads such as Henry Charles Albert David Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg.
The prince’s visit also involved meeting doctors and nurses of the University Hospital who have been helping to develop HIV treatments in Lesotho. Cardiff activists will not have missed the irony that
it was from this hospital that the terminally ill Ama Sumani was deported to her death in Ghana. Nor the irony that Harry jokingly sympathised with the 12 and a half hour days worked by student nurses. Perhaps, however, we have got him wrong, and he will not only campaign against the UK’s fascistic immigration policy, but support the 90% of GMB health service workers who recently voted against a pay deal which fails to keep pace with the increase in the costs of food and fuel.
Seriously, however, anti-war activists have to counter this propaganda offensive by continuing to get out onto the streets to oppose the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. George Bush is on his way on Sunday 15th – let’s give him a reception which will force the royal princes off the front pages and hopefully give the pupils of Cathays High, and their teachers, pause for thought.
Check our What’s Happening page for details of the Bush demo.