Legalizing weed and removing the Queen? Sounds like a fair trade for Jamaica!

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.
© Ranu Abhelakh
More and more, the question of what the UK state looks like, and the role it plays in the world, is increasingly being brought into sharp focus and for a number of reasons.

As the power of the US, the UK and its allies diminishes globally after many years of failed policy abroad, new economies are emerging, changing the playing field of what global power looks like. People, including Westerners and Europeans, are realizing that neoliberal economics and the financial bailouts of 2008 were simply a con.

Now, along with this political climate, Jamaica -  once a colony of the British Empire - is drafting a series of political changes, including legalizing marijuana and effectively getting rid of the Queen as head of state. Many people would welcome such a sensible shift in priorities, and the changes put forward have also suggested fixed terms for the prime minister.

As head of the commonwealth, the Queen is in fact an unelected head of state, albeit with a great deal of power. Indeed, many people argue that the role of the Queen and Royal family is largely symbolic. However, it’s clear from living in Britain that the Royal family are simply an elaborate marketing tool used to add perceived legitimacy to a corrupted UK government which looks after the most well off, while also acting as a recruitment tool, conning large sections of the working class to join the armed forces.

Many people feel we ought to do away with royal families. After all, in 2016, such a concept makes about as much sense as having a group of wizards, a fairy, a dragon, or maybe even a unicorn as head of state. Nothing personal, but Kings and Queens sound like something from fairy tales, relics of a long gone age, whose only place is in Disney Films.

The British Royal family is the absolute symptom of hereditary power, class, and great wealth, and makes their perceived standing and the unquestioning respect they receive all the more bizarre. Ironically, it’s often the communities most held back by such a system who sadly worship that system the most.

It’s a welcome piece of news then, to hear that Jamaica is considering cutting ties with the Queen. Perhaps the British people might then follow suit.
Given the colonial history of the Caribbean, the move by Jamaica would make sense. But perhaps our hapless prime minister, possibly the most embarrassing of all time all things considered, helped prompt this potential shift in direction from Jamaica.

On his visit to Jamaica last year, Cameron snubbed the people and suggested that Jamaicans ought to ‘move on’ from Britain’s colonial role and the legacy of slavery. Quite apart from the fact that Britain has never fully accounted or faced up to its murderous legacy in the Caribbean, the question of reparations is also a legitimate one, especially seeing as the UK still benefits commercially from the island of Jamaica which it once controlled.

Needless to say, Cameron, like those before him, doesn’t take this history seriously, nor does he accept the responsibility Britain has in reimbursing Jamaica financially for crimes committed against it. And why would Cameron? After all, his family after all benefited considerably from the slave trade.

Britain should rethink its role in the world, because other nations and countries clearly are evaluating the role of Britain in the world. Our government, just like the United States, still considers itself the world’s policeman and this must change.

When we consider Britain’s ongoing position and claim to lands which clearly do not belong to Britain, it’s evident that we have a long way to go.
The dispute over the Falklands’ is case in point. These islands quite obviously are part of Argentina, and yet Britain still behaves as though we are in the days of the empire, asserting its divine right to cling to territories it had no right to take in the first place.

This psychology runs very deep both in the minds of the colonizers and in the minds of the colonized. It’s not certain yet whether Jamaica will follow through with the proposed constitutional changes. However, should things progress, it would be a landmark move that would likely have further ramifications elsewhere.

Once again, it seems as though the last people in the world to sever the poisonous relationship with the Royal family may be the British people themselves. Jamaica however, leading the charge would be a bold and inspiring step given the history. Jamaica has already given the world so much, but it would really be something if the Caribbean island were to take this step, sending out a clear message to the world.

Cameron snubbed the Jamaican people last October, but he can’t have his cake and eat it. I hope the Jamaicans respond to Dave’s snubbing by permanently cutting ties with a Royal family and British government, which has only ever exploited them.

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