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  #61  
Old 10-16-2012, 10:43 AM
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AG blocks release of letters

Attorney General blocks release of Prince Charles letters to avoid 'serious damage' to his future as king - Telegraph
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  #62  
Old 10-16-2012, 10:48 AM
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Like HM, I think the Prince of Wales can and should have frank and private discussions with Gov ministers in confidence. It doesn't mean he is interfering with policy.
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  #63  
Old 10-16-2012, 11:01 AM
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Well, if he were king when the letters were written, it WOULD be an issue. Written as PoW, I can't see a problem with his personal position on ugly buildings or other matters. His family pays the Inland Revenue. Really, if a royal family is not what the people want, hold a referendum and cut the
c--p re: the royals. This is just something that hit the papers because nothing is going on with W&K.
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  #64  
Old 10-16-2012, 04:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KittyAtlanta
Well, if he were king when the letters were written, it WOULD be an issue. Written as PoW, I can't see a problem with his personal position on ugly buildings or other matters. His family pays the Inland Revenue. Really, if a royal family is not what the people want, hold a referendum and cut the
c--p re: the royals. This is just something that hit the papers because nothing is going on with W&K.
No one knows what is in the letters .... Wether it's ugly buildings or not. I'm sure his generation like to write letters and enquire about and keep in touch with the people running the country he will one day be king of ... Agree big fuss about nothing ,
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  #65  
Old 10-16-2012, 04:56 PM
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The usual suspects will whine and complain but that's it. The public understand Charles' role and he is as popular as he has ever been. The lefties over at the Guardian initiated all of this so that tells you all you need to know about the merits of the case.
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  #66  
Old 10-16-2012, 07:53 PM
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The Prince of Wales is a highly opinionated man who has a tendency to complain about the state of things. I suspect that the letters might have been highly critical of government policy and might reveal more about his opinions than HRH intended when he wrote them. Perhaps there were statements in them which would be unpopular with many people.
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  #67  
Old 10-16-2012, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Mermaid1962 View Post
The Prince of Wales is a highly opinionated man who has a tendency to complain about the state of things. I suspect that the letters might have been highly critical of government policy and might reveal more about his opinions than HRH intended when he wrote them. Perhaps there were statements in them which would be unpopular with many people.
I agree, he can be a bit black and white though I think he means well, always. I think it must be hard to know that though they have told you from the time you were a wee child that you would be king, but that when you are, your role is to guide, question, advise, moderate, etc. but not ever to dictate.

Oh wait, that's the same thing excellent managers do!
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  #68  
Old 10-17-2012, 12:18 PM
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Audio Interview with Mary MacLeod MP, former adviser to the Queen and Royal Household-
Charles's letters 'should be kept private':
BBC News - Charles's letters 'should be kept private'
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  #69  
Old 10-17-2012, 04:11 PM
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To me this is a bit like 'retrospective legislation' - how can you be found guilty of a crime that wasn't a crime when you did the deed?

Charles wrote the letters believing they would be private and so expressed himself, possibly/probably, more forcefully than he would have done had he known they would be made public within a certain time-frame.

These ones should remain private for that reason alone but...any future ones should be made public at the end of each government's term of office - and not only Charles' but all communication between the government and any other person.
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  #70  
Old 10-17-2012, 04:46 PM
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All of this is coming from the Guardian with their FOI requests. As recent polls have shown, despite the Guardian's decades-long campaign against the Monarchy, the institution is just as popular with the British people as it was 60 years ago. The Guardian (and the Independent) have failed totally in convincing the public to their POV and, as the reaction to the royal wedding last year and Jubilee this year have shown, there is no chance of their getting their republic any time soon.

This is why the Guardian is going down this route. It's why they're also going after the Duchy of Cornwall and all the historic rights and privileges that go with it (even though Charles has chosen not to avail of any of the privileges that most insult the left).

We're seeing the downside of the FOI Act in all this. Politicians, civil servants etc. are so petrified of FOI requests that a lot of official business is now being done via conversations, personal email and personal mobile phones to try and avoid it. We don't want to get to a stage where the PoW is too scared to write to ministers, and vice versa, because it might become public at some stage and be a bit uncomfortable. No one wins in that situation.
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  #71  
Old 10-17-2012, 04:50 PM
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Point well made Iluvbertie, and I am in total agreement. Making laws retrospective smacks of political rather than public interest. I really like your idea of making all correspondence public at the end of a term.

For me, the problem in publishing the letters lies in the letter's being made public out of context as most situations will have resolved, be under discussion or have died a natural death, for which the Republicans will naturally blame Charles.

A think the AG made a very wise decision.
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  #72  
Old 10-17-2012, 05:40 PM
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As always EIIR, your comment speaks for so many, myself especially.
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  #73  
Old 10-18-2012, 05:08 AM
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Interesting article by Jack Straw, former Cabinet Minister, in The Telegrapah today. See weblink below for full articule

*********************
The Prince of Wales must be free to give his opinions

Any minister will tell you that the confidence of the Crown is vital for the system to work

Jack Straw
7:47PM BST 17 Oct 2012
176 Comments

I’m mighty pleased that the Prince of Wales has opinions. If he hadn’t, my Blackburn constituency would be a less prosperous place. In June 1988, the Prince came to my area to launch the country’s second “whole town” partnership between the local business community and the local authorities. Relations between the two hadn’t been bad, but they were not close either. With the Business in the Community organisation, of which he was the leading patron, the two sides began to work constructively together, to the point where, today, there are no longer sides. The Prince’s visit marked the point where the area began to recover from the job losses of the early Eighties, as most remaining textile mills closed down. His work with the Prince’s Trust has also helped to transform the lives of many young people in my area, as it has across the nation.

If the Prince had had no opinions, I doubt if he’d have had the motivation to devote the time and effort which he has to these and many other innovative projects. He has also stuck his neck out to celebrate the religion of Islam. He didn’t have to do that, either, but it’s been of great importance to British citizens of the Muslim faith that the heir to the throne is speaking up for them.



http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/prince-charles/9615128/The-Prince-of-Wales-must-be-free-to-give-his-opinions.html
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  #74  
Old 10-18-2012, 02:31 PM
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I know I will be in the minority, but I have a different point of view.

I do think the Sovereign’s role is to advise and warn his/her ministers, but it is a power that should be used wisely, subtly and without passion. The aim, for me, is to help and guide the Prime minister, by being his/her confident, by asking the questions that will make him/her reflect again on something or see things from another perspective, by making sure he/she has seen all the possible consequences of his/her decisions, by adding some useful information on what his/her predecessors may have done in similar circumstances, etc.

It is an important role and one of the advantages a constitutional monarchy may have over an elected presidency : someone unelected, above the political parties, not courting any votes, but who commands respect from the most powerful politician in the land, is able to gain his/her trust and keep him/her on his toes and on tracks, and who doesn’t pursue any personal interests, other than the well-being of the country and its people.

But it has to be done right.

The Sovereign’s role should never be to express strong views on something and try to impose them to ministers, unless the integrity of the state or individual rights are at risk. If a Prime minister and a Monarch disagree on a public policy and if implementing that policy is legal and not threatening the state by any rate, then I’m afraid, in my view, the Prime minister is always the one who will be “right”, and for one reason only : he/she would be the only one that has been elected, for good and for bad, by the people ; and in a democracy, the vote and the rule of the majority are the only way we have found to decide who is “right” and who is “wrong”.

To me, Prince Charles is acting as a lobbyist, not as a future King. His letters aren’t meant to help the government, but to push his own ideas. Some people may support his causes, but others don’t. He should be able to discuss with ministers and even advise or warn them, but he doesn’t seem to be doing it with restraint and with the respect an elected government is entitled to. You know he has gone too far when a Prime minister has to complain.

I don’t think either that his success as Prince of Wales as anything to do with him complaining strongly and at lengh to ministers. He has done a lot of very good things – the Prince’s Trust, his charities –, more so than any other Prince of Wales in British history, and is rightly acknowledged and thanked for that. By contrast, his “meddling” has only attracted him bad publicity; so it wasn’t necessary.

Prince Charles isn’t King yet, but he isn’t an ordinary person either. His position gives him access to ministers and very important people, an access only a few people could dream of, but with this privilege “by birth” may come responsibility : he should only use it with parsimony and with care. He is going to reign over millions of people: they won’t all share his views and may choose a government he won’t like, but he will have to represent them all none the less and to act “on the advice of his Prime minister”.

I still believe he can turn out to be a very good King and that’s why I would like him to be more careful and avoid putting himself in controversies that threaten the fragile equilibrium a constitutional monarchy is in modern times.
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  #75  
Old 10-19-2012, 02:47 AM
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Alpa - as the letters haven't been made public can you explain how you know
Quote:
His letters aren’t meant to help the government, but to push his own ideas.
To me the only way you would know that is if you were one of the Labor Party politicians who received one.
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  #76  
Old 10-19-2012, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Iluvbertie View Post
Alpa - as the letters haven't been made public can you explain how you know

To me the only way you would know that is if you were one of the Labor Party politicians who received one.
I am not, but Labour politicians (Tony Blair included) did complain about Prince Charles's correspondence, which means they didn't find that very helpful. Concrete examples are listed in this article from the Guardian : Princely opinions: Charles has his say about the running of Britain | UK news | The Guardian or this one from the Daily Telegraph : Why the Prince of Wales cannot stop being an 'interfering busybody' - Telegraph

As for the letters whose publication has been blocked, the Attorney General's statement says it all : "Much of the correspondence does indeed reflect the Prince of Wales's most deeply held personal views and beliefs. The letters in this case are in many cases particularly frank. They also contain remarks about public affairs which would in my view, if revealed, have had a material effect upon the willingness of the government to engage in correspondence with the Prince of Wales, and would potentially have undermined his position of political neutrality."
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  #77  
Old 10-19-2012, 04:50 PM
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So like me you don't know what the letters are about but prefer to believe the negative than the positive. Me - I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt - being raised in a home with a lawyer I suppose.

I also like to give the full story - and Tony Blair has come out very publicly personally in support of Charles and his right to be in contact with the government of the day.

Tony Blair defends 'helpful' Prince Charles after diary reveals tensions | Politics | The Guardian

He writes: "A prime minister may sound off from time to time, especially when sensitive discussions with members of the royal family leak into the papers, in the middle of some high-profile issue.
"However, I want to make it clear that I always found my discussions and correspondence with Prince Charles immensely helpful. I thought he had a perfect right to raise questions and did so in a way that was both informative and insightful. So I welcomed his contributions, and have no doubt he will continue to raise issues with the new government as he is entitled and indeed it is his job to do, and that they will also find it helpful."


Tony Blair's own words. 'immensely helpful' 'perfect right to raise questions' 'informative and insightful' 'welcomed his contributions' 'entitled to and indeed it is his job to do so'
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  #78  
Old 10-19-2012, 06:35 PM
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I didn’t know this, thanks for posting it.

I am glad Tony Blair finds Prince Charles helpful most of the time and agrees on the idea than the sovereign’s role includes advising and warning ministers, but I am still puzzled that the same man also confirmed having complained about Prince Charles on occasions and even once found him “silly”.

I think what we can agree on is that some ministers have welcomed Prince Charles’s input, whereas others have definitely not ; some have called it helpful advising, whereas others have complained about obtrusive lobbying. And yes, I totally agree with you when you say that I focus on the negative side : I do, because I think this is the kind of controversy that could really threaten the monarchy. No one would complain if a monarch isn’t really bright and insightful, but there will be an outcry if he/she was found to try to oppose an elected government and impose his/her own ideas.

I recognize Prince Charles, as a future monarch, has the right to advise ministers, but I just wish he could use it much more carefully in order to avoid accusations of lobbying.
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  #79  
Old 10-21-2012, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Alpa View Post
I am not, but Labour politicians (Tony Blair included) did complain about Prince Charles's correspondence, which means they didn't find that very helpful. Concrete examples are listed in this article from the Guardian : Princely opinions: Charles has his say about the running of Britain | UK news | The Guardian or this one from the Daily Telegraph : Why the Prince of Wales cannot stop being an 'interfering busybody' - Telegraph

As for the letters whose publication has been blocked, the Attorney General's statement says it all : "Much of the correspondence does indeed reflect the Prince of Wales's most deeply held personal views and beliefs. The letters in this case are in many cases particularly frank. They also contain remarks about public affairs which would in my view, if revealed, have had a material effect upon the willingness of the government to engage in correspondence with the Prince of Wales, and would potentially have undermined his position of political neutrality."
Yes one of the views that Tony Blair complained about was the Prince's advice against relying on a mass cull of cattle and sheep to deal with the Foot & Mouth disease in 2001 & his support of a vaccination campaign instead. When the independent report on the British handling of the Foot & Mouth outbreak was published several years later by the European Union it came down in favour of a vaccination campaign and greatly criticised the Blair govt for its insistence on culling. Significantly perhaps the European Union report is not mentioned in the Guardian's list of Charles's 'interference'. If Blair had listened to Charles instead of being manipulated by his spin-doctor Alistair Campbell into referring to him as 'silly' tens of millions of animals would not have been needlessly killed & millions of £s of taxpayers money would not have been wasted on the consequent compensation to farmers. Incidentally Alistair Campbell's published diaries make it clear that his despisement of Charles was partly due to his having the 'hots' for Princess Diana, a fact that she would most certainly have been aware of and done her utmost to encourage.
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Old 10-21-2012, 03:48 PM
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It's clear that ministers have defied Prince Charles with regards to some of the issues he cares about. Although they take his opinions into account, as is only right given that he's going to be sovereign in the relatively short term, they clearly are not afraid to take decisions that wouldn't be to Charles's taste.

It's also apparent that Charles isn't writing to ministers in the service of his own personal circumstances. He's not writing to ask for more funding or for his own helicopter etc. He's writing about the Human Rights Act, health and safety, the compensation culture, the farming community etc. - all issues that are of great concern to the British people. He spends his life meeting people who tell him what's worrying them, their challenges and difficulties, in the expectation that he will do something to try and help. If Charles were to choose not to do so, to save some potential discomfort with sections of the media, then the nation would be worse off.

The Queen warns, consults and encourages her ministers in her weekly meetings with them. It is settled convention that the contents of those meetings remain confidential. If this is the situation vis-a-vis the monarch, then it makes complete sense for the same to apply to the heir to the throne.
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