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On Sunday The Queen won one of Tinsel town’s highest accolades. We can now expect that during the next few months that millions of Americans will view the movie. They will undoubtedly conclude that she is a wise woman, sage statesman and practiced politician—in short – that she has been Britain’s saviour. This would be most unfortunate because, in truth, in Britain’s time of greatest need, she looked away and did nothing!
As we all know it was just four years ago when Britain was poised on the brink of war with Iraq. On 16 February a million opposing the war marched on London and demonstrated their disapproval. It was the biggest demonstration ever seen in Britain; there were no pro-war marchers. In short, there was no mandate for war. Furthermore all political commentators agreed that given a free vote, MPs would not vote for war. The cabinet was in disarray (Robin Cook resigned on 18 March). This was the time when the Queen, the constitutional head of State, should have spoken out and asked her First Minister to call a general election and get that mandate. She didn’t.
Amazingly, whilst the country was in turmoil, her subjects demonstrating and trying to expose the spin behind Tony Blair’s duplicity, Her Majesty went about her business as normal. The Court Circular shows that while US B52s loaded with nuclear bombs, were flying in and out of Fairford she attended a choir recital (14/3), appointed a personal apothecary (5/2), talked to builders at Sandringham (5/2) and went to the races twice (13/3; 7/3)!
Whether she failed her country out of ignorance, intellectual incapacity or due to Mr Blair intimidations, we will never know. But history will write that when the Queen had an opportunity to show “a wise head and a steady hand”, she didn’t. As a result half a million Iraqis and over hundred of her own soldiers died.
Readers may remember her as the Grand Dame portrayed in the movie—but thanks to Mr Blair she has blood on her hands—that is how history will remember QE2.