As the UK gears up to celebrates the Diamond Jubilee, amid street parties, parades and flotillas, it is timely to take a closer look at one of the less edifying aspects of the royal family - the links between royalty, the military and the arms industry.
The UK government makes a great deal of its support for the democratic awakening of the Arab Spring, yet continues to support repressive regimes through arms sales and trade missions. By April 2011 the UK government had officially revoked over 160 military licences (i.e. for arms and weaponry) to Bahrain, Egypt and Libya. This gesture neatly hid the fact that many licences remained in place. Some of the revoked licences were for weaponry with such repressive potential - such as sniper rifles, tear gas and crowd control ammunition - that MPs questioned why such licences had been granted in the first place.