Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Carry on Charles

I'm not a monarchist. I once proposed a motion on the abolition of the monarchy at conference. But I'm fully in favour of Prince Charles being able to say whatever the heck he wants (subject to the normal constraints of the law, natch).

I really cannot see why Lord Taverne wants to muzzle Charles (and has been pontificating across to airwaves to this effect).

From my republican point of view, if Charles is busy spouting off left and right then people will agree or disagree with him as they see fit. But the more that they do so, the more Charles comes across as just another bloke with a view. No longer will he - either as heir or monarch - be seen as any more special than that bloke at the bar who can't shut up about bin collections.

Even monarchists should be happy. Why do they want a figurehead who is so remote that they never appear to have a view on anything. I can understand an individual decision to remain silent - as our current monarch appears to have made. But why should this be forced upon her heir? Especially as he is renowned for his outspoken-ness.

Monarchy purdah is a new invention in any case. In previous centuries citizens have known exactly what their rulers have thought about just about ever key topic. Perhaps the move towards a representative democracy has changed matters but let's not try to make Charles something he isn't.

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