Saturday, 24 May 2014

Prince Charles & Putin

 This whole 'controversy' over Prince Charles comparing Putin to Hitler really is ridiculous.
I would expect the Russians or Putin himself to take offence (hey, the truth hurts) but British politicians sticking their two cents in and saying Charles should abdicate?

The man was having a private conversation. The person he was having the conversation with agreed with him. She told the Daily Mail (misguided, but still). They reported on this conversation. Now the whole world knows and Charles is getting it in the neck - UKIP's leader Nigel Farage (don't bloody get me started) even had the nerve to say the prince was wrong to get involved.

Wrong to get involved? He wasn't involved - not until a newspaper reported it! He expressed a private opinion, to a Jewish survivor of Nazi tyranny who had fled to Canada in the war. It was a genuine comment, made off the cuff, in a private conversation. Charles didn't choose to be involved - it became a problem when the Mail reported it.

'But the royals are meant to be politically neutral!' I hear people cry. Yeah? Well guess what, they're not - they're human, they have opinions, even if they aren't allowed to publicly express them. It's their job to be politically neutral, so that our democracy isn't undermined by them.
But you mean to tell me that if it was you - if you were forced into a position where you had to be completely impartial on all matters political, but you thought something that was going on in the world was really that unjust, you wouldn't end up talking to anyone about it? Even in a private discussion?

How many people do you think Prince Charles - or any of the Royal Family, come to that - are able to express their true opinions to? Of course, they're probably allowed to discuss it with each other, but who's to say Charles hasn't discussed it and the older generation of his family just told him to be quiet because of political neutrality? For all we know he might not even feel able to talk about it to anyone else.

Charles wasn't trying to lead a revolution. He wasn't saying 'Let's all go to war and stop Putin behaving like Hitler', he was just expressing an opinion in a private conversation, which actually was none of our business. That does not mean to say he wouldn't be able to be neutral when it comes to being King. Frankly, I don't know how the Queen manages to stay silent on all of these issues, Prince Charles seems rather more human for letting an opinion slip.

Of course, the main issue with the prince making those comments is not that it's controversial over here (cos let's face it, how many people completely disagree with him?) but the trouble it will cause Charles and Britain given that, as one Russian paper put it, UK-Russian relations are 'clouded' as it is.
Prince Charles' comment therefore, could risk 'triggering an international scandal'.

But who's fault is that? The one who said the remark, off-the-cuff, in a conversation with someone which he thought would not be repeated, or whoever it was who was who published the story?

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