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  #1  
Old 12-07-2006, 09:10 PM
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Prince Charles being political?

I remember Jeremy Paxman in his "on Royalty", commenting that Prince Charles is very much political except that he is not foolish to say it directly. What do you think?
Personally I think it is part of Prince Charles' life. If he wants to achieve something in his life, he has to bear the risk of controversies which now covers in political mudding. It must be very difficut because he cannot just sit and wait everything happen. He does have a very strong sense of duty or social conscience to use his position to do things to help which may be condemned by others.
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Old 12-10-2006, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by love_cc
I remember Jeremy Paxman in his "on Royalty", commenting that Prince Charles is very much political except that he is not foolish to say it directly. What do you think?
Personally I think it is part of Prince Charles' life. If he wants to achieve something in his life, he has to bear the risk of controversies which now covers in political mudding. It must be very difficut because he cannot just sit and wait everything happen. He does have a very strong sense of duty or social conscience to use his position to do things to help which may be condemned by others.
I share your views.

He can't be party political, but I think he is definitely political in the sense that he has opinions about certain issues which tend to be treated as "political" and which different political parties have different attitudes to. He is a deep thinker and is strongly and actively committed to certain strategies to change how society deals with certain issues, like the environment and youth unemployment and town planning. Because of the stand he takes on these issues he may be regarded as being sympathetic to the party that has similar policies to his views, so he risks controversy.

Though being "king in waiting" for so many years is a very difficult job, it also provides a unique opportunity to achieve statesmanlike things of a "political" nature, on a national as well as international level, that as monarch he certainly would not be able to do.

I think he should do what he can, while he can.
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Old 12-10-2006, 08:56 PM
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Well this is my honest and slightly lengthy opinion;

At the moment, Britain is in a bit of a quagmire politically. Everyone has opinions but nobody has the opportunity to turn those opinions into actions. Nobody - except the Prince of Wales. To understand British politics, you need to understand that Britain has only ever really had two major political parties. The Conservatives and The Labour Party.

The Conservatives were always traditionally right-wing. They believed in privatising everything and they believed that society had a very natural structure and that the poor should be cared for by the rich and that the rich should hold high office with the major power being with the Monarch and the House of Lords. This came to form what we know as "The Establishment". The Monarch, Parliament, The Church, The Armed Forces formed the Establishment and the Conservatives always believed that to govern effectively you needed an indestructable establishment. Patriotism, nationalism and very right-wing policies were embraced for years and people believed that to save the Empire, you needed the Conservatives who would protect it.

On the other side, you have The Labour Party which was always very left wing and believed in socialism, equality and the smashing of the establishment. A secular Britain without a monarchy was always their view. The House of Lords was to be scrapped and everything nationalised. It was slightly communistic in many ways. Their party was formed of elected members and leaders whilst the Conservatives had their leaders chosen by the King or Queen.

Now, for many years we had the Conservative Party privatising before being ousted and replaced by the Labour Party which nationalised. When you voted for Labour or the Conservatives, you were voting for the Left or the Right respectively. In the 1980s, Britain had a huge swing to the far right - not quite Nazism but it was quite far right and it held Britain for 11 years. Whatever goes up must come down and so when Margaret Thatcher left office, the Conservatives self-imploded because they couldn't decide whether to follow the very right-wing Thatcherite policies or take the party to the centre. The Labour Party on the other hand had realised that the British people didn't want left-wing politics and so they became New Labour under Tony Blair and became a centre-left party - in other words, more Conservative which lost them alot of core support.

The Conservatives had in-fighting all over the shop and so they lost the election in 1997. Since that time, Tony Blair has taken the Labour Party furthur to the right and many see alot of his policies as Thatcherite. After a series of leaders, the Conservatives have now taken their party to the centre. So what we now have is two centre parties. And thats caused problems. When everyone is saying the same thing, they have to resort to party politics which everyone sees as a waste of time, money and trust. Therefore, you see the rise of small extremist parties like Respect and the British National Party (formerly The National Front) and people vote for them a) as a protest and b) because they aren't centrist.

So in a society where the two dominant parties have little to set them apart, people need a spokesperson and the Prince of Wales has realised that. He speaks out on the issues he feels are important and he also takes action. HRH writes to the ministers, he gets to know them. He set up The Prince's Trust which gives young people grants to set up their own enterprises which the Labour Party always promised to do and never did. Charles has actually set up a very political organisation in the form of a charity and it works so in that case, his political views and contributions are very popular and he's the only Prince of Wales who has actually done that kind of thing and he does it well.

Now, the problem we have is this. Will William want to follow the precedent his father has set or will he take the role of Prince of Wales back to simply a title and a social position? Will he want to be a Charles or a David? As Roslyn rightly says, Charles has committed and has taken action on the environment, youth unemployment and town planning and he can do that because he isn't elected. He isn't the monarch and so can be a little more political but he also won't run out of time like most Governments do. Charles has had 40 years to make political statements and promises and deliver upon them whereas most Governments get a maximum of about 10 years if they're very lucky.

Charles has had to evolve and adapt the role of the Prince of Wales to a society demanding a little more of the heir to the throne and Charles has reacted to that. He also isn't a fool. He needs to be seen doing something worthwhile and he also knows that the general view is that the Monarch should start being a little more politically outspoken because of the political staleness we have in British politics. We need someone like Charles to be political - not of a party but of the establishment and IMO thats what Monarchy is all about.

The people saying he shouldn't pitch in tend to be Labour MPs - the reason being that Charles is showing them up. They try to portray him as a Chinless wonder who talks to plants - he shows himself to be extremely intelligent and trustworthy. He also acts on his promises and thats something most MPs try to do and end up failing. I think Charles has been very politically wise to do what he's done in the political arena because he's actually predicted the future.

He has seen that as the political parties find themselves replaced with younger, fresher, more extreme parties that are firmly on the left or the right, there will need to be someone who doesn't belong to a political party that can speak on behalf of the people and is important enough to make a difference. So Charles is quite vital to the future of Britain because he's political and he has built that over 40 years. MPs will listen to him, they do listen to him and so although he does risk controversy, he is political and as Paxman says, he just doesn't state it directly.

I don't think it's got much to do with being a King-in-Waiting. I'd say it was more carving a role for future Princes of Wales and actually being of some use to Britain rather than just, "the next one". I would say he should carry on doing what he does. Most sensible people who can forget his private life see and state very publicly that he's a true assett because he says what most of us think and I think that some people are finding that hard to deal with. For example, John Prescott who doesn't like the Prince of Wales very much. Well, Prescott and Charles find themselves in a similar situation.

John Prescott is Deputy Prime Minister, Charles is Prince of Wales so both are "the next ones". Charles has pursued his role as a "next one" by building something of great use to the British people without being political. Prescott has pursued his role as a "next one" by generally embarrassing Tony Blair. It's interesting to note that Prescott is a Republican and would have Charles's role abolished - but who is the better value for money? Prescott recieves more money than Charles, yet Charles is of more use to us than John Prescott and what Charles has done, maybe deliberately or maybe not, is to show us that the monarchy has to be a little political sometimes to ensure the stability of Britain and to keep Parliament in shape which is surely what the monarchy is for in a constitutional setting?

Charles is careful not to go too far and I think if he did get too far into politics a la King Constantine, he'd face his downfall. But as it stands, it's a good thing that he's political and thank God we have him.
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Old 12-10-2006, 10:53 PM
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BeatrixFan - Wow. I really enjoyed reading your post, especially as a political science major here in Canada, where the role of the crown's representative (Governor-General) is in constant debate. I completely agree with what you said about the need for Charles to be political - but not partisan. Very well said. You have my respect for this post.
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Old 12-11-2006, 05:29 AM
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I, too, enjoyed reading your post, BeatrixFan. You made some very interesting points. Only time will tell whether William will be interested in continuing the role, and of course it is likely he will not have anywhere near as long to carve out his niche.
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Old 12-11-2006, 06:32 AM
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BeatrixFan, great post.
And I agree with your opinion about prince Charles. The guy is very smart and does a lot of useful things that politicians failed to do. He also was a pioneer in being concerned about environment. Years ago some people considered him a harmless krank but now everyone agrees that environment matters. So he was ahead of his time then.
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Old 12-11-2006, 08:23 AM
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Sorry BeatrixFan, but you seem to have rewritten the political structure of the UK.

17th to mid 19th centuries it was the whigs and tories,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Whig_Party

http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/Page123.asp

During the 19th century, the political party's were Conservatives and the Liberals. The Labour party only came into existence in 1900.

While Charles has had more freedom to put his ideas into action, I don't believe that he has done so politically. He has, IMO, continued the 'charity' work, some of the aristocrats and upper classes have always done. As with anything, the way he has done this has evolved.

He has had very little, if any, impact on government policies, purely because he doesn't have the power and it would be unacceptable to government ministers and most members of the public. If he had, we would have been concerned about the environment a long time ago.

What he has had, is the drive and the money to follow through with some of his ideas, like the Princes Trust, the government is always dependent on what they can 'sell' to the people who elected them. A politician will always try to sell an idea they think people will like, Charles will make a comment on what he likes or doesn't, ie. the sorry state of architecture in the UK, without regard for popularity points.

I don't believe he is political but, he does have his own ideas on how we should, as a country, deal with different problems, just like plain old Mr Smith.
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Old 12-11-2006, 09:56 AM
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Oh yes I know that Skydragon, I was talking about since the war which I should have really pointed out. I do know that we once only had the Tories and the Liberals. Glad people enjoyed reading the post.
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Old 12-11-2006, 11:10 AM
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very informative, thanks beatrixfan
i've often thought what a horrible position- to be waiting for your mother to die before you can do your job. it must be a tightrope to stay above "politics" and yet try to make a difference in peoples lives.
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Old 12-11-2006, 04:51 PM
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Yes, i think Charles is a political person.
It does not mean that he is a supporter of a poilitcal party. He is a man who lives most of his time in the public and he sees it as his duty to work for his country, for the society, for the environment...
I think he is someone like the ´conscience of the nation´, someone who tell his opinion, someone who remind, someone who give a helping hand, someone who take care for others, someone who get more and more wise.
One reason i adore him, is that he is a political Prince!
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Old 12-12-2006, 04:18 AM
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I think everybody has opinions that could be termed "political opinions", including Charles. He just doesn't have the freedon of expressing them like the rest of us. I would think his position as heir to the throne means he has to remain fairly neutral politically, because the politicians are elected by the people, and the people contribute to his civil list pay, etc. He really lives according to the will and grace of the people. It's got to be frustrating!
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Old 01-04-2007, 08:58 AM
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Charles surely will, well should have more experance than any politcian - his mother - HM The Queen should by now be handing him more papers and stuff like that on how to run the country, If he becomes involved in politics now he will be a good King because he will know what the government want or are trying to attepmt and if he sees his public loosing out on the governments decsion he can take action.

Another benift of Being a Royal he isnt tied down to any party so no one such as republicans can label him as tory-liberal-bnp-ukip or labour, i think it should in theory work to his adavntge.
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Old 02-28-2010, 12:04 AM
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Queen's Privy Counsellor: Meddling Charles is unfit to be a king with political interference 'verging on the grotesque'

Prince Charles is unfit to become King because of his persistent interference in political matters, according to a Labour peer who is a member of the Queen’s Privy Council.

The controversial suggestion has been made by Joyce Quin in a guide she has written to the British Constitution.
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Old 02-28-2010, 12:24 AM
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Does this member of the Queen's Privy Council know that Prince Charles is also a member of the Queen's Privy Council? He is allowed to talk to/lobby people if he so wishes as a Privy Councillor and as a citizen.
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Old 02-28-2010, 12:27 AM
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Of course he's allowed to, but that doesn't mean it's prudent for him to do so considering the position he will hold in the future.
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Old 02-28-2010, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by wbenson View Post
Queen's Privy Counsellor: Meddling Charles is unfit to be a king with political interference 'verging on the grotesque'

Prince Charles is unfit to become King because of his persistent interference in political matters, according to a Labour peer who is a member of the Queen’s Privy Council.

The controversial suggestion has been made by Joyce Quin in a guide she has written to the British Constitution.
Members of the Forum might like to know that Baroness Quinn was formerly the Deputy Minister for Food & Agriculture during the 2001-2002 foot & mouth outbreak in the UK. The distorted 'sectarian' comments that she claims Prince Charles made were in a letter that was drafted in April 2002 but never sent (but later leaked to the Daily Mail) in which he was critical of the government's policy on handling of the disease & their treatment of affected farmers. Several years later when the European Union eventually published their report on the UK govt's handling of the issue it too was highly critical of the govt (& effectively backed the prince's views). Ever since then Quinn has made statements criticising Prince Charles. As an MP until 2005 she also voted against laws intended to reduce climate change.
P.S. The Queen's estates are also GM free, but are not identified publicly as such.
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Old 02-28-2010, 05:34 PM
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I have no particular liking for Charles, but I have to defend him a little - he has been much less as a meddler in recent years.
Perhaps Camilla has been a positive influence on him ??
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Old 03-01-2010, 09:05 AM
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Of course he's allowed to, but that doesn't mean it's prudent for him to do so considering the position he will hold in the future.
Just because the PoW is willing to communicate his views to members of the government (just as any British subject can) does not mean that he will continue to do so once he is the monarch.
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Old 03-01-2010, 09:18 AM
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No, but it doesn't set a very good precedent for what is to come.

Unfortunately for Charles, it is the position he finds himself in by accident of birth. His not a politician and it is crucial for him to at all times, remain, constitutionally prudent.
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Old 03-01-2010, 09:57 AM
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No, but it doesn't set a very good precedent for what is to come.

Unfortunately for Charles, it is the position he finds himself in by accident of birth. His not a politician and it is crucial for him to at all times, remain, constitutionally prudent.
Charles certainly cannot support specific political parties, or align his thinking with those of any inidvidual political parties. However, IMO, he is entitled to put his views to the government of the day. At the end of the day, they are just his views - Ministers are not bound by the views, and do not have to accept his view. This, IMO, is constitutionally prudent.
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