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Fruits of the British Empire: Andrew, Blair and Johnson

By Owei Lakemfa

The British royalty and political system, faced with two international criminal suspects: Prince Andrew, son of Queen Elizabeth II, and Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, took two different and contradictory positions.

Andrew the son of the House of Windsor had committed his alleged case of raping an underage girl not in a Third World country where he might even have been praised for spreading British civilisation, but in the United States, US, a country birthed by Britain which is forever striving to show superiority over all earthly dominions.

So, Britain has had to let Andrew, the third child of the Queen, go, possibly, on trial in US, but without his long chains of royal and military titles.

He is accused in US courts of having sex with Virginia Giuffre on three different occasions when she was underage. Giuffre claimed she was handed over to Andrew as a sex slave by his friend, Jeffrey Epstein. On the other hand, Blair with his long chains of immorality, is the prime suspect, along with former US President George W. Bush in the crimes of lying to the world that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction, WMD, as a pretext to levying a catastrophic war against it.

Blair as British Prime Minister, on September 24, 2002, released a false document on Iraq called “The September Dossier” repeating the lie that Iraq had chemical and biological weapons. In the foreword, he wrote: “The document discloses that his (Iraqi President, Sadam Hussein’s) military planning, allows for some of the WMD to be ready within 45 minutes of an order to use them.”

He presented this report to the British parliament which discussed, adopted it and approved the invasion of innocent Iraq. Blair and Bush also got the United Nations and many countries in the world to pressure the hapless country to produce weapons it did not possess, failing which Iraq was invaded in 2003.

Leading British polling group, Opinion Research Business, reported that within five years of that invasion, over one million Iraqis were killed. Over the years, more than five million Iraqi children became orphans and 1.8 million Iraqis became refugees roaming the world with.

In comparison, 4,491 US soldiers died in the war with over 32,000 injured, while 179 British soldiers sent by Blair did not return home alive with 350 injured. The brigandage in Iraq led to the introduction or festering of terrorism around the world in countries like Syria, Libya, Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Cameroun, Chad and Niger.However, given the high profile of the suspects like Blair and Bush, nobody has been brought to trial 19 years after that invasion.

Despite this, it is unconscionable for the highly respected Queen Elizabeth II to roll out the drums on New Year Day 2022 to honour Blair with a knighthood. It is a disservice to the British Royal Family which has been on the throne for 37 generations and 1,209 years. It also diminishes the prestige of the British knighthood. The membership of the Order of the Garter, which is the oldest and most senior British honour to which Blair has been admitted, is entirely based on the personal choice of the monarch.

Knighthood is supposed to be conferred on an inspirational person who has served diligently and done work beneficial to country or humanity. Blair does not, by any stretch of imagination, qualify. Not a few Britons agree; within six days of his knighthood, over one million Britons had signed a petition demanding that the Queen withdraws the undeserved honour conferred on Blair.

Angus Scott, the Voice Artist who initiated the petition wrote that: “Tony Blair caused irreparable damage to both the constitution of the United Kingdom and to the very fabric of the nation’s society.”

To me, the action of Queen Elizabeth II is not surprising and certainly not the worse such decision in British Royal history. That dubious prize would go to Queen Elizabeth I who knighted Francis Drake, a slave merchant, professional pirate and one of the most infamous criminals in history. No, Drake was not openly called a pirate, he was given the more dignifying title of privateer, that is, a private person officially endorsed to carry out armed attacks or piracy in the seas and share the loot.

In the case of Drake, Queen Elizabeth I having spotted his talent following two piratical attacks in the West Indies, decided to commission him to steal primarily from Spanish and Portuguese ships carrying treasures mainly from colonies, and sharing the loot with her.

In a sense, it was a case of looters being looted or a thief who specialised in stealing from fellow thieves.Drake had started off with his cousin, John Hawkins as a slave merchant invading the West African coast, capturing Africans and selling them off in the Caribbean plantations. But during one of their slaving expeditions in 1568, the Spanish Navy, whose government had declared slave trade illegal, busted them, and Drake turned to the more lucrative profession of piracy.

Although Drake is also credited with circumnavigating the world from 1577 to 1580, but that was incidental as the primary purpose of that trip was piratic not exploration. The Queen in telling Drake that the objective of this mission was to find out “places with traffic” was telling him to go loot Spanish ships and possessions.

On this trip, he also stole into territories and ports along the coast of Chile and Peru, looting. It was on this trip in March 1579, he seized the Nuestra Señora de la Concepción, a Spanish treasure ship from which he looted 80 pounds of gold, 12 chests of coins, and 26 tons of silver.

On this trip, Drake had a quarrel with his senior officer, Thomas Doughty, a nobleman and had him beheaded. He then changed the name of the ship from Pelican to Golden Hind. The Queen was so pleased with Drake that on April 4, 1581, she personally came on board the Golden Hind to knight him.

Drake was also appointed the Mayor of Plymouth. One of Blair’s successors and current Prime Minister Boris Johnson has had a knockdown in the parliamentary ring after admitting this Wednesday, January 19, 2022 that he attended a social party at 10, Downing Street on May 20, 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown when his government confined other citizens to their homes.

Johnson claimed he had attended the alcohol-induced party because “I believed implicitly that this was a work event.”

Wonderful, he thought he was at work! Fruits like Andrew, Blair and Johnson might just be harvests from the garden of the old British Empire.

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