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  #281  
Old 03-13-2014, 08:17 AM
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The royals will only allow public scrutiny when it serves the family's interests | Tanya Gold | Comment is free | The Guardian
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  #282  
Old 03-13-2014, 09:16 AM
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As if you wouldn't do the same Tanya Gold.
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  #283  
Old 03-13-2014, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Jacknch View Post
Hmm, this is all abit Catch 22 for me - at the moment I have confidence in Charles and his opinions more so than my elected representatives. However, are the letters controvertial? Do they depict a despotic state of mind or someone with dangerous political ideaology? Are they simply rambling words of nonsense? Do they compromise the security of the country? Is there anything contained in the letters that would show Charles to be unsuitable or un-fit for the role of monarch?
Most likely I would imagine they ask for eco-friendly houses to be built or some other benign suggestion.
Nonetheless, this whole affair has the potential to cast doubt to one degree or another - I'd rather not know what is contained in the letters and I wish I didn't know they existed, but they do exist and we are being tantalised by that knowledge.
I think many of us fear that no matter how tempered the letters are, they will be shown in the worst possible light with things taken out of context to make it seem Charles was meddling where he should not. This is going to get very ugly, very fast.
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  #284  
Old 03-13-2014, 10:12 AM
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Any member of the public can write a letter to politician expressing their concerns. It's just who it is thats the problem. Should joe public letters to MPs be published. The answer would be no.
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  #285  
Old 03-13-2014, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by AdmirerUS View Post
I think many of us fear that no matter how tempered the letters are, they will be shown in the worst possible light with things taken out of context to make it seem Charles was meddling where he should not. This is going to get very ugly, very fast.
He's had a reputation for meddling for decades. The public will just get to judge the extent of it fairly now.
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  #286  
Old 03-13-2014, 03:24 PM
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He's had a reputation for meddling for decades. The public will just get to judge the extent of it fairly now.
They are only meddling if the minister in question allows the Prince's letters to influence his/her decision and policy.

Charles has no power to force any changes (with the exception of his veto of legislation affecting the Duchy). Ministers are at liberty to ignore his letters in the same way they ignore anyone else's.
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  #287  
Old 03-13-2014, 03:55 PM
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I don't understand the focus on the letters. There are many ways to influence legislators, including phone calls, personal meetings, etc... If they turn over letters now, Charles or and other royals so inclined will simply get on the telephone in the future.

I also don't understand why Charles's letters are "considered meddling." He's voluntarily paid taxes for decades and he should have the same rights as any other citizen and taxpayer. I agree he's more influential because of his status, but how is that any different from various celebrities who lobby the government. For example, Diana certainly tried to influence government policy on landmines. Charles is also a major employers and the leader of major charity.
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  #288  
Old 03-13-2014, 07:31 PM
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I highly doubt Charles will be having these conversations on the phone which would be easily hacked. Having 'private topic' conversations on the phone that he didn't want written down and on the record bit him hard with Camilllagate.
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  #289  
Old 03-14-2014, 05:25 AM
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Letters no longer being private, phones unsafe because of hacking. What's next? Voter's choices will be registered, tallied and published. The public has a right to know everything about everybody.

Charles' letters being made public is scary in that respect. I can also see how it would affect him having an apolitical stance as a monarch. On the positive side, the fact that there are letters tells me this is a man that didn't just idly putter in his garden or whisper sweet nothings to trees. I believe from the article that most of the letters were during a specific time period (2004-2005 I think) and were of a specific nature dealing with a specific issue.

If there was some kind of cover up or conspiracy to commit fraud or held a threat, there would be a legal base for the letters to be entered into evidence or perhaps the public domain. If these letters are to be made public just because its a chance for the public to get a glimpse of the now somewhat famous spider letters, I think its an invasion of Charles' privacy.

I really don't see it ever happening.
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  #290  
Old 03-14-2014, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Iluvbertie View Post
The monarch and heir to the throne have written lots of letters to the monarch under the clear understanding that their views weren't going to be made public while they were alive. This has been the tradition going back centuries.

Charles was writing letters under this understanding - that they wouldn't be made public - but now letters written with the understanding that they wouldn't be made public during his lifetime are possibly going to be published.

Effectively this means that Charles will in all likelihood have to step aside as the future monarch as no matter what is in the letters it expresses his views on any number of issues and the views of the monarch are supposed to be private.

Charles simply can't be King with his views in the public domain. As soon as any of these letters are made public his position is compromised and that means that no government can have confidence in him.

Constitutionally he has had the right to express his views to the ministers with the clear understanding that there were to be kept private and now the ball posts have changed.

Had the expectation been, when Charles wrote the letters, that they would be made public at some time in his lifetime then I am sure that he would have written different letters.

I also feel that there is some different interpretation in law taking place here - when Hewitt tried to sell Diana's letters the courts ruled that he could sell the letters but that Diana still owned the copyright to the words on the paper as she wrote them. Why is this different for Charles - if the writer has to approve the publication of letters as they wrote them then that should apply to all writers, especially when that person wrote the letters in the expectation that they wouldn't be published while that person was alive.

Seems to be retrospective legislation going on - one rule applied when the letters were written but not the rule has been changed retrospectively and that is never right in my opinion.
It's a ****storm, isn't it!

And a damn good argument in favour of a republic.

All wrapped up in one neat little package.
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  #291  
Old 03-14-2014, 06:34 AM
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It's a ****storm, isn't it!

And a damn good argument in favour of a republic, all wrapped up in one neat little package.
I suspect you may be overegging it!
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  #292  
Old 03-14-2014, 06:38 AM
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I suspect you may be overegging it!
I don't think anyone should underestimate the significance of this issue.
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  #293  
Old 03-14-2014, 08:59 AM
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I don't think anyone should underestimate the significance of this issue.
It is very significant I think. What it is boiling down to is that the communications of a future monarch will be released to the public domain. It would rank right up there now with all the meetings between The Queen and her Prime Minister being made public record. As the Head of State, HM is to be apolitical and not involved with matters of government and in this regards, she's never taking sides. She may have her own personal leanings in these matters but they are never expressed nor does HM ever vote in an election. Its my understanding that the rest of the BRF are able to vote but they opt out. Charles, over the years, has used private communications with various ministers to privately express his concerns and views on matters and he's perfectly in his right to do so. These letters very well could pinpoint his political views and should they become public, there's no way that in the future he'll ever be considered an apolitical King which is very necessary. I think this is the point that Iluvbertie was putting across.

I'm wondering why we've not heard anything from Clarence House on how Charles feels about all of this. It may well turn out that Charles will review the communications and perhaps have them released to the public domain with his permission. He would be very careful that none of the letters were expressing political views or anything that could be deemed political in nature.

This will be an interesting issue to follow.
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  #294  
Old 03-14-2014, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Iluvbertie View Post
The monarch and heir to the throne have written lots of letters to the monarch under the clear understanding that their views weren't going to be made public while they were alive. This has been the tradition going back centuries.

Charles was writing letters under this understanding - that they wouldn't be made public - but now letters written with the understanding that they wouldn't be made public during his lifetime are possibly going to be published.

Effectively this means that Charles will in all likelihood have to step aside as the future monarch as no matter what is in the letters it expresses his views on any number of issues and the views of the monarch are supposed to be private.

Charles simply can't be King with his views in the public domain. As soon as any of these letters are made public his position is compromised and that means that no government can have confidence in him.

Constitutionally he has had the right to express his views to the ministers with the clear understanding that there were to be kept private and now the ball posts have changed.

Had the expectation been, when Charles wrote the letters, that they would be made public at some time in his lifetime then I am sure that he would have written different letters.

I also feel that there is some different interpretation in law taking place here - when Hewitt tried to sell Diana's letters the courts ruled that he could sell the letters but that Diana still owned the copyright to the words on the paper as she wrote them. Why is this different for Charles - if the writer has to approve the publication of letters as they wrote them then that should apply to all writers, especially when that person wrote the letters in the expectation that they wouldn't be published while that person was alive.

Seems to be retrospective legislation going on - one rule applied when the letters were written but not the rule has been changed retrospectively and that is never right in my opinion.
The difference is that in 2000 the Freedom of Information Act came into legislation. Letters prior to that date are not available for publication, so the argument for publication is based on this legislation. It would appear that Charles was badly advised that the FOI Act would not apply to him.
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  #295  
Old 03-14-2014, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Osipi View Post
It is very significant I think. What it is boiling down to is that the communications of a future monarch will be released to the public domain. It would rank right up there now with all the meetings between The Queen and her Prime Minister being made public record. As the Head of State, HM is to be apolitical and not involved with matters of government and in this regards, she's never taking sides. She may have her own personal leanings in these matters but they are never expressed nor does HM ever vote in an election. Its my understanding that the rest of the BRF are able to vote but they opt out. Charles, over the years, has used private communications with various ministers to privately express his concerns and views on matters and he's perfectly in his right to do so. These letters very well could pinpoint his political views and should they become public, there's no way that in the future he'll ever be considered an apolitical King which is very necessary. I think this is the point that Iluvbertie was putting across.

I'm wondering why we've not heard anything from Clarence House on how Charles feels about all of this. It may well turn out that Charles will review the communications and perhaps have them released to the public domain with his permission. He would be very careful that none of the letters were expressing political views or anything that could be deemed political in nature.

This will be an interesting issue to follow.
IMO, the term political is often misused or perhaps, misunderstood. A monarch cannot be seen to be party political, i.e. favouring one political party over another. There is nothing that stops a member of the RF from articulating a view on a certain topic.

Some observations:

First of all, this is not a monarch whose correspondence is potentially being revealed. The PoW is not bound by the same conventions as the monarch.

Secondly, I see nothing wrong with the PoW writing to a government minister to express his views on certain topics, unless they are party political issues. It is the duty of the minister to express his or her judgement to shape policy taking into accounts differing points of view.
The views of the PoW on issues like holistic medicine, architecture, inter-faith relations and environmental matters are well known. He has often spoken publicly on these matters.
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  #296  
Old 03-14-2014, 10:10 AM
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IMO, the term political is often misused or perhaps, misunderstood. A monarch cannot be seen to be party political, i.e. favouring one political party over another. There is nothing that stops a member of the RF from articulating a view on a certain topic.
The views of the PoW on issues like holistic medicine, architecture, inter-faith relations and environmental matters are well known. He has often spoken publicly on these matters.
Muriel: I think you are quite right and quite generous. The problem is that the press and a lot of people who read the press, prefer to be small minded about Royals having, much less sharing ideas.
Elizabeth, who has spent a lifetime in Christmas messages plumping for family, country, church, hard work and solid values has spoiled the country with her solid lack of public views on issues of the day. She is going to be a very hard act to follow. More so when Charles letters are shown to the public.
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  #297  
Old 03-14-2014, 11:12 AM
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The Queen will be a hard act to follow but I think people have to brace themselves for the new reign because I think Charles will bring a new flavor and his own touches to his Kingship and people may not like it and some probably will.
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  #298  
Old 03-14-2014, 02:21 PM
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If what is in the letters is as damaging as some fear, the new reign may not be Charles'. Over the years, especially during the wiki leaks, some of his letters have slipped out. I doubt they are only on alternative medicine, the environment and architecture.
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  #299  
Old 03-14-2014, 05:11 PM
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If what is in the letters is as damaging as some fear, the new reign may not be Charles'.
And that is the problem. The alternative (King William and wife) is a horrifying thought.
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  #300  
Old 03-14-2014, 05:30 PM
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The difference is that in 2000 the Freedom of Information Act came into legislation. Letters prior to that date are not available for publication, so the argument for publication is based on this legislation. It would appear that Charles was badly advised that the FOI Act would not apply to him.
I like to think that Charles was smart enough to realise there could be a claim on his letters after this date, and was careful about what he wrote on the assumption it was possible that they could one day be revealed, though hoping they wouldn't be.

As Muriel observed, it is being party-political that is prohibited. He has expressed lots of opinions that are political in the broad sense, and continues to do so and I don't fault him for doing so. He has had to fill in his years doing something and has done it very wisely, I think.

What really rankles me about the situation is that here we have a person - be it Charles or William or George - who is in a position to influence governments, yet they are supposed to remain above politics, yet they are able to tell governments what they think in secret, thanks to the new Freedom of Information legislation protecting Royals, and without fear of their views ever being exposed. So these privileged and unelected and unaccountable people are allowed to try to influence governments to make laws which affect people without the people knowing what's been said, and that stinks to high heaven in my opinion. I believe that a person who is in line to be future monarch should either keep their trap shut about party-political issues or make them public.

Why is it worse for his views to be made public than it is to know that he his making them known to politicians in secret? I do not accept that it is. I see no reason why he should have to step down if his secretly disclosed views are in fact made public, merely because they have. It would depend on what he said and how he said it. If he has made an absolute git of himself then yes, he should step down because someone who is an absolute git should not be Head of State. As I said above, I like to think Charles is smarter than that, but let's find out. It's only letters written during a small window of time that are caught.

If he has been foolish then his indiscretion will weigh against the whole system as well as himself personally because it will again put before the public the inequity of the situation where a person is in a position of enormous privilege and influence merely by dint of having been born to the "right" person at the right time.
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