A Real Jubilee


Here’s William Morris
In Eighteen eighty-seven
On a royal Jubilee:

“Hideous, revolting,
And vulgar tomfoolery.
One’s indignation
Swells pretty much
To the bursting point.”

Morris was speaking
Of Queen Victoria’s.

Queen Elizabeth’s
Diamond Jubilee
Is just the same.

It celebrates a rich family
With diamond tiaras,
Which they call their “haloes”,
A family whose hereditary wealth
Is still cravenly accepted.


Long, long ago
Instead of blood diamonds
A Jubilee meant something:
The biblical kings
Held a Jubilee
Every fifty years, when kings
Would cancel people’s debts;
Free the palace slaves;
Open up the prisons;
End all pointless work –
They’d announce that land
Should lie fallow for seven years,
To renew itself –
And all land which was enclosed
Was to be held in common
(It’s in the book of Isaiah*).

These first Jubilees
Were social revolutions;
Their jubilations
Celebrated real change
Since those who’d exploited people
Over these fifty years
Were chased out of town
So that their liberated victims
Might then start afresh.

The first Jubilees
Weren’t expensive cults
Of personality
At which a showbiz torch singer
Serenaded a diamond collecting
Racehorse-breeding head of state
With ‘Diamonds are forever.’
They were about economic Justice.

They were hopeful visions:
The poor were fed; things were shared.
Instead of which the Jubilee
Has been degraded into a pageant
For someone who’s acquired
More diamonds than anyone in history.

It revives deference,
The worship of inherited wealth
And class division –
Supported by the beneficiaries
Of economic warfare
Who pay homage to monarchy
With toadying flattery.

An ennobled Beatle
Simpers,  ‘Her Majesty
Is a very nice girl
And one day
I’m going to make her mine.”

More accurately
Sir Paul’s song should run,
“Her Majesty’s a very cunning girl
Who’s made this country hers.”

At a service of thanksgiving
For her sixty years as Queen
Her pet priests thank God
For having kept eighty million people
In servitude to a cipher.

The first Jubilees
Were revolutionary
Not reactionary.


Heathcote Williams

With thanks to Ciaran Walsh

Graphics: Elena Caldera 


*Isaiah, 5:8 and 61:1-2
























[1] Isaiah, 5:8 and 61:1-2


By Heathcote Williams

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3 Responses to A Real Jubilee

    1. Its so fiasco for such a glamorous occasion for the very few elitist they entertain the people blinding them with there dazzling occasion and mesmerizing them submitting them to there servitude to these overlords, yet growing resentment for lower classes and poor in ghettos and streets have less resources to survive!

      Comment by Brent Schuster on 7 June, 2012 at 9:43 pm
    2. ‘We who are as good as you, swear to you, who are no better than us, to accept you as our Sovereign Lord, provided you observe all our statutes and laws. If not, not.

      (Scottish declaration of Abroath. 1320)

      Comment by Dave Tomlin on 9 June, 2012 at 1:17 pm
    3. let the poor eat cake & the rich will eat the poor..easy

      Comment by JoHnny de-Lux on 31 August, 2012 at 8:07 pm

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