Our future?

July 10th, 2013 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Guardian reports:

Three senior judges have ruled that the public has no right to read documents that would reveal how Prince Charles has sought to alter government policies.

The high court judges have rejected a legal attempt by the Guardian to force the publication of private letters written by the prince to government ministers.

Cabinet ministers have conceded that the prince’s private letters – dubbed “black spider memos” because of their scratchy handwriting – contained the prince’s “most deeply held personal views and beliefs” that could undermine the perception of his political neutrality. …

Grieve had argued that disclosure of the 27 “particularly frank” letters between the prince and ministers over a seven-month period would have seriously damaged his future role as king. The attorney general said there was a risk that the prince would not be seen to be politically neutral by the public if the letters were published.

“This risk will arise if, through these letters, the Prince of Wales was viewed by others as disagreeing with government policy. Any such perception would be seriously damaging to his role as future monarch because if he forfeits his position of political neutrality as heir to the throne, he cannot easily recover it when he is king,” Grieve had said.

This is almost Orwellian. It is not the publication of his letters that would damage his political neutrality. It is the fact he is in fact in no way politically neutral. His letters are what damage his political neutrality, not their publication.

The argument for the monarchy is that it provides a politically neutral head of state. It clearly does not. appears to be somewhere between Labour and the Greens in his political views. Good on him, but why should he get to become King of New Zealand?

Tags: ,

51 Responses to “Our future?”

  1. pidge (53 comments) says:

    What comes to mind is the Annoying Peasant in Monty Python and the Holy Grail (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Xd_zkMEgkI).

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. burt (7,948 comments) says:

    It seems entirely predictable he is a lefty, he has been raised with a sense of entitlement to other peoples money. Actually he would make a fantastic unionist in that he lives a far better lifestyle than the workers who contribute their hard earned dollars to support him.

    Vote: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. s.russell (1,578 comments) says:

    It hardly matters as he will have no real power. Actually, I feel sorry for him: as a lefty he is really not going to enjoy giving Royal Assent to a lot of the legislation put befiore him, but he will have to do it anyway or abdicate.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. Random Punter (65 comments) says:

    Burt:”It seems entirely predictable he is a lefty, he has been raised with a sense of entitlement to other peoples money. Actually he would make a fantastic unionist in that he lives a far better lifestyle than the workers who contribute their hard earned dollars to support him.”

    The Prince of Wales has no “entitlement to other people’s money”, and workers do not “contribute their hard-earned dollars to support him”. His only source of income is the revenues from the Duchy of Cornwall, which is privately owned property.

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. Andrei (2,528 comments) says:

    The argument for the monarchy is that it provides a politically neutral head of state.

    Since when? Why should the Monarch be “politically neutral”?

    Not that I carry any affection for the poor old Prince of Wales, he is the most valid argument for republicanism yet, I hope he is never King and if the Brits have any sense he wont be.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. burt (7,948 comments) says:

    Random Punter

    Of course, the royal family never exploited the peasants amassing large tracts of land…. Building castles, and hoarding gold and money.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. kowtow (7,859 comments) says:

    Why should he get to become King of New Zealand?

    Because our Constitution says so.That’s why. And it’s not the person in the post that counts it’s the position itself.

    God Save the Queen.

    Vote: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. wreck1080 (3,784 comments) says:

    because dumping the monarchy would lead to a dual-nation state with the maori problem becoming bigger than ever.

    Vote: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. RRM (9,597 comments) says:

    I really warmed to Charlie when he did that photo op with his boys, years ago during a skiing holiday, the three of them were sitting on a log waiting for the photographers to do their thing, and under his breath he was telling the boys what c**ts he thought some of the assembled journos were, not realising he was still mic’d up.. :-D

    God save the King!

    Vote: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. F E Smith (3,305 comments) says:

    This is almost Orwellian

    Hyperbole, much?

    It is the fact he is in fact in no way politically neutral

    So? How would that in any way affect his fitness for the job?

    The argument for the monarchy is that it provides a politically neutral head of state.

    Really?  It is not an argument that I think is necessary when making a case for the monarch as head of state.  Why is there any need for the monarch to be politically neutral?  Historically they have not been neutral at all, even as recently as the early 20th century.  However, what they have all been able to do is put their politics asisde and work with whoever the people have elected to a majority position in the Commons.  After all, the monarchs view on political can have no actual influence unless the governing group in Parliament allows it.  At most the monarch can offer advice, which can then be acted upon or not. 

    Personally I have no issue with the Monarch not being politically neutral.  I know that Prince Charles is a lefty and I have no problem with him being our head of state despite that. 

    Vote: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. georgebolwing (652 comments) says:

    Two points.

    The New Zealand Official Information Act protects the confidentiality of communications by or with the Sovereign or her representative, so this isn’t an unprecedented move, although the Act doesn’t expressly protect the confidentially of the Sovereign’s son).

    I have never understood why it is a good idea to have as your head of state the first born son of another country’s monarch, or as will now be the case, the first born child. Particularly when experience has shown that the people of that country have (a) periodically killed or expelled certain such first-borns and (b) progressively limited their power and influence to little more than that of an expensive pantomime.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. Manolo (13,514 comments) says:

    Big Ears is a Luddite and a Greenie when it suits him. He will the first one to admit it.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. nasska (10,827 comments) says:

    It’s not the fact that he has a bias to the left that worries me….as has been pointed out above he is part of a constitutional monarchy & as such is a figurehead. He cannot influence the government of the day much more than any other citizen.

    What does concern me is the fact that he is stark raving mad with the personality of a goldfish. Hopefully the old girl will have him committed & the throne will pass directly to Prince William who would make an excellent modern monarch.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. big bruv (13,452 comments) says:

    “Good on him, but why should he get to become King of New Zealand?”

    Because he is preferable to President Clark, Bolger, Peters or some fat truck driver from Hamilton.

    I do find it interesting that the republicans are happy to do away with the heritage of our non Maori ancestors yet would run a mile if anybody dared suggest we take no notice of Maori ancestry.

    Vote: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. Warren Murray (288 comments) says:

    I agree with FE Smith, it is easy to identify a number of now deceased monarchs who got involved in politics, and the Prince of Wales is not yet holding that office. Not so long ago he would have been entitled to take a seat in the UKs upper house.

    While we are on the subject of the critical importance of political neutrality, please remind me what did Keith Holyoake do before he became GG?

    Ofcourse an elected head of state model wouldnt be political?

    Try again DF, this attack on NZs preferred constitutional governance isnt very compelling.

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. Manolo (13,514 comments) says:

    Well said, big bruv.
    Indeed, any Maori blood is considered holy and sacrosanct these days. PC crap gone mad.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. iMP (2,304 comments) says:

    I disagree with you DPF. Every monarch has opinions and a political [preference. I agree with the Judges, that ‘outing’ this in the form of private letters, exposes those private opinions to the public and affects the Monarch. They have a right to be ‘neutral’ in the public space while still having an opinion they share in appropriate contexts.

    The ‘neutrality’ of the Monarch is a convention, that exists purely because the Monarch CHOOSES not to speak publicly on matters. It does not mean they are brainless or opinion-less.

    Good decision Judges.

    Vote: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. iMP (2,304 comments) says:

    An example is Winston Churchill and the King over sailing in ships on D-Day. The King had a clear opinion, and sought to persuade Churchill, quite strongly, several times, and letters were exchanged between the two.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. publicwatchdog (2,204 comments) says:

    Where’s the ‘transparency’?

    “Three senior judges have ruled that the public has no right to read documents that would reveal how Prince Charles has sought to alter government policies.

    The high court judges have rejected a legal attempt by the Guardian to force the publication of private letters written by the prince to government ministers.

    Cabinet ministers have conceded that the prince’s private letters – dubbed “black spider memos” because of their scratchy handwriting – contained the prince’s “most deeply held personal views and beliefs” that could undermine the perception of his political neutrality. ……”

    I hope that the Guardian APPEAL this decision!

    Penny Bright
    ‘Anti-corruption / anti-privatisation’ campaigner

    2013 Auckland Mayoral candidate

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 14 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. jims_whare (399 comments) says:

    Why not let the Queen stay Queen forever?

    Once she dies just keep her as Queen and get someone to sign laws on her behalf.

    She would be very politically neutral and state visits would be very cheap (Just air freight her ashes to the colonies and then post them back again)

    This way Charles can retire with Camilla the Hag and never be seen in public again…

    I do support the monarchy but seriously Charles is enough to put anyone off

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. huckleberryfinsbrother (25 comments) says:

    iMP (1,446) Says: July 10th, 2013 at 6:34 pm
    ” I disagree with you DPF. Every monarch has opinions and a political [preference. I agree with the Judges, that ‘outing’ this in the form of private letters, exposes those private opinions to the public and affects the Monarch. They have a right to be ‘neutral’ in the public space while still having an opinion they share in appropriate contexts.

    The ‘neutrality’ of the Monarch is a convention, that exists purely because the Monarch CHOOSES not to speak publicly on matters. It does not mean they are brainless or opinion-less. Good decision Judges.”

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. davidp (3,550 comments) says:

    Charles Windsor has no constitutional role in the UK. He isn’t the monarch. So presumably his letters to ministers are the same as any other (slightly eccentric) persons’ letters to ministers. The minister would thank Windsor for his thoughts, file them, but not engage in any substantial debate or response. So what is the harm in releasing them?

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. JMS (313 comments) says:

    I do find it interesting that the republicans are happy to do away with the heritage of our non Maori ancestors yet would run a mile if anybody dared suggest we take no notice of Maori ancestry.

    Not at all. A republic could make the Treaty meaningless. Crown, what crown? Call London with your complaints.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. Judith (8,229 comments) says:

    I have the greatest respect for the monarchy.
    No one could pay me enough to do the job they do.

    So Prince Charles is politically conscious, and has an opinion and attempts to convince others that his opinion is the right one?

    Seems to me that he is just an intelligent human who cares. (no I haven’t forgiven him for what he did to Diana)

    I guess its another of the same old, if he was on the other team (no not gay – right) then no one would care, but dare to have a left point of view, and it’s off with his head!

    It’s enough to make a person want to join NZ First! ;-)

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. greybeard (56 comments) says:

    ” most deeply held personal views and beliefs” that could undermine the perception of his political neutrality. …

    Political neutrality ? What the hell is that ? Is he not to have the courage of his own convictions ?

    Why does he have to be ‘politically neutral’ ? The press would have us accept that he is some sort of pampered buffoon with no personal will or beliefs. I believe that he is quite the opposite. He has had a very public life for over 60 years, has been educated at good institutions, has had a huge amount of experience in public and political affairs from an early age, has made and maintained personal and political connections all over the world ( what we call ‘networking’ today ) , and …………. well, I think I have made my feeling clear.
    God Save NZ from becoming a Republic.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. thor42 (961 comments) says:

    @s.russell – “It hardly matters as he will have no real power.”
    I disagree. It is the monarch who gives “royal assent” to all legislation, and (unless I am much mistaken), without that assent a bill cannot become law.

    This has ramifications even now. With the UK now a totalitarian state where freedom of speech is dead, it is the Queen who gave assent to the draconian laws that brought about that situation. This means that the evil state of affairs over there goes from the very top (the monarch) to the very bottom (the most junior of ministers).

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. mikenmild (11,193 comments) says:

    We should ditch the monarchy. Just make our Governor-General a president, elected by a 75% majority of Parliament.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 10 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. Nukuleka (247 comments) says:

    Private letters are private letters. End of story really.

    Unless you are some unpleasant, muck-seeking nosy parker media hack, that is.

    Give the guy a break.

    And how on earth does anyone know that he is somewhere between the Greens and Labour?

    What a lot of fatuous tosh appears on this blog at times.

    Vote: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. Scott (1,724 comments) says:

    Love the monarchy. Can’t stand republicans. Long live the Queen and the King, whenever he reigns.

    But hey let’s say we get rid of Charles because he is not politically neutral and may be left leaning. Instead we install a President who if Labour has anything to do with it will be Helen Clarke. So no left leaning bias there then? Give me King Charles over President for life Helen Clarke any day!

    Vote: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. mikenmild (11,193 comments) says:

    If we had a president elected by a parliamentary super majority we could be sure that we would get someone as politically neutral as our current and previous governors-general.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. F E Smith (3,305 comments) says:

    And how on earth does anyone know that he is somewhere between the Greens and Labour?

    Well, it is pretty much accepted that the Prince of Wales is somewhere in that part of the spectrum based upon his positions over the years.  In the UK this view is fairly commonly agreed upon, and HRH has not said or done anything to counter this opinion.

    Of course, when it comes to architecture I find myself generally in agreement with the Prince.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. F E Smith (3,305 comments) says:

    we would get someone as politically neutral as our current and previous governors-general.

    Hold on, was that serious or facetious?  I can’t tell.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  33. mikenmild (11,193 comments) says:

    Politically neutral as in not obviously a partisan of one party or another.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  34. Viking2 (11,219 comments) says:

    Anyone who thinks monarchs have been politically neutral knows fuck all about history.
    Just reading about the Crimean War and what and who caused that wee stouch. Well plenty of opinion was given by the Maonarh of the time.
    I think you will find that’s true as well when the Poms and the Frogs had their various dust up’s and even futher back when the poms were running around Palestine and places like that.

    Indeed look at the history between the Poms and the Scots. Plenty on Monarchs had their say in those times.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  35. F E Smith (3,305 comments) says:

    Oh, it was serious. Fair point then. I don’t agree with it, as I would much prefer that we have a popularly elected President if we were to be a republic. I think that the people that politicians think would make a good president are not necessarily the same people as would be chosen by the general populace.

    I also don’t consider Sir Keith Holyoake or Dame Cath Tizard to have politically neutral appointees to the G-Gs position.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  36. mikenmild (11,193 comments) says:

    Not politically neutral appointees perhaps, but certainly non partisan in behaviour while in office. Election by a parliamentary super majority would probably ensure no politican served in the office, although I wonder whether someone like a Jim Bolger would be able to get support from across the political spectrum.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  37. F E Smith (3,305 comments) says:

    certainly non partisan in behaviour while in office.

    Agreed.  Which is why I have no problem with the Monarch also having political opinions.

    although I wonder whether someone like a Jim Bolger would be able to get support from across the political spectrum.

    To be honest, I can’t see Labour ever voting for him, nor the Greens.  Ironically, I suspect it would be more likely the Nats who would be more likely to vote for someone from an opposing party, given the way they don’t ever appear to have any genuinely original policies of their own.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  38. Random Punter (65 comments) says:

    davidp is right. The Prince of Wales has no constitutional role, functions, or obligations. He could, if he wished, spend all his time drinking, gambling, or whoring like his predecessors who went on to become Edward VII and Edward VIII. He has chosen instead to devote much of his time to good causes, and has done enormous amounts of good through organisations he has set up such as The Prince’s Trust. Personally, I find that admirable.

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  39. mikenmild (11,193 comments) says:

    Yes, I see no reason why Charles would not be an effective and admirable king. However, it is time we had an exclusively NZ head of state.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  40. maxwell (48 comments) says:

    When he’s not fantasising about being Camilla’s tampon he’s telling us decadent westerners (but not him) to live like they do in Mumbai

    http://michellemalkin.com/2010/10/09/prince-charles-loses-his-last-marble/

    His Mum as our Monarch, sure, maybe even his sister, but not this right Charlie

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  41. mikenmild (11,193 comments) says:

    The trouble with monarchy is that if you accept it as a viable system you accept the vagaries of inheritance. If you decide to pass over (who decides?) a prince or two, you may as well go the whole hog and elect a head of state.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  42. Matt (224 comments) says:

    It wouldn’t surprise me if the Queen made a condition of her consent to his marriage to Camilla that he abdicate after she dies. If he were to have stepped down from the line of succession before it would have meant that Anne would become the next monarch rather than William.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  43. Alan Johnstone (1,073 comments) says:

    “Charles Windsor has no constitutional role in the UK. He isn’t the monarch.”

    Actually, wrong, he has a right of veto on bills that impact his private interests. http://m.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/aug/31/secret-royal-veto-powers-exposed

    ” It wouldn’t surprise me if the Queen made a condition of her consent to his marriage to Camilla that he abdicate after she dies. If he were to have stepped down from the line of succession before it would have meant that Anne would become the next monarch rather than William.”

    Matt, you have no concept on how male preference primogeniture works in a legal sense. Charles accession or otherwise to the throne have no impact on Williams succession rights. You can’t sign away someone else’s rights.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  44. Random Punter (65 comments) says:

    The Queen will not abdicate. She regards abdication as a dereliction of duty. At any one time, there is one and only one person eligible to be the reigning monarch, and that is the previous monarch’s eldest child (formerly eldest son). For the same reason, Charles will not abdicate in favour of Prince William. A primitive system perhaps, but a very strong one. It promotes stability by leaving no room for doubt about the succession.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  45. Alan Johnstone (1,073 comments) says:

    Not technically true RP. If the previous Monarchs eldest child is dead or otherwise ruled out of the running, then their children inherit before their Aunts or Uncles.

    As an example, George III took the throne from his grandfather despite his father never having been King and the previous King having living sons.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  46. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    To be honest, I can’t see Labour ever voting for him, nor the Greens.

    Why not? Labour appointed Bolger to head Kiwibank and Kiwirail. I can’t imagine they would have done that if they hated the guy.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  47. Random Punter (65 comments) says:

    Quite right, AJ. I stand corrected.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  48. F E Smith (3,305 comments) says:

    Charles Windsor

    That isn’t the Prince of Wales.  If you want to give him a surname I think it would be more accurate to call him Charles Wales, or else Charles Mountbatten-Windsor.   Certainly the Princes William and Harry use Wales as a surname, although I think Prince Charles has used the Mountbatten-Windsor one in the past.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  49. graham (2,247 comments) says:

    publicwatchdog Says at 6:36 pm:

    “Where’s the ‘transparency’?”

    ————————————————————————————————————

    When Penny (who wants to run Auckland as its Mayor) starts being transparent, then I’ll take comments like this a bit more seriously. Not before.

    I’ve asked her a number of quite serious, relevant questions previously, that I would want to know about any Mayoral candidate. She has refused to answer them.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  50. Albert_Ross (264 comments) says:

    What is the position if an ordinary person writes to their MP or a Minister? Can that letter – with or without their name on it – be made public?

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  51. redqueen (509 comments) says:

    If Charles is ever actually king, that will be amusing. In practice, this is just Republican monarch bashing. Who cares, as nobody is asking him his opinions on New Zealand. So this is Britain’s problem, not ours.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.