Monday, January 28, 2008

Prince Charles wont go to Beijing

The Daily Telegraph reports that Prince Charles is refusing to attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, this wouldn't be important really except in two respects:
Firstly, if Charles was in the capacity of a private citizen, then good for him. There are good reasons to boycott the Beijing Olympics, notwithstanding the low value that the Chinese communist regime places on human life and ever lower value on freedom. Supporting independence of Tibet is less of a reason, as an independent Tibet per se may not mean a great improvement in freedom there. Nevertheless, the Chinese record is abysmal enough to support independence for Tibet. I don't object to the sentiment or boycotting the games that the vile Communist Party of China and the state it controls will use to paint a rosy picture of how wonderful China is - ignoring how it treats those who disagree, or get in its way.
However, the issue is moreso one of the role of a future constitutional monarch, which, notwithstanding accident, Charles will become. The truth is the man is completely unfit for the job. He has laid his cards on the table politically, which, regardless of what views they hold, is utterly contemptible. One can always guess the views of Queen Elizabeth II on politics, she has probably been more comfortable under Conservative administrations than Labour, although Thatcher probably was too liberal and radical for her liking. However, these are matters of hearsay and conjecture, entirely. Not once has the Queen ever expressed a political view of her own. Nor should she. Whatever her views, and she obviously has them, and is entitled to have them, they do not tarnish her role. Charles on the other hand appears to be some sort of muddled up centre-left econut who sympathises with numerous religions.
He supports numerous charities, which is, in itself, hardly a problem. Patronage of charities, that do not have a strongly political agenda, are just part of the role. However, he has created several foundations to advance his personal agenda, such as "The Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment" to advance his views on architecture and "The Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health" to advance his advocacy of unconventional medicine. He has championed climate change and is seen as supporting the likes of Al Gore, hardly an uncontroversial figure. His support for organic farming is well known as well. The big question is when does he cross the line between pursuing personal interests and pursuing political agendas.
What happens if a government was ever elected that was negative towards support of organic farming or alternative medicines? What if one was skeptical about man-made climate change? How about one that maintains friendly relations with the People's Republic of China?
The decision about whether or not he goes to the Beijing Olympics should be a matter not only of himself, but of the Queen and Cabinet. Clearly, refusing to go will send a negative message, unless it is for non-political reasons.
Of course the real solution is simply to let the constitutional monarchy expire when Elizabeth II does. It is time to move on, for the British royal family to be left with whatever assets they hold to manage or mismanage as they see fit, without a single pound of taxpayer's funds. They would remain some sort of tourist attraction no doubt, with pomp and ceremony, but that would be all. Who would be the head of state then? Well that is another matter - but you could do worse than having a written constitution, with a democratically elected President essentially ensuring that the government of the day does not breach its constitutional role.
Meanwhile Charles should pull his head in - he must be apolitical - his inherited privilege and influence are such that he is not entitled to anything more.



Fair comment there Liberty Scott.
Now will you be watching The palce tonight.
Oh what fun that is.
Anyway, I'm trying to arrange a bloggers drinks in London next week sometime, probably tue/wed.
Can you come?
It would be great if you could and who else might attend?


Libertyscott said...

Damn sorry I've been flat out busy. I could do probably Wednesday, but it is very work dependent (often travelling at very short notice). Haven't met any other bloggers in London yet tbh.