Brian at it again(12 Posts)
I see that Dominic Grieve has decided that the Prince of Wales's letters lobbying government departments are too sensitive for us plebs to see (thus undermining the Freedom of Information act). The prince's actions in lobbying government with his crackpot ideas (for instance, homeopathy on the NHS, anti nanotechnology, his own peculiar taste in architecture etc) undermine his own position as a future monarch and our constitutional monarchy as a whole. Surely all Grieve's decision will do is hasten the day when the British people formally tell the royal family to naff off (as Princess Anne would put it). IMO we will never be a truly modern democracy until we rid ourselves of these parasites.
I disagree. The Prince is one of only a handful of people in the tricky constitutional position of having opinions on the one hand but being required to remain politically neutral on the other. It's important he can express the opinions in private, rather as the Queen does, with the government. As we don't have homeopathy on the NHS etc. it's clear that expressing an opinion does not mean it gets acted upon.
Oh but we do Cogito. The NHS homeopathy hospital is next door to Great Ormond Street.
As Charles is required to be politically neutral he should not use his position to lobby. As he is doing that, the letters should be published.
I think the fact that he is lobbying at all betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of his position on his part. Most if they were in his position, like our current queen, would keep their mouth shut and carry on taking the money. The least that we can expect as the electorate is to see whether his attempts at interfering with our democratic system have had any effect. This ruling begs the question 'Is Dominic Grieve a secret republican?'.
I think Grieve's doing the right thing.
But in a sense the cat is already out of the bag. The mere fact that this announcement had to be made tells us that PC has tried to influence ministers with his own views.
We have a fair idea about what those views are e.g. on alleged man made global warming etc and also I think we know his views are not always coherent.
PC is making a rod for his own back.
In what way is it the right thing to censor Prince Charles' correspondence (i.e. lobbying) with the government?
You think it's right and proper that an unelected person should have any say whatsoever about how the govt. sets policy, and furthermore that the public have no right to know what this 'advice' is?
Do you believe in democracy or not?
While the Queen has decided to be politically neutral there is no constitutional requirement for this, and no reason why Prince Charles should continue this precedent. Indeed it makes no sense to have a pure figurehead that can't do or say anything!
Indeed it makes no sense to have a pure figurehead that can't do or say anything!
The point of the FOI act is so that government decisions are transparent and able to be held up to scrutiny by the electorate. We cannot do this on the basis of partial information - once certain individuals are excluded from the act, it undermines the whole reason why the act was bought in. I really hope that someone will do the right thing and leak the documents. I suspect that the documents would be damaging for the prince - confirming for once and for all that he is a fruitcake and unsuitable to be the monarch.
Vix - we do not have a written constitution so the monarch could in theory behave in any way that he/she wants. But to have an overtly political monarch would completely undermine the position - we may as well just elect one if they are to behave in a partisan way.
What's an 'overtly political monarch'? The problem here, is not that the 'Prince' has opinions, the problem is that he has any say whatsoever in how the government is run.
Unless he is a qualified expert in a particular field, there is no reason why his opinion should be held in any higher esteem than anybody else's. The fact that his correspondence with the government is secret is doubly pernicious.
'You think it's right and proper that an unelected person should have any say whatsoever about how the govt. sets policy, and furthermore that the public have no right to know what this 'advice' is?'
Isn't this a bit naive, Ttosca? Not like you
There are loads of unelected people who have an enormous amount of secret power over government policies. That is how rich people stay rich, after all.
The thing about Prince Charles, is that he probably has less of an axe to grind than the rest of them, as the govt's policies don't affect him personally as much. The other thing is that I often find myself agreeing with him, as he stands up against some of these bullies (especiallly wrt architecture).
Either abolish the monarchy or let them say what they want, same as anyone else, is what I think. And who cares what he writes to politicians? They don't seem to be taking any notice of him. I'd be in favour of publishing his letters if you then published all communications to ministers from their other lobbyists. Otherwise, not really, no.
Talking of lobbyists this is happening on Thursday at Holyrood in Edinburgh. It's full up but it's good to know someone is addressing this.
'Neil Findlay MSP has launched a private members bill calling for the introduction of a statutory register of lobbyists. This would open up lobbying and allow us, the public, to scrutinise lobbying actions and decide for ourselves what is appropriate. Were pleased to announce as a part of the consultation there will be a public meeting Scottish Parliament on 25th October ...'
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