Prince Charles's letters: a right royal cover-up

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Offline the leveller

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Prince Charles's letters: a right royal cover-up
« on: October 16, 2012, 10:34:44 PM »
'Dangerous Dauphin'
Analogy to the horrible fate of the young French heir to the throne in the French Revolution will not be lost on anyone in the know
Prince Charles's letters: a right royal cover-up
 The prospect of a systemic and fundamental abuse of the essentially passive role of the crown in our constitutional monarchical system seems too dangerous to contemplate
Editorial - The Guardian, Tuesday 16 October 2012 20.12 BST
Two sides of the attorney general, Dominic Grieve, were on show at the same time on Tuesday. In the first, Good Dominic announced to MPs that he intends to apply to quash the 96 Hillsborough inquests and have them reheld. Result: approval all round as Mr Grieve sprang decisively to the aid of the families whose cause is to expose the truth about how the 96 died. Meanwhile, in the other, while the attorney harvested congratulations from MPs over Hillsborough, Bad Dominic was publishing an abject edict to veto the release of the Prince of Wales's correspondence with ministers under freedom of information laws. Result: the normally admirable Mr Grieve risked seeming a pusillanimous ministerial jobsworth unwilling to let the public learn the full truth about our foolish and meddling heir to the throne.
There is no dispute that the prince has been bombarding ministers with his self-interested and often reactionary views for years. Even Mr Grieve admits as much in his statement confirming that many of the prince's letters to seven departments contained "particularly frank" personal views which, if revealed, would have "undermined his position of political neutrality". It seems all too clear that the disturbing prospect of a systemic and fundamental abuse of the essentially passive role of the crown in our constitutional monarchical system was too dangerous to contemplate.
In his attempt to justify the unjustifiable, Mr Grieve has clutched at a fragile constitutional doctrine and adopted a deeply dubious legal course. The doctrine is that all letters from the prince are part of something called "preparation for kingship". This medieval-sounding notion is far too sweeping ? as the courts themselves have found. It is an invented tradition, a conceit devised for the purpose of getting this particular prince off the hook. A moment's thought shows it to be a nonsense. Where is the line drawn if other lesser royals fire off letters as self-indulgent as the prince's? How long ? five years or 50? ? is a prince deemed to be "preparing for kingship"? When, if ever, are preparations complete? Mr Grieve's doctrine seems to imply that writing foolish letters to ministers is a princely duty. This merely pours petrol on the flames.
The dubious legal course is the claim that such matters are protected under the FoI laws. This is highly questionable. The law allows ministers to veto the release of documents in exceptional cases, mainly where cabinet government is deemed under threat. But it is neither clear nor reasonable that the law extends to a case like this ? the matter should be tested. Ministers pretend their concern is to protect the proper training of a good and useful prince, when in fact it is primarily to cover up for the constitutionally dubious blunderings of an indulged and even dangerous dauphin.

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