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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The royal dissident

This morning's Guardian reports that Prince Charles regards himself as a "dissident working against the prevailing political consensus", who scatters furious letters to ministers on contentious issues and denounces elected leaders of other countries.

The views and practices of the heir to the throne were detailed in a remarkable witness statement by his former deputy private secretary and spin doctor, Mark Bolland, who claimed the prince routinely meddled in political issues and wrote sometimes in extreme terms to ministers, MPs and others in positions of political power and influence.

The question is whether Charles should be at liberty to use his influence in this way. As an unelected member of the so-called 'ruling class' he can hardly claim that his views have any legitimacy or that they are representative of ordinary people.

Often the poltical consensus exists because it commands majority support. If the Prince of Wales cannot demonstrate that he too has popular backing for his views then he should stop abusing his position in this way. In other words, stand for election or shut-up!
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