Prince Andrew sex allegations further highlight corrupt culture of British establishment

Richard Sudan
Richard Sudan is a London-based writer, political activist, and performance poet. His writing has been published in many prominent publications, including the Independent, the Guardian, Huffington Post and Washington Spectator. He has been a guest speaker at events for different organizations ranging from the University of East London to the People's Assembly covering various topics. His opinion is that the mainstream media has a duty to challenge power, rather than to serve power. Richard has taught writing poetry for performance at Brunel University.
Britain's Prince Andrew, Duke of York
(AFP Photo / DPA / Swen Pfortner Germany out)
The allegations that Prince Andrew had sex with an underage woman have yet again sparked public outrage over the behavior of the British elite and raised questions on whether the rich and powerful can do whatever they want and get away with it.

According to widely reported allegations, between 1999 and 2002, Prince Andrew had sexual relations with a then teenage girl at the behest of his friend at the time Jeffrey Epstein. Epstein is a convicted sex offender who ran his own sex slave operation for many years in order to befriend, and also to blackmail, potential clients ranging from the political world to Hollywood.

While these are just allegations at this stage, they’ve caused quite a stir among the British public. The cozy nature and closeness of big business and politics, the Royal Family and powerful media institutions, is hardly anything we don’t already know about, more like standard modus operandi. But the details of how these powerful people operate, their treatment of human beings as objectified commodities based on nothing more than their obscene wealth, inherited or otherwise, throws things into sharp focus.

When we think about some of the daily struggles being faced by people at the moment, while at the same time hearing about the antics of people with wealth and position, it couldn’t be any plainer to see that there really is one rule for us and another for them.

Even if Andrew is innocent of these claims, even if the worst that he has done is to become best friends with someone like Epstein that is still in itself unbelievable. In addition, lawyers have also asked the US government for any legal documentation that suggests Andrew lobbied the US on Epstein’s behalf.All of the allegations so far have been denied by Buckingham Palace.

What we do know, is that the wealthy and powerful do what they please and get away with it. More and more examples are emerging which underscore just how completely removed the establishment is from the people under it.Perhaps we have reached a point where things cannot get any worse, and the truth of the lie we were sold is simply coming to the surface.

Last week and over the weekend, questions surrounding Prince Andrew have once again resurfaced, and grown louder, which have the potential to further damage the reputation of the British establishment. The claims being made about Andrew, have hit the headlines in the wake of a widespread and on-going police investigation into child abuse networks in Westminster, with suggestions of a cover up orchestrated right from the top.

While the furor surrounding Andrew is not connected to the Westminster scandal, when stepping back and looking at things, it certainly adds to the increasingly tarnished perception of Britain's elite.

Claims are being made by Virginia Roberts in the United States, part of an earlier civil claim against Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted sex offender who notoriously abused many girls dating back many years, and who was a once bosom buddy of Andrew. In legal documents revealed to a Florida court recently, Roberts said she had had sex with the prince no less than three times when she was still 17-a minor under US law.

Roberts, who is one of many women who claim they were abused by Epstein as young girls, had previously hinted that Epstein had routinely told her to satisfy his wealthy business associates, allegedly including Elizabeth's 'favorite' son, Andrew.

Buckingham Palace has emphatically denied the claims, while trying to present Andrew as merely naive, the victim of bad judgment, the reveler who just needs to choose his company a little better, an unwitting victim of circumstance carrying out his royal duties, who is simply prone to making Royal blunders - a bit like his dad Prince Philip.

AFP Photo / Adrian Dennis

To be fair, there is currently no evidence to suggest that the claims being made against the Prince are true. There's just lots (and lots) of embarrassing circumstantial evidence that raises many questions - where no answers seem to be given.

The picture for example, which has now gone viral, shows Andrew with his arm around Roberts' waist, while the famed Madame Ghislaine Maxwell, Robert Maxwell's daughter looking wistfully on.Andrew too, is grinning like a Cheshire cat. Now, don't get me wrong, the picture might be entirely innocent, and Andrew may just be one of those friendly, down to earth hands-on types.But it looks at very distasteful.

The very best case scenario one would imagine is the one being offered by the taxpayer heated Buckingham Palace press office: Andrew is a victim of circumstance and a bad judge of character.

Sure. After all, how was he to know the kind of man Epstein was?It’s not like Epstein is an international financier, with contacts and friends ranging from the world of international politics, all the way to Hollywood with a reputation for having a penchant for young girls…oh wait a minute.

It’s interesting isn't it?This track record of keeping bad company seems to be a permanent ailment and embarrassment for the British head of state, Queen Elizabeth. There's Elizabeth, trying her best to safeguard the well-being of the common folk and the downtrodden, while her selfish sons Charles and Andrew insist on forming relationships and friendships with people like Jimmy Savile and Jeffrey Epstein.

It must make the day to day hardships faced by the Queen that much harder to endure.

The 'royal' and legal response to the hot water Andrew now finds himself is nonetheless predictable.They say that the allegation against Andrew is a yarn being spun, the claims are old and are lies, and the so-called victims are just after money. Undoubtedly at times, one must admit (drum roll) there probably are people who come forward with lies aimed at powerful people.

Is this one of those instances?Who is the victim here? Andrew, a wealthy prince with power and influence?Is he the victim of people who just want his money, part of a witch-hunt against him?Or the woman who was treated like an object, and abused by wealthy men?Even if Andrew's crime is the company he keeps, that fact by itself speaks volumes. One only has to Google Andrew's name to gain a sense of how he likes to spend his time.

But given that clearly these revelations are likely just the beginning, at what point do we start to take a step back and see that the entire culture of the British establishment is rotten to the core?When do we start to admit it to ourselves?If there is any merit to any of the claims being made, when do we start to entertain the possibility, that all of these allegations of sordid corruption and abuse, whatever the degree of truth to them, point to a sobering reality?

In some ways these sensational headlines, can have the effect of shifting our focus from other important issues. Britain is facing draconian public service cuts being implemented by the absolute pinnacle of privilege, a rich white man's club.

The impact of these cuts will continue to reverberate around the country.The trend of austerity measures is seen now throughout Europe, with differing levels of resistance, from SYRIZA in Greece, to plain old dead-end neo liberal submission in the UK, with no viable united labor movement organized.There needs to be one.

I know many people believe that with the huge sensationalist scandals like the ones currently breaking, like the Westminster pedophile rings, and now with the royal family, we risk becoming distracted from other important work.

But I think we need to hit a balance.Firstly, we owe it to the victims to keep up the pressure, and to see these investigations and cases through to the end.Those still alive who have suffered deserve justice, and to be able to heal and move on with their lives.

Those guilty of abuse, whoever they are, need to face justice and be treated like everyone else, no matter how much money they have, how powerful their friends are, or because they occupy a powerful position.We need to create a political culture where this cannot happen anymore.

Facing up to the raw reality, is a step in this process.Part of the reason the British establishment is so divorced from the struggles of ordinary people, is because many, on whatever level, have accepted things as they are. They see the establishment as a symbolic necessity, an integral part of the British identity.

Meanwhile, the establishment treats the people as expendable, abusing them, spitting them out, and when even one of their own does not play ball, will spit them out.

While the world is still absorbing the headlines from last week, Prince Andrew has been busy spending millions on a new retreat with his ex-wife.

That gives us some perspective.The government meanwhile is continuing with its policies, while the immigration myths and talking points about 'scroungers' are repeated by those who are probably the same ones who say “God save the Queen.”

There definitely is a group of people who are milking this country for all its worth, not doing their fair share, who get given more than the rest of us, and who never seem to face justice whatever the crime.It’s called the British establishment and it needs cleaning out.

Let's hope this year is the year in which more light appears through the cracks and powerful abusers, war criminals, and all the rest finally face the music.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.