Prince Charles is “damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t” – he is caught in the crossfire between the likes of Simon Singh, a campaigner for evidence-based medicine, who said this week: “For him (Prince Charles) this (complementary medicine topic) is ideological and he is on the wrong side of science. I think ministers should be listening to medical researchers, not to someone just because their mother happens to be Queen” (my guess is that Mr. Singh is anti-Royal, period!) and, on the other side, those who say that he leads a charmed life and should contribute something to society.
Prince Charles is one of the most knowledgeable, highly educated people in Britain (for that matter, in the world). Clarence House issued a statement in response to the hornet’s nest which has been stirred by publication of the Prince’s private letters to Government Ministers:
“Over the past 40 years in his role as heir to the throne, the Prince of Wales has visited countless places and met numerous people from every walk of life. This gives him a unique perspective, which has often led to him identifying issues which he believes he, or his charities, or his other connections, can help address.”
That Clarence House statement is a mild defence of the Prince. The Prince, in relation to the many issues which concern him, matters relating to his sense of British patriotism, to the British People, and those in The Commonwealth, to people beyond those confines and to the environment, he has read extremely widely, he has consulted with, and knows personally, the most knowledgeable academics and professionals from all over the world, all of which has given him an unparalleled insight. Simon Singh, suggesting that Prince Charles should keep his mouth shut, is so ‘short-sighted’. If, as I assume, he is anti-the Monarchy, he is letting his principles cloud his judgement. I wonder (well, I don’t) if Mr. Singh would be taking this position if the Prince was on the side of the anti-complementary medicine crowd.
I’d rather listen to Prince Charles than the self-serving, voter-focused, insincere, nest-feathering garbage which many politicians spew out every day!
I have picked, from BBC News (today) some of the subjects on which the Prince has corresponded with Government Ministers in the past:
The controversial culling of badgers to stop TB spreading to cows was strongly supported by the prince. In a letter to Tony Blair he wrote: “I do urge you to look again at introducing a proper cull of badgers where it is necessary. I, for one, cannot understand how the ‘badger lobby’ seem to mind not at all about the slaughter of thousands of expensive cattle, and yet object to a managed cull of an over-population of badgers – to me, this is intellectually dishonest.”
The dominant position of the big supermarkets in the UK and the negative effect on prices for farmers was a matter of concern to Charles. In a letter to Tony Blair he wrote: “There is no doubt that the dominant position of the retailers is the single biggest issue affecting British farmers and the food chain, and if it is not dealt with all the other good work which has been going on risks becoming virtually useless.”
The issue of Lynx helicopters performing poorly in high temperatures was brought up with then Prime Minister Tony Blair. The prince suggested the slow speed with which they were being replaced arose out of pressure on the defence budget. “I fear that this is just one more example of where our Armed Forces are being asked to do an extremely challenging job (particularly in Iraq) without the necessary resources.”
The prince was praised in some quarters, particularly the military. Field Marshal Lord Guthrie, who stepped down as head of the armed forces in 2001, said: “I rather admire him for it (speaking out on matters relating to ‘defence’). It is all our duty to help when people are putting their lives on the line.” (The Times, 14 May 2015).
However, Paul Flynn, a Labour MP, said: “Prince Charles is Britain’s most powerful, most influential lobbyist. As heir to the throne, he’s imperilling the future of the institution. The head of state must be impartial and he’s betrayed that principle.” (The Times, 14 May 2015).
I just don’t get it! Besides, Prince Charles is NOT a lobbyist! Lobbyists make a living from haranguing Ministers, they will ‘push’ an interest for money and they will ‘push’ an opposing interest for money…which side they take is wholly dependent on the amount of money they are offered and which ‘job’ is most likely to earn them the money. Prince Charles’ correspondence with Ministers is not financially motivated!
The above are examples of matters of extreme importance, Prince Charles wasn’t just ‘mouthing off’, he was/is extremely knowledgeable and well-informed and all he was doing was expressing a view – his word does not automatically become law!
The prince won other notable policy victories during the eight months for which letters have been disclosed. He had written to the head of English Heritage asking to save Smithfield Market in London from being partly cleared to make way for an office development. Out of the blue, Tessa Jowell wrote to the prince to say that she had agreed to “list” a key building, preventing its demolition (The Times 14 May 2015). FANTASTIC!
In my humble opinion, to ignore the Prince is madness. He has SO much to offer, he genuinely cares, he is extremely knowledgeable and insightful and we can all benefit if we listen to him.